Game off: but was it done too late?

It hardly surprised me to hear today’s game had been called off. I had a ticket but, as of 2am this morning, it became clear travelling wasn’t an option for me. There hasn’t been a car down our road in four days and yesterday a tractor had a go at moving the six-foot drifts from either end of the road.

My belief, my absolute 100% personal belief, is that Lincoln City wanted this game reviewed far earlier. Heated pitch or not, any game of football due to be played this weekend was going to be in doubt. It’s all well and good saying the motorway is a man thoroughfare in and therefore there was no problem, but that is wholly irrelevant. People don’t park on a motorway do they?

This isn’t an example of me being part of the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation either, demanding our country grinds to a standstill thanks to a few inches of snow, it is simply adhering to current advice regarding travel across the whole country. Every body is on alert, nobody is advised to travel unless necessary and for Coventry to steadfastly insists the game was going to be on without any consideration of another outcome was, in my opinion, selfish.

Before any directs any criticism at Lincoln City, please read this statement carefully. Phrases such as “At this time, the game is set to go ahead despite the freezing temperatures and impact of Storm Emma around the country,” or “Everyone at Lincoln City Football Club values your support and appreciates your efforts to back the team across the length and breadth of the country, but we would urge you only do so if it is safe to do so,” suggest to me that people at our football club felt, from a travelling point of view, it was safer for people not to go. Remember, national advice is only travel where necessary and yet Coventry City were not taking into account our supporters safety.

I know many of you are reporting roads are clear and if I’m honest, I wouldn’t know. I’ve not left my house since Tuesday, not due to being unsociable but thanks to adverse conditions. Not all Imps fans come from Lincoln and sadly, with weather forecast to deteriorate in Coventry overnight too, I feel the Sky Blues have not considered supporters at all.

Furthermore, I’m given to understand that conversations between Lincoln City and Coventry City have been just that, two-way conversations. Remember, Coventry don’t own their ground, the Ricoh Arena is a third-party. It is my further understanding that the Ricoh Arena’s first involvement in a three-way call was this morning, just before the game was called off. I feel this is an incredibly important piece of information, that the actual owners of the ground and the area around it were not  involved in talks during the week. Surely, any conversations about whether the game was playable should have taken place between all interested parties?

Lincoln City did not want this game called off from a football point of view, Coventry played midweek and I’m sure Danny believed we would have had an edge in that respect. This is about supporter safety and whilst I know we’d soldier on twenty years ago, sliding over on terraces and the like, that doesn’t happen now. I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but in this day and age football clubs value their supporters and have to put their safety first. That is paramount.

In the end, the outcome is best for me personally as I can still get to see my team at the Ricoh, but for all of the other fans who set off or travelled overnight, it is a poor decision. I’ve seen lots of messages blasting the decision, but as far as I can see it Lincoln City are only able to tell you what Coventry tell them. Do I think that the game would have been called off earlier if we were the home club? Absolutely.

I’ve contacted Liam to ask him about the situation and he’ll be speaking to Michael Hortin at around 2pm on Radio Lincolnshire today. He has told me that any questions you may have can be directed through me and he’ll do a Q&A on Monday afternoon to clarify any further outstanding points. If you feel you have questions after the interview, please drop me an email gazhutch78@gmail.com or comment below and I’ll endeavour to do a follow-up piece with Liam Monday tea time.

4 Comments

  1. Totally agree. I live 20 miles from Coventry and have been stuck since Monday. Its the bit before and after the motorways that can present the biggest problem. I think the whole process for handling serious weather conditions needs to be reviewed so this doesn’t happen again, and that supporters’ safety is fully taken into account

  2. For me 24 hours notice with conditions. Keep up the great work always well informed that others try to aspire to.

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