Premier League Should Be Ashamed Over Canceled Matches

10 January 2010

Consider this, there is only the potential for three Premier League matches this weekend. Five were played in the Championship. Furthermore, if Blackburn’s trip to Eastlands is postponed on Monday, the Premier League would have played the same amount of games that League One had survive the freeze (Leeds United v Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic v Exeter City were the only two League One games to survive).

Now before I have all of Britain sending hate mail to this site, understand the position I am coming from. Yes, I completely understand travel was the biggest nightmare humanly possible over the course of the last seven days as snow bombarded the country leaving travel impossible. I am also well aware that supplies of salt and grit for roads are at critically low levels. However towards the end of the week, at least trains were able to get back on track (for those who were unaware, Chelsea were on their way to Hull by train when their match got postponed).

Getting back to the Premier League clubs, I find it amazing at how fast some were to postpone matches. Yes, the first postponements came early Friday morning, but I still find it appalling that not everything within the clubs power was done to get these games played. Look at Arsenal. They did everything they could midweek to get their match with Bolton played and were not happy they had to cancel. On Saturday morning, club officials did everything humanly possible to make sure the game would go ahead; going as far as using blowtorches on the sidewalk to make them walkable. Of all places, Birmingham City’s match with Manchester United never was in doubt. Maybe they deserve the most proactive home club award of the week.

Furthermore, when I’m watching Sky Sports News on FSC and seeing people walking around these grounds when correspondents are talking about games postponed, I can only laugh mockingly at the decision to call off the match.

Now I will discount Wigan Athletic in the above discussion. They did everything in their power to get everything around the stadium playable. However when technology fails you, with little time to get the suitable parts needed to correct the under soil heating, you’re left with little choice.

Now to those who will complain about those who purchased tickets not being able to make it to the matches, I have a few things to say to you. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but all a ticket does is guarantee you entry for an event. It’s not up to the club you purchased your ticket from to get you to the game (though it would have been a goodwill gesture if traveling clubs had paid for a train or two for those fans). You assume risk when you purchase a ticket that you might not actually be able to make it. If you’re unable to, find a radio broadcast or watch Final Score or even Soccer Saturday. I know that is harsh but it’s just reality.

But ultimately this falls back on the clubs. When you don’t do everything in your power, unlike Arsenal and to a small degree Wigan Athletic, you deserve to be shamed. When the Championship did more to ensure their games got played (on a much smaller budget you have to play with), you deserve to be the laughing stock of football. When League One played as many games as you on Saturday, it makes me wonder how small time you truly are.

Hopefully these clubs have learned a valuable lesson for the future. I seriously doubt they have.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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