Fans deserve a lot more respect

PUBLISHED: 10:34 27 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:01 14 September 2010

Having travelled north bound from my office in Essex on Friday evening, I could never have envisaged standing, waiting for a train, on Burnley Manchester Road train station at 3pm the following day.

Having travelled north bound from my office in Essex on Friday evening, I could never have envisaged standing, waiting for a train, on Burnley Manchester Road train station at 3pm the following day.

Frankly, even if I had foreseen such a nightmare, I would surely have expected to be crouching under a shelter from the wild rains or gales. No rain nor gales I'm afraid; more blue sky and gentle breeze.

At 2.15pm, while I and fifty other City fans were enjoying a pint of pre-match ale at the local, we learned to our disbelief that the game had been called off thanks to a 'waterlogged pitch'. Waterlogged? Surely it needs to rain to be waterlogged! Ok, so I understand there had been a shower overnight, but we were told the vulnerable areas on the pitch had been covered and only re-exposed to the elements first thing in the morning.

More to the point, Burnley is in Lancashire; for that matter, and to the best of my knowledge, I believe it's always been in Lancashire.

Football has been played at Turf Moor, one of the few surviving original stadiums in this country (the Clarets' home since 1883), for over 120 years.

Are we to accept that the people who run this grand old football club have not yet learnt how to cope with what Mother Nature bestows upon the industrial north-west? Come on, if Saturday's game was called off then how on earth are they going to cope when the weather really turns bad?

You may detect that I am still a little sore from my experience a week ago. Actually, it wasn't all bad. The earlier journey back enabled me to make my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary dinner, a consequence that resulted in me sprinting back into my mother's good books. Clouds and silver lining spring to mind.

I was far more sorry for those who had left Carrow Road at some unearthly hour only to be told by an embarrassed copper, a mile from the football ground, that the game was off and the coach must turn round and head back from whence it came.

In addition to that, I felt for the two friends from the Scandinavian Canaries who had travelled from Norway to watch the game; another from Lyon and a couple from Southampton. I think you get the picture.

But to cap it all, as the train pulled out of Burnley Manchester Road, I got chatting with a 60-year-old man and his son. Over from Dublin for the day, the father was revisiting Turf Moor for the first time in 20 years.

A lifelong Burnley fan, his son was paying for the big day as a Christmas present for his father. The upset in his eyes as he told me of his disappointment stayed with me for the five-hour journey home.

This is the Championship in 2007. Surely football clubs have some responsibility to the league and, more importantly, the fans. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to tell Burnley.

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