No need for secretaries to panic about backlog

As Norfolk struggle to come to terms with the Big Freeze, spare a thought for the football secretaries having to cope with the fall-out of the cold weather.

Frozen pitches have seen hundreds of matches across the county postponed recently leaving league administrators scratching their heads as to how they can fit in all their matches before the season is out.

For the second week in succession there was barely any football played locally and Norfolk FA administration manager Matt Carpenter said he feels a great deal of sympathy for clubs.

“The cold weather this early has caught all of us by surprise and there is a threat of a fixture backlog,” he said. “With Christmas and New Year falling where it does, it means two more weekends have been eaten up where games would normally have been played.

“Football secretaries are the people that suffer the most. There is so much re-arranging to do and you have to pay tribute to these people who do these jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. This weather certainly does create a lot more work.”

Carpenter believes it is difficult to see how the current situation could be avoided.

“I don’t think you can start the season any earlier because teams like Wroxham already start their season in August,” he added. “You couldn’t go much earlier because players are often still on holiday and the pitches are also still being used for cricket.

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“Fortunately, leagues can go up to the end of May, so clubs should be able to fit their fixtures in.

“We’ve just got to hope that we don’t get much more snow over the next few months otherwise there could be a problem.”

The Norwich and District Sunday League has been heavily affected but general secretary Ben Casey said that nobody has gone into panic mode just yet and believes the season will finish on time if the weather relents over the next couple of months.

“We had big problems last year but it hasn’t got to that stage yet. It’s very difficult for the fixture secretaries. Bernie (Hardiman) had a very difficult job last year and he was tearing his hair out at one point.

“We lost games in October last year because the pitches were still so hard and only a month later this year we’re getting snowed off – you just can’t predict it.

“The problem can’t really be avoided – it’s just something that everyone has to cope with and we should be ok if the weather starts improving.”

• Great Yarmouth’s Norfolk Senior Cup fourth round tie against King’s Lynn fell foul of the weather last night while Wroxham’s FA Vase third round clash against St Ives was still on at the time of going to press.