The festive period is a time when there’s so much football going on it can be hard to catch your breath at times. Two extra Bank Holidays after Christmas and one after New Year means games are being spread out nicely across the non-league pyramid, well covid seems to have other ideas.
I guess with the loss of games this time last year everyone was chomping at the bit to watch some festive footie, but it’s not just positive tests getting in the way the weather has decided to throw its opinion into the mix.
For me I wasn’t scheduled to watch any games on Boxing Day, nor Bank Holiday Monday due to family commitments so I haven’t missed a lot. Being back in full time work means Tuesday daytime is also out for me and from a selfish point of view, Barnet’s trip to Southend being called off which will now be a midweek Tuesday night in the future means I can go.
The weather however is a different story, we’ve been very lucky I think so far this season with very few huge downpours, no frozen pitches nor snow in the southern half of the country.
There has been a few words of disagreement across social media for some today with late postponements etc and I thought I’d just add a little bit from my point of view. Having been a club secretary at Step 6 I’ve had to deal with a few weather issues, but certainly dealt with slightly different to those higher up the food chain.
Generally our match referee was very local, occasionally he or she had a bit of a journey and if the weather looked a bit iffy most are happy for a local official to come and have a look and make the decision on their behalf.
If you go up say to Steps 3 and 4 the match referee can also ask someone more local to take a look, but the final decision is down to the man whose actually going to be running the game and that could mean two different opinions.
Some pitches are always going to be borderline decisions one way or the other and while the home side might be in the ear of the official to err on the side of ‘caution’ and postpone the game it’s never going to be the right decision when the entire pitch isn’t covered with water.
It can also mean the early inspection being passed, but the later one calling the game off leading to frustration and disappointment all round, one man’s light surface water is another man’s puddle.
Covid is of course a completely different issue but causing more games to be off than the weather. Hopefully as we come out of the festive period we hear less and less about it and games return to normal and we complete a season. I think we will get there as a majority of the divisions have or nearly completed half of their league games and there is 75% completion rate minimum that would see a third null and void unable to happen.
I have games planned in on Tuesday and Thursday evenings of this week and at least two more over the New Year weekend, I wouldn’t like to bet all four make it past the finishing post but we can only hope………….