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Blackburn Rovers boss feels the frustration
A FRUSTRATED Henning Berg conceded the Ewood Park pitch was unplayable when it was postponed on Saturday afternoon – but believes playing the ‘waiting game’ would have given it a chance.
Blackburn Rovers’ boss was left helpless as the club slipped to 17th – a point behind rivals Burnley – after their Championship visit of Brighton was called off due to torrential rain in East Lancashire.
Referee Robert Madeley made the call at 12.15pm when he arrived at Ewood Park, leaving Rovers supporters and the travelling Brighton army of 600 furious.
Berg admits the pitch was waterlogged when the decision was made but wanted the referee to put the postponement on hold for an hour to give the game a chance of going ahead.
Part of Madeley’s decision was based on the weather forecast predicting heavier rain would follow, although the downpours did ease during the afternoon with Accrington Stanley’s visit of Plymouth going ahead.
Berg said: “Two things. One we are frustrated the game has been called off. We were looking to this game as a good opportunity to get a win again and playing at home. We have two away games coming up so we would have liked to have played this game.
“Also we are disappointed it was called off so early at 12.30pm. With the weather changing you don’t know what it is going to be like – even though the forecast says it is going to rain.
“But you don’t know, that is a forecast and why it is a called a forecast. If they made the decision an hour later maybe it would have been different.
“There is no chance we could have played if the conditions were the same as they were at 12.30pm. I don’t think it would have made any difference for the Brighton fans though to have waited because they would have travelled too far anyway.
“We would have liked to have played the game there is no doubt but we will train so we are prepared. The only good thing about it when games are called of you prefer them to be at home so you can have a proper training session.
“It was a refereeing decision. Nobody could influence him either way, that is the referee who made that decision. Maybe it would have been the same at 1.30pm but it would have been easier to accept.”
Rovers’ managing director Derek Shaw was also left frustrated at the postponement, with the club counting the financial costs, but insists there was nothing they could do to influence the decision.
He said: “I had a phone call from the club secretary, who had been contacted by the groundsman over his concerns about the pitch. We contacted the referee who said he was due at the club at 12.15pm.
“His inspection took minutes before he called the game off and it was partly based on a very poor weather forecast for Saturday afternoon.
“It is difficult because had the referee waited and called it off late, that would have been wrong. He wanted to make an early decision and that will get criticised too. They are horrendous decisions to make.”
Referee Madeley, said after calling the game off: “I got a phone call on my way over saying there could be a potential issue so we’ve gone out and had a look.
“The forecast going forward is just rain for the full afternoon. There’s standing water on the pitch already and there’s really nowhere for it to go.
“The last thing we want to do is to call games off but for the safety of the players it is a decision we have had to make.
“We wanted a game of football, Brighton have come a long way to discover the game is off, but we due have a duty of care to the players, and the fans, in weather like this.
“It is a shame but it is the correct decision.”