Saturday, 25 December 2010

Still no football...

As I sit here on Christmas day, stuffed with far too much Christmas dinner as usual, my sleepy mind turns to football - or rather the lack thereof.  Lincoln City’s match tomorrow away at Port Vale is off, our home match on Tuesday is subject to a pitch inspection and the chances aren’t great of that being on either.  I’m starting to wonder when the next match will be.

It occurs when I count back that the last match I saw was way back on November 23rd.  A cold Tuesday night when a little winning streak we were on was cruelly brought to a crushing end 5-0 by Bury (though I still maintain the scoreline doesn’t tell the full story of the match).

But the snow, and more fatally the ice, has meant an extended run of postponements across English football, the likes of which I struggle to remember.  Since that depressing Tuesday night against Bury, we’ve seen two league games postponed and our FA Cup second round tie against Hereford cancelled twice as well.  At this rate, we may be in the hat for the fourth round draw before we’ve even played out the second round!

With the current cold snap predicted to continue into January, it’s difficult to predict when things will get back to normal.  Without the undersoil heating of larger grounds, lower league pitches will remain rock-solid for a while even after the air temperature rises again.  At the very least, the fixture backlog will mean that even though players are currently getting a rest, they will have a huge amount of playing to do when the replayed fixtures start to back up.  A good few weeks of playing every Saturday and Tuesday seem certain, and guarantee that players will be very tired come the end of the season.  I pity those that reach the playoffs this season!

Of course, in these situations, discussion inevitably turns to two issues – the first being to extend the season to fit the replayed games in, the second being the introduction of a winter break.

On the first issue, I’m not sure what chaos it would cause with cup finals, playoffs etc.  I’ve been involved with enough event organization to know that these things are bigger and more complicated than most people seem to realise, so I’ll take a seat on a nearby fence and say that if the Football League say it can’t be done, I’m not going to argue.  The players will just have to suck it up.

The second issue is bigger, but I have to say I’m not averse to the idea.  I don’t usually hold with big clubs whingeing that they have too many games to play when they play less games than everyone else and have bigger, more expensive squads to pick from.  But the winter break idea seems to have a number of things going for it:

1) It will mean freak bad weather will be less disruptive to the season, meaning that the second half won’t be as compacted with games
2) Players will be able to rest, meaning that the football should be of a better standard in the second half of the season
3) As an England fan, I am sick of the constant excuse that our players are all tired after long seasons, and those who play in other leagues are fresher because of their winter breaks.  Let’s introduce one, and hopefully either a) it will work and England’s performances at tournaments will improve – yay, or b) it won’t work, and we can get rid of one more feeble excuse for English footballing failure.

So let’s give it a go.  It can’t be worse that the situation we are facing at the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment