I felt it was important the full circumstances behind the postponement of tonight’s Herts Senior Cup tie with Tring Athletic were explained. It started when I received a phone call from our ground chairman Len Leroux this morning expressing concern about the state of the pitch. There had been heavy rain overnight and rain was still falling. While the pitch was not exactly waterlogged it would be in danger of cutting up badly just a couple of days before our massive FA Cup game with Leatherhead and Len asked if there was any chance of getting the game postponed to protect the pitch.
I phoned the match referee Joel Mannix and explained the circumstances. He really was on our side but could not just call a game off without an inspection. He was unable to do the inspection himself but arranged for Phil Sharp to meet me at the ground at 2.30pm. Phil was also sympathetic but again was aware the pitch was still playable even though it would cut up. So he suggested I phone John Burlison at the Herts FA for further guidance.
I was totally honest with John and explained the importance of Saturday’s game with the £25,000 prize money and potential entry in to the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in 23 years and how we wanted to protect the pitch. John was really sympathetic to our problem and stated he would need to talk to his colleague Paddy Donovan and Tring Athletic before being able to make a decision. He asked Paddy to contact Tring Athletic and following Tring’s magnanimous agreement, it was decided to support a decision to postpone the match.
It is all too easy to criticise County FA’s and think of them as living in the past and not caring about their clubs. But in this instance John and Paddy showed the Herts FA to be forward thinking and doing everything they could to help a member club approaching a massive game in their history.
Tring could have insisted on the game going ahead but their secretary Robert Winter instead took the selfless decision to agree to a postponement to protect our pitch ahead of Saturday. It was a magnificent gesture and it is rare indeed to see a club not just following their own self interest. Indeed this is what non-league camararderie is all about. When I thanked Bob he just felt he was doing the right thing and wished us all the best and was sure we would have done the same if the roles were reversed.
So at 3.30pm the game was officially postponed and have no worries the pitch will now be in perfect condition for Saturday.
Thanks again to the Herts FA and Tring Athletic for their great support which has quite restored my faith in what can be a very cynical world.