0 A pitch protest?

A war of words has broken out between Hyde United and Fleetwood Town following the postponement of the Blue Square North match between the two sides.

Last Saturday's game, at Fleetwood's Highbury Stadium, was called off just over an hour before the scheduled kick-off.

That left all concerned with Hyde in a state of fury, lodging a complaint with the league and a claim for a refund on their travel costs.

Football director Tony Beard claimed: "On Friday we were told there were no problems, but then a chance call to the ground on Saturday morning had the groundsman saying he had not been able to get a fork into the pitch for several days.

"Even then Fleetwood did not arrange an inspection, so we had to travel. It transpired the Fleetwood chairman, who was in Dubai, wanted the game to go ahead at all costs. The whole scenario is amateurish at best."

However, his claims have been refuted by Fleetwood chief executive Steve Curwood, who gave the Advertiser his club's side of the story.

He said: "The ground was thawing nicely on Friday afternoon with temperatures reaching five degrees by mid-afternoon.

"There was no overnight frost, temperatures were above freezing on Saturday morning and it was felt it was best left for nature to take its course and the ground be given as long as possible to thaw.

"There was no point in arranging for a pitch inspection at 10am or 11am as the pitch was always going to improve over the coming hours.

"The match referee arrived at 1.15pm and said he was happy to play if both managers agreed.

"Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon agreed to play. Initially Hyde manager Neil Tolson agreed, but upon further consultation with some of his players, changed his mind. The referee then, upon consulting his officials, postponed the game.

"A fair amount of local football on the Fylde coast was played, with games in Fleetwood taking place, as well as at AFC Blackpool just 15 miles away.

"Games all over the country were called off at the last minute with fans travelling hundreds of miles in some cases only to be disappointed. This is regrettably part and parcel of football, when clubs are in a no-win situation.

"The groundsman was not at the ground at any point while the Hyde players and officials were present, and he made no comment to anyone from Hyde.

"He was actually in the process of obtaining a tonne of sand from the training ground in Blackpool for the pitch. The chairman was not in Dubai and arrived at the ground at 2pm."

Source:- Tameside Advertiser

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