There were sheets thick enough to live under

Last updated : 20 January 2007 By Tony Scholes
“Obviously we are very disappointed the game is off,” Norwich boss Peter Grant said just minutes after the decision had been confirmed. “We didn't have the greatest result last week so we were desperate to have a game as soon as possible. But as soon as you speak to the referee and the first word he mentions is danger, that concerns me. We've got to remember these players are human beings.

“It is amazing because 80% of the pitch is excellent and as soon as I saw it I wondered what the problem was. One part of the pitch you could actually play with training shoes on, but the other you can't even roll the ball. The ground moves, which is always difficult. Martin Atkinson is obviously a Premiership referee and has decided to call it off. I think he has made the right decision.”

It was similar from Steve Cotterill although you did get the feeling listening to his radio interview that whilst supporting the referee's decision he didn't actually agree with it.

“It is very disappointing that the game is off. A lot of the pitch is playable but the referee has judged the corner (between the Jimmy McIlroy and Bob Lord stands) not to be playable. We have to go with his view on that, he was talking a lot about player safety and that's hard to question.

“It's probably the most difficult thing a referee has to do and I think he left it as late as he could. He wasn't happy with it from around 11:30 a.m., so I don't think he would have changed his mind. He seemed quite adamant and positive that was what he was going to do, but the worst thing is when you look from the tunnel the pitch looks totally playable.

“Every time we have had one of these decisions I've supported the referee and that is what you have to do. He has been around enough and has no axe to grind with anybody. He probably didn't want to turn up here today and have the game off. The one thing they are is neutral.

“The trouble is with this, everyone looks to blame someone. It is just a situation that's arisen and we are majorly disappointed. I feel for the three ground staff, they have been first class and couldn't do anything more than they have done. There were sheets on the pitch thick enough for someone to live under and whoever things otherwise needs to know that.

“There were staff out there on Friday night getting soaking wet and again on Saturday, taking the covers off for the winds to aerate the pitch. We've had an unbelievable amount of rain here for a long time and it is amazing that 80% of the pitch is alright to play. There are though some wet spots that are saturated which the referee wasn't happy with.”