Fans were last to know

Last updated : 06 January 2007 By Tony Scholes

Their pitch was declared unfit for play this afternoon and for those of us inside the ground it didn't take a lot of working out with surface water right across the playing surface which was getting worse by the minute.

From the time I got inside at around 2:10 p.m. I knew there must be some doubt and as the players warmed up things only got worse. The only positive news was seeing Ade Akinbiyi out there and being able to confirm that he was in the starting line up.

Both teams were warming up, the match officials came out a couple of times, but we could only assume the game was on because we certainly weren't being told anything. Of course the playing surface was fine for the fourth official, Flood Warden Andy Hall who has allowed games to go ahead in far worse conditions than this.

There were obvious doubts for match referee Rob Styles though. Yes Rob Styles, and yes I know I reported yesterday that the match referee was Chris Foy. The FA's own web site had told us it was Foy, a courtesy call yesterday to the FA and they confirmed it was Foy, yet this was no late change, Styles was listed in the match programme whilst Foy was at the City Ground in Nottingham for Forest's tie against Charlton.

So the FA's communication wasn't very good, but what about Reading's? The players went back in after warming up, but we'd heard nothing. Then text messages from home were telling us that kick off had been delayed thirty minutes. What did we get from Reading Football Club? Nothing.

More text messages followed telling us the game was now off. What did we get from Reading Football Club? Nothing. After receiving this news our players and staff came out to applaud the travelling support, but still no announcement, and then suddenly the words ‘MATCH ABANDONED' appeared on the scoreboard behind us. They even got that wrong, the match had been postponed, and not abandoned. I left the stadium and still there had been no announcement other than those two words on the board. What a shocking way to treat paying customers.

And things have got worse. Immediately Supporters' Clubs were arranging coaches for a week on Tuesday to take Burnley supporters there again, only for us to receive news that it will now be played this Tuesday. Some notice, and that means it is going to be difficult for a lot of Burnley fans to get there. It could well be too short a notice for some to arrange and as for transport, there will only be one coach and I am led to believe that has now been filled. That will make it difficult for some to make the journey to Reading.

But who gives a damn about the fans – we only pay our money.

Had we played, the teams would have lined up:

Reading: Adam Federici, Ulises de la Cruz, Ivar Ingimarsson, Andre Bikey, Scott Golbourne, Seol Ki-Hyeon, John Oster, Sam Sodje, Bobby Convey, Leroy Lita, Shane Long. Subs: Marcus Hahnemann, Alex Pearce, Steve Hunt, James Harper, Dave Kitson.

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Wayne Thomas, Stephen Foster, John McGreal, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott, James O'Connor, Micah Hyde, Steve Jones, Gifton Noel-Williams, Ade Akinbiyi. Subs: Alan Mahon, Chris McCann, Garreth O'Connor, John Spicer, Kyle Lafferty.