Walsall - Where does the blame lie?
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Where does the blame lie?

It was 2.05 and the announcement that the game had been cancelled was met with disgust from home and away supporters alike.

Since then, a mini media circus of accusations has errupted from both camps, as well as the referee as to why the match was called off of late.

Naturally, the referee, Matt Haywood, took responsibility, but since this, the Saddlers management have pointed the finger at Canaries boss Paul Lambert, who is said to have complained at the state of the pitch, which led to a late inspection.

However, this is the true timeline:

At 6am, Saddlers groundstaff arrive to check on the pitch, after frostcovers were placed on the pitch on Boxing Day. At 11.30am, referee Matt Haywood arrives at the Banks's to inspect the pitch, which is deemed playable.

However, Haywood met with the Norwich boss at 1.45pm, which led to further inspection and the game being called off 20 minutes later.

Our stance seems to be that there was no indication that there would be another inspection before kick off, as the referee had stated that he was pleased with the progress and state of the pitch. However, the game was postponed citing 'player safety' as the reason.

Strange! Hutch has gone on record stating that the pitch was in worser conidition for the last home game against Leyton Orient and that the pitch was playable.

Roy Whalley has also added his thoughts on the match, saying that because the referee had consulted the Norwich management team, who had disclosed their disgust at the state of the pitch, the game would not have been called off.

Norwich chief executive David McNally has recently responded to our statement on Canaries.co.uk: 'Once again, we wish to point out the only person ultimately responsible for the decision to call off the match is the referee. Whether we agree with his decision or not is immaterial - the responsibility for deciding whether the fixture can go ahead is his and his alone.

'We are surprised and disappointed that they appear to be questioning his professional integrity over this matter.'

So there is no denial that Lambert met with the officials?

Another can of worms that had been opened was whether the away fans should receive refunds, to which we said no.

However, Norwich appealed against this decision and we are now offering refunds to any fan that cannot attend the rearranged date for the fixture.

I think we can all agree that this was a shambles, but ultimately the responsible man for this is unfortunately the ref himself.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rich Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 30 2009

Time: 12:11PM


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