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Headingley Descends Into Winter Farce
Posted by southstander on March 03 2006 - 21:11:54


Am I angry, frustrated, and out of pocket?

Most definitely...yes!

Tonight at Headingley, the Headquarters of Rugby League, the game descended into farce as incompetent officialdom, and overoptimistic Rhinos money men, conspired to once again treat the fans with the distain that they are growing used to.

With just forty-five minutes until kick-off, and with thousands at or close to the ground, the game against the Tigers was called off.

We'd been listening to press releases all afternoon and evening saying 'The game is definitely on.', reading articles on the web-site about how the heroic ground staff had ensured the game would go on, and read articles in the YEP from Gary Hetherington about how the pitch was 'perfect'. We trusted the club and set off to the game looking forward to a great encounter. I personally spent four hours in the car, battling through blizzard conditions on the M62 to finally make it to Headingley at ten past seven, assured by Radio Leeds that the game was definitely on...and I'm sure that others had much more arduous journeys.

With a sell-out crowd, the Rhinos were desperate for the game to go ahead to save the administrative headache of ticket refunds and re-arrangement, but as the Tigers arrived, it was obvious that they didn't want to play ball.

My understanding is that the referee didn't inspect the pitch until seven o'clock, and the match commissioner (with whom the buck stops) wasn't at the ground until after I'd safely parked my car in a side street. Why they couldn't have been there all afternoon monitoring the situation, I will never know.

The Rhinos put out some 'cock-and-bull' press release about sudden temperature drops to -3, but my car was showing zero degrees as I parked up half a mile from the ground! The pitch cannot have been playable all day, it didn't freeze solid in the space of an hour - believe me I know, I refereed football for eighteen years.

Gary Hetherington has stated;

...our thoughts are most definitely with the Leeds and Castleford supporters who travelled to the game....supporters have to take time out of their lifes to get to games and I feel very sorry that they have had a wasted journey tonight."

Well not half as sorry as we feel Gary, after taking hours out of our day to make the journey, and personally 20 out of my pocket in wasted fuel. Just how sorry are you Gary? Sorry enough to discount ticket prices in our first home game in the Challenge Cup by a tenner for season ticket holders? Sorry enough to reduce next years season tickets by a tenner as compensation?

No...I didn't think you were that sorry!

Once again the fans are second best. Ripped off by an administrative fiasco for Boxing Day tickets, late arrival of season tickets and membership cards, and now being told the game is definitely on when there must have been a very strong suspicion that it would have to be called off.

The game should have been called off at lunchtime, and as for it being played on sunday...don't hold your breath!

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