Vital Football

Citeh game in doubt?

Citeh game in doubt?

It has been something that has crossed my mind more and more as the week has gone on, but the worry that our game with Citeh on Saturday could be called off due to the freezing conditions is now a distinct possibility...

Giant blowers have been brought in that are blowing hot air onto the pitch, which is under frost covers. Conditions dropped to -8 at the start of the week, and although it is still bitterly cold it is slightly warmer and is believed to be warming more as the week goes on.

Head grounds man Bob Jones had this to say to the Pompey Site: 'we've got the blowers working day and night. Everyone's working flat out to get the game on.'

These blowers have been in action since yesterday afternoon and will remain in action until Saturday morning I would assume?

The main worry I would have thought would be that as soon as these blowers are turned off and the covers removed, depending on how cold it remains at the weekend, the pitch could quickly freeze again? If so, as this will be genuinely dangerous the chances of any level of football being played, let alone top flight football are virtually zero....

I had been thinking to myself the other day 'do we have under soil heating at Fratton?'

This seems to answer the question, as I would have thought that would have done the trick? Maybe I am wrong.

'If' we do not then some people might say 'why not', but having seen a lot about this due to so many games being called off recently it highlighted that this is very, very expensive to install let alone run - so something that might never be used was unlikely to be installed by us... That said I would expect that most, if not all other premier league clubs do have this. But on the other hand, most of them have newer stadiums/have been in the top flight much longer than we have...

I see that Birmingham have recently promised install under soil heating over the summer after a game was called off recently, should our game go the same way this weekend then I would suspect we would also do the same, although waiting until we move stadiums would seem more likely - but, is that ever likely in itself anyway...

A decision would probably not be made until Saturday morning, but maybe this could be made on Friday night, taking overnight conditions into account? The later it is made the more it will effect travelling fans - and Citeh fans will be making a long journey. I leave myself tomorrow, so I will be hoping that my visit will not only be one that sees me visiting my family!

Chances are I am worrying over nothing and the game will go ahead - hopefully the conditions will warm more over the next couple of days and these blowers and covers do the job they are intended to do.


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Date:Thursday January 8 2009
Time: 1:31PM


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Johnny Baguette
08/01/2009 13:37:00
I remember when a game was called of at Fratton in 06 when we visited you, I'd got all the way there on the train, engineering works and all, then holed up in the KFC next to Fratton station to discover the game had been called off. Albeit because of a waterlogged pitch, I was not amused! (Mind you, the Milton End wasn't covered then so it probably was a blessing). Pompey have an even bigger responsibility this time around because the Citeh fans have a hell of a long way to travel. I think in this day and age, top flight teams should be fined heavily if they can't get a game to go ahead.
Little Dutch
08/01/2009 13:44:00
I think there is a rule in place that Premeir League games that cannot be played due to the condition of the pitch carries a heavy fine.
08/01/2009 13:50:00
It's not THAT cold today, is it? Bet it goes ahead ok...
08/01/2009 13:54:00
we will be even more keen to get the game going in that case then, as not only would we have shelled out for the blowers - and the costs of them - but we would also pick up the fine, not to mention lose out on potential match day revenue that might not come in for a rearragned game...
the sooner we know 'if' the game is on or off the better for everyone, fingers crossed - and i would rather play citeh now than later in the season!
08/01/2009 13:55:00
it not so much during the days is it, i think its at night when the most damage is done as the cold air trapped in the ground is released into the air which means it is a constant cold night and day - which i guess keeps the ground rock solid... im not scientist tho!
in this day and age we 'should' be capable of playing this match.
08/01/2009 13:57:00
It'll be alright on the night (so to speak).
08/01/2009 14:03:00
It's very rare for a Pompey home game to be called off so i wouldn't worry too much. On the plus side if it has to be rearranged at least we will have chance to strengthen our squad before it. The expense of installing undersoil heating is probably not justified when you look at the statistics for games called off bearing in mind the plan to move to a new ground in the future. (was going to say near future but who knows if or when it will ever happen?)
Steve C
08/01/2009 14:04:00
I would have thought that with all the 'hot air' blowing round Fratton Park in recent weeks the pitch would be fine!?!?!
08/01/2009 14:05:00
There were actually complaints about the state of the pitch after the Bristol City game I gather.
08/01/2009 14:06:00
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