Portsmouth - Citeh game in doubt?
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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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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 8 2009

Time: 1:31PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Chix's excellent Vital MC Mag 7 Q&A is now available at: http://www.manchestercity.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=138212
Johnny Baguette
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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
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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.
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08/01/2009 13:50:00

It's not THAT cold today, is it? Bet it goes ahead ok...
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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!
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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.
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08/01/2009 13:57:00

It'll be alright on the night (so to speak).
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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
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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!?!?!
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08/01/2009 14:05:00

There were actually complaints about the state of the pitch after the Bristol City game I gather.
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08/01/2009 14:06:00

I noticed during the cup game that the ball was bouncing higher than normal and bobbling around a bit.
Steve C
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08/01/2009 14:22:00

The weather forecast says it's warming up. This is a good time to play citeh, even with our problems. Get it on.
Report Abuse
08/01/2009 14:25:00

best we play them now before any more international superstars join them..
plymouth graham
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08/01/2009 14:33:00

Thats what I was thinking Graham.
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08/01/2009 14:50:00

exactly, citeh will strengthen their squad much more than we will... play them now, fingers crossed...
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08/01/2009 14:58:00

Apparently the next couple of nights will still be getting down to -3 or so but I know there's been matches recently called off despite teams having undersoil heeating. I think it has to be put on well in advance of the match to have an effect and if it gets to cold don't think it works so well anyway. If there are covers on and they're blowing warm air around that should be plenty enough to thaw it out properly by saturday.
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08/01/2009 15:28:00

International superstars haven't exactly done a lot for them so far, barring one game against us.
Steve C
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08/01/2009 15:40:00

Perhaps in this exceptional cold spell, even the undersoil heating is insufficient to thaw out the ground. Good new for us City lads who need a bit more time to sign players.
Buzz Lightyear
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08/01/2009 15:49:00

I live closest to the ground and last night it did not freeze. Forecast is that it will be cold but not below freezing on the island through until Saturday when it will start to warm up 10C by Sunday!! Problem is getting the frost out of the ground, why we do not have undersoil heating I do not know.
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08/01/2009 16:30:00

Dave undersoil heating hadn't been invented when the ground was built. It's expensive to install requiring the whole pitch to be removed. Expensive to run and if you check i expect you'll be hard pressed to find more than half a dozen games postponed at Fratton in the last 30 years because of a frozen pitch. No doubt if the new ground ever arrives it will be installed there.
Steve C
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08/01/2009 17:05:00

I seem to remember we relay a new pitch quite often, so I wouldn't think that it would be a problem doing the pitch, just putting in all the metal and stuff. It's really cold right now, but didn't seem too bad last night! Weird. If they put hot water through a hose surely that'll sort out some of it? Not that I'm an engineering master or anything. Anyway, hope it's on.
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08/01/2009 17:41:00

I've been racking my brain trying to remember if we've had any games called off for a frozen pitch i have a vague recollection of one but quite some time ago. Most have been called off for being waterlogged I think which under pitch heating wouldn't help.
Steve C
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08/01/2009 17:49:00

Got a prediction for saturday's dour stalemate? http://www.manchestercity.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=3194&posts=2#M33969
Johnny Baguette
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08/01/2009 19:17:00

Steve C agree with you there. We have not lost many games but I remember a few played on hard pitches years ago and of course clubs would often come here and play friendlies when their facilities were frozen up. Having said that jbaker is right when relaying the pitch stick in the pipes would not cost that much and would improve the quality of the surface in cold times.
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08/01/2009 19:35:00

Bristol Rovers are asking for volunteers to come in to help defrost their pitch. Not sure the method they are going to use ... several thousand breathing on the pitch or perhaps just sheer body heat from piles of Rovers fans...anyway, they are giving them free bacon sarnies and coffee! Seeing as we have rented our defrosting kit from a Bristol copmpany, do you think that's why Rovers are having problems? I will happily breathe on FP for a bacon buttie
Report Abuse
08/01/2009 21:14:00

will the pitch still be frozen ? temperatures seem set to rise but only slightly not sure if it will be enough . i hope so as im going this week as well link to portsmout weather site below http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/se/portsmouth_forecast_weather.html
Report Abuse
08/01/2009 21:45:00

bring out the orange ball!
Report Abuse
08/01/2009 22:53:00

It was a bit warmer yesterday, a bit warmer again today, and tomorrow is forecast a tropical 5 degrees! We'll be fine!
Report Abuse
09/01/2009 12:46:00

bloody freezing tonight tho - i would be surprised if we play tomorrow tbh...
Report Abuse
09/01/2009 23:12:00


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