Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's getting beyond a joke now.

When I was back in Scotland in November, East Fife's game against Ayr United on the 27th was called off due to the referee's strike. If it hadn't have been, the chances were that the weather would have got to it instead. Either way, it deprived me of possibly making the journey to Somerset Park to see the Fife before heading back to my new home.

In the subsequent eight weeks that have now passed, East Fife have had ten games scheduled. They've managed to play three due to the weather and postponements.

It's been soul destroying for the fans being let down at the last minute and not having games to go to. You can only imagine how the players are feeling.

The three games we have had have been bizarre. After all the sterling work of the fans to get the Bayview pitch cleared of snow, we were rewarded by a 6-0 thumping of Stenhousemuir. The four weeks that followed without a game took it's toll in the 6-0 thumping we then got from Aberdeen in the Cup and then ten man Livingston scored two late goals on Tuesday night in a 4-2 League defeat.

At least we're seeing goals when we are playing. Sadly mostly getting picked out of Michael Brown's net.

With Tuesday evening's match at Bayview being passed fit, hopes were expectant that today's crunch game against bottom placed Dumbarton would have no problems going ahead. Sadly more cold weather, more frost and that troublesome area of the Bayview pitch covered by the overhang of the stand have combined to force another postponement.

Aaarrrrggggghhhhhhh.

If you think we've had it bad at East Fife, just along the road at Warout Stadium, Glenrothes Juniors have been having a more hellish time.

My options for watching football on November 27th were between the long trip west to see East Fife at Ayr or stay in my hometown and watch the Glens take on Tranent in the Third Round of the Scottish Junior Cup. I may have plumped for the latter if I'm being totally honest.

Knowing the refs were on strike, my decision was made easy and I was looking forward to seeing my first Glens game for around four years. My grandad always took me there all the time when I was a nipper and I was really looking forward to getting back.

Sadly that game also fell foul of the weather, as have the subsequent SIX attempts to get the match played including this afternoon's scheduled match. They will try again next Saturday though! At this rate I still might get to see the game the next time I come over. Now that would be a story!!

This winter has just been unbelievable.

Unsurprisingly it has led to renewed calls for a winter break and then all the arguments we get from both the for and against camps. What it ultimately boils down to though is that the Scottish weather is so unpredictable that we have no idea when to have a break.

No-one could have predicted it would be so bad in November and I've seen it snow in April and even May before.

Michel Platini has entered into the fray now though, advocating a global adoption of spring to autumn football seasons, with international matches being played in the winter months (somehow!). I'm sure this has nothing to do with the continuing farce of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

This idea should prevent most postponements due to snow and frost in Western Europe but sadly not torrential rain and warthogs on the pitch. It seems to work ok in the likes of Finland, Ireland, Canada and the US.

Having had the 'pleasure' of summer football these last three years, I can tell you that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Standing out in the blistering sun isn't all that more appealing that nearly losing your toes on a cold day at Arbroath. Overall though, it is nicer, but the lack of cracking night games in the dark, under floodlights, is the worst part.

Some of the big players have immediately come out against Platini's plan but something has to be done, and it's getting to the stage that anything's worth a try, because if we have another couple of winters like the last two in Scotland, there's not going to be any football teams left to watch in the first place.

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