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MANAGER: An absolute nightmare

15 February 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the Crawley postponement

Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us on the team bus following the news that the Crawley away fixture had been called off just over two hours before kick off.

“This has turned into an absolute nightmare for everyone connected with the game today,” he said. “Some of our staff went along to the ground for the midday pitch inspection and they’ve told me they saw our supporters bus pulling into the car park as they were going out, having just been told the game was off. 

“It’s absolutely devastating to hear that because the fans have come along on what is a huge journey with the very best of intentions. All they wanted was to see their team play and they’ve given a lot of their time and money to do that.”

“We’ve had rain upon rain for a very long and sustained period so this certainly wasn’t unexpected,” he added. “I can’t really understand, for the life of me, why we weren’t given a decision before we all travelled yesterday [Friday]. 

“The final decision has come at a really late stage and that has made it impossible for those who were travelling to do anything other than complete their journey. It’s when you face something like this that you have to ask why clubs like ours, who have to make long trips, are then placed in a situation where they have no choice but to make the trip. 

"The weather warnings were put out for a reason so it’s really disappointing that you almost have to ignore that and travel anyway when, in reality, it looks like there was never any real chance of the game being on.

“Our physio Dolly [Neil Dalton] had a good walk around on the pitch at 10am and he is experienced enough to know when something is playable and when it isn’t. He knew it wasn’t in a good state then and not much is going to change over the course of the rest of the day. I think everyone at the stadium wanted to give it as much time as possible to recover but it was never going to improve enough to allow us to go ahead.”

“Crawley have had a number of games called off recently so the pitch was always going to be a doubt,” he continued. “They have quite clearly done an awful lot of work in an attempt to get it on but the amount of rain in the area over Thursday and Friday made things even more difficult. 

"They’ve had some of their fans working away all morning, putting sand down and getting holes into the wetter areas, but it’s hugely frustrating that it’s come to this.

“The referee has to make his call on player safety, and you understand that completely, but he shouldn’t be in that position in the first place. It’s one where you do feel the Football League could have stepped in and helped everybody out long before the call was eventually made.”

“Obviously when it comes to preparing the lads for what is a busy period things like this make it more difficult,” he confirmed. “We missed our training session on Friday because the priority was to get through what were horrific weather conditions safely.  That proved to be no easy task because I have to say, at times, it was actually extremely dangerous.

“The game was then obviously called off so we are now faced with another day where all we do is travel. We will have to assess and evaluate the best course of action for us to take to make sure the lads are ready to go for the Coventry game on Tuesday. 

"We’ll deal with that when we get back to Carlisle because overall I am just disappointed for the club, the fans and for everybody connected with this game. All in all it has been a really bad couple of days.”

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