Club has to unite in face of adversity, says Tim Harris
NEWPORT County AFC director of football Tim Harris has appealed to the club’s fans to unite behind the team as their fixture pile-up goes from bad to worse.
County host promotion rivals Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow night having fallen eight points off the pace in the Blue Square Bet Premier after Saturday’s home clash with Macclesfield Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Friday was Red Nose Day and Saturday was red face day for the Exiles who had spent much of the lead up to the match complaining about the numerous postponements of their match away to Gateshead.
The latest postponement at Rodney Parade, the third at their new home this season, led to some fans criticising the club online for a lack of forward planning and poor communication.
Gateshead also appeared to rub salt into an open wound on their official Twitter feed by tweeting: “Newport County v Macclesfield Town the only BSBP game off today – waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade.”
But Harris argued that the amount of rain that fell in Newport on Friday and overnight into Saturday made it inevitable that the game would be in doubt.
“It’s so frustrating,” said Harris. “I was sent a picture of the ground at 7am – it was totally saturated and I thought ‘there’s no way we’re going to get the game on’.
“But the groundstaff did a magnificent job for five or six hours. They deserve medals.
“It was nothing short of a miracle to get the pitch even close to being playable but we just ran out of time.
“Every effort was made with pumps but we failed and it’s so disappointing.
“The referee was willing us to get it on and he did all he could but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“We looked at putting it back but there was nowhere for the water to go. If we’d waited another hour it still wouldn’t have been playable.”
Harris added: “With the backlog of fixtures we are currently facing it is something else we’ve got to take on the chin.
“When we’ll get the game played goodness only knows but as a football club when things go against you you’ve got to pull together and use it to your advantage.
“We’ve certainly done that over the years and we’ve got to do it again.
“The days are running out and the games are coming thick and fast. It’s going to stretch us but we’ve got to stay positive and give it a go.
“I’m sure the fans will stay behind us and cheer us on to three points against Kidderminster.”
Tomorrow’s match against the third-placed Harriers, who won 4-1 on Saturday, is the priority now but Harris insisted that criticism of the club was unfair.
“We knew we had a problem with the Gateshead situation and the last thing we wanted was another postponement but the rain throughout the night was incredible,” he said.
“We’ve never known a winter like this for the amount of water falling on the pitch.
“At the moment the club is being criticized from all quarters but look where we are and what we’ve done this season.
“Those people who are criticising the club should go out into their back gardens and see if they could have played a game on there. It’s disrespectful to the mammoth effort the groundstaff have put in.”