County in the right over no-brainer fixture switch
THE expression ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ might as well have been written for the predicament Newport County find themselves in this week.
They’ve been given a fair amount of stick from their supporters for switching Saturday’s clash with Gateshead and to be honest, I can’t see for the life of me see why they’re being chastised by some for a very shrewd move.
The Exiles will now travel to Gateshead in February instead to keep disruption to a minimum with the pitch in the North East currently unplayable due to the weather.
That’s the key word there, unplayable. As in, the game couldn’t possibly go ahead.
So while it’s highly regrettable that those with non-refundable flights and hotel bookings are now left out of pocket, it’s no different than if the game hadn’t been switched as you’d then be left with non-refundable flights or rooms for a game that was called off.
The Exiles’ acceptance of the switch – at the behest of Gateshead – makes sense because of the Exiles’ complicated ground share situation.
We’ve seen simply over a number of seasons that the weather in Newport WILL lead to games being called off.
It’ll happen at Rodney Parade and it happened at Spytty Park.
What is now different is that rescheduling games is going to be so much harder as County must be mindful of the fixtures of both Newport RFC and the Newport Gwent Dragons.
So when it came to this weekend and with Rodney Parade free from all peanut hugging action, what other sensible call was there to make? The Exiles have seen a fixture pile-up derail a promotion push before – under Peter Beadle in 2006/7 – when they ended the campaign playing 15 games in just short of six weeks.
It killed them in the end and that’s why the Exiles are right to be doing anything they can to ensure they keep their schedule on track.
County have also attempted to sweeten the deal for supporters by offering a reduced rate on ticket prices and again, I don’t see what more they could really be doing in this instance to make things right for supporters.
As the now postponed game with Luton Town next Tuesday shows, there are lots of ways for games between now and next April to end up getting postponed.
Therefore the wise move for a club sharing with two others and in a notoriously rainy part of the world is to play every game as soon as possible.
So well done to County for making a shrewd move.