by Adam Boxer
ANOTHER Rangers game has fallen foul to the weather with a frustrated set of supporters having to once again trudge home disappointed.
For the third time this season a fixture at Loftus Road has bowed to the conditions, but the concerns of the supporters lie beyond simply an act of god and more the chain of events that saw them arrive at the decision.
With many consulting the club before setting off, the decision was taken by QPR to post an article stating ‘Game On’ – confirming that the fixture would go ahead despite the adverse weather conditions.
Attached to the article was a short-line regarding a precautionary pitch inspection – but for all intensive purposes it seemed supporters would have every confidence in travelling.
Arriving in West London to steady rain, if not a deluge as against Crystal Palace this season, and consulting with locals it seemed the weather had been consistent all afternoon.
Still many were confident – presumably after consultation with local officials – that the game was going to go ahead, as this supporter headed for his much-needed refreshments.
Barely moments later the loud-speaker outside the ground informed those waiting that the fixture had been called off owing to a water-logged pitch – leaving a set of sodden supporters angry, relieved and disappointed all in one breath.
It was then confirmed on the official website rather comically with a similar headline ‘Game Off’ – as many trudged home seeking someone to blame for what was a farcical set of circumstances.
BBC London seemed to believe the pitch was playable, and the decision was taken by Pat Miller despite not rolling a ball on the field of play – with the problem appearing to be by the dug-out, the majority of standing water off the field.
With conditions not deteriorating questions have to be asked of the decision-making process. The pitch was as playable as it was going to be – according to some – for a fare few hours.
So either the local referee – that was presumably brought in – made a mistake in being confident the game would be on – or match-day referee Pat Miller was wrong in calling it off without ever truly testing the state of play.
Rangers were unquestionably wrong to reveal such a confident statement despite there still being a pitch inspection. While some that can’t make the rearranged date will have their ticket reimbursed the numbers that travelled and took time off work have truly wasted an afternoon because of poor organisation between the club, its fans and the officials.
This was an unfortunate set of circumstances in terms of the weather, but they way it was handled will leave a bitter taste in the mouth for supporters that were informed that a game was imminent.
On the plus side – Rangers managed to leave Loftus Road without defeat, which I’m sure is a bonus for all!
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