TRANMERE ROVERS and Braintree Town are both counting the cost of a chance lost to bank some helpful funds after their first round FA Cup tie – set to be televised live by ITV yesterday lunchtime – was postponed.
Both clubs were each set to pocket £64,000 from the television company.
However, the game was called off at 11am, 90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time of 12.30pm due to a waterlogged pitch and surrounding areas of the Cressing Road ground.
The pitch had been covered since Tuesday, but the high water table, together with an inch of rain in four hours saw the playing surface under water.
Both Rovers manager Ronnie Moore and club chief executive Mick Horton said the match referee, Dean Whitestone, had made the correct decision in calling the cup-tie off.
Moore said: “To be fair to the ref, he’s worried about safety reasons.
“It’s on the outside of the pitch where the water is and players can slide through and straight into the barriers.
“We’re here and we want to play. I’ve had a look at the ground and I know what it’s like.
“I’ve had a look at the floodlights and a night match here isn’t going to be ideal.
“The rain came down at the wrong time and the referee had no option but to call it off.
“It’s a pity because we could both do with the money from the TV.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to happen and we’ve got to come back now.”
Horton said: “The referee has called it off for the players’ safety.
“One of the main concerns is that there’s so much water around the edge of the pitch.
“There’s water all over the place – even to get in the stand you’re paddling through four or five inches of water.
“When you got up this morning it looked inevitable after the trouble they’d had last week.”
Last Saturday, Braintree’s scheduled home game against Wrexham in the Blue Square Bet League Premier Division was also postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Added Horton: “There are puddles on the pitch and we’ve just had about 10 or 15 minutes of downpour which wasn’t forecast to end until about 12.30pm.
“It’s disappointing but we’re never going to beat weather.
“It’s not just players – it’s supporters as well you have to think about and I think it was the right decision.”
No date has yet been fixed for the game to be rescheduled although it could be either Tuesday, November 13 or Sunday, November 18.
Both sides have the incentive of a home tie in the second round as the winners will entertain Chesterfield following the draw which took place yesterday afternoon.
That game will take place on the weekend of December 1-2.