Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again When We're 4-1 Down at Home
Having not been in attendance myself, I’ve waited until now to let the dust settle and to attempt to unshackle myself from the blind partiality that saw me almost keel over with joy after hearing that Plymouth had been granted a reprieve from a definite home thrashing on Saturday afternoon.
Yet, as hard as I try to see it from both sides, I cannot help but think that the referee was correct to call the contest off. For those that have seen clips of the game, it’s fairly clear that the ball had almost completely stopped running in the centre and with 30 whole minutes yet to be played, away fans had already started to worry. Conspiracies have arisen since, suggesting that the referee was in cahoots with the home club, and that manager Paul Sturrock had told his players to slide in at all opportunities so as to exacerbate the poor state of the pitch, but I’ve spoken to a couple of fair-minded people who were at the game and the word is that conditions were farcical. What’s more, the referee was vindicated when the rain somehow worsened 5 minutes after he made his dramatic call.
Reaction has been predictable: Argyle have put their heads down and kept schtum while Barnsley have exhausted all possibilities that don’t feature restarting at 0-0. And that’s football: it was ever thus. Luminaries such as Stan Collymore and Steve Claridge have had their say, but, just like with Ireland, it seems unlikely that Barnsley will get their wish. Governing bodies have always been resistant to creating precedent and, however unjust, it seems that the Yorkshireman are set for a second trip to Devon in the New Year for another 90 minutes of football. The only good thing for Barnsley is that the almost rout probably wasn’t as freakish as Argyle Officials would like us to think: the Reds still stand an excellent chance of romping to another victory, particularly since they will be spurred on by this sense of injustice. The fact that Argyle are clinging on to a rematch like points-starved madmen does not bode well at all, and all this mudslinging only illuminates the fractured state of affairs at Home Park.