Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again When We’re 4-1 Down at Home

Posted by on Dec 1, 2009 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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.

is co-editor of The Two Unfortunates. He's 31, supports Plymouth Argyle and takes a particular interest in the fortunes of those Football League clubs west of Bristol. He tweets @lloydlangman.


  1. Ben
    December 2, 2009

    As I said to you yesterday, a couple of fortunate deflections benefitted Barnsley, but it was all far too easy for them. I'd be worried about the rematch, though you might be in better shape by then (particularly defensively).

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    December 2, 2009

    Much as I have enjoyed ribbing you about this, it did seem to be the correct call, with the only quibble being Mark Robins' assertion that the managers weren't consulted which, if true, is bad form indeed on the part of the referee. That first half performance from the Tykes does once again underline how magnificently Robins has done in his short tenure.

  3. gerschenkron
    December 3, 2009

    Personally, I think it's ludicrous that the game isn't simply restarted at the same scoreline – the rest of the game could be played to an empty stadium if need be. The weather was the same for both teams after all.

    I see no reason to play the game again as though the kick-off had never happened. I feel certain that there are precendents for this but I haven't found any – quite the opposite as this Guardian article testifies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/nov/11/latest-abandonments-the-knowledge

  4. Lloyd
    December 6, 2009

    I agree with the last comment — it's quite daft to start the whole thing again, but people would complain whatever decision was made. If the remaining 30 minutes were played behind closed doors, for example, Argyle fans who'd paid to see the game would kick off and demand refunds, leaving the club penniless as well as pointless from the game.

    If anyone saw the 'high' lights from yesterday's home defeat against Blades, they'd have seen how bad the pitch is at the moment. Don't expect to see any football played at Home Park for some time…


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