11:00pm Thursday 13th February 2014
By Craig Nelson
WHEN Bury last had two matches called off in a week, I spoke about the affect it will have had on the players – leaving them flat and low after building up to what would have been massive matches at the bottom of the League Two table.
That still stands following the late postponements at Torquay United last Saturday and at Mansfield on Tuesday.
But my biggest concern in all of this is actually the fans.
Players are players – they will get over it and go again on Saturday, when Bury are due to host another fellow struggler in Bristol Rovers.
The club won’t be out of pocket either, with any expenses repaid by the host clubs.
I really feel for all of the supporters who made it such a long way down to the Devon coast, only for the game to be postponed a matter of hours before kick-off.
Times are tight and they are expected to fork out a lot of money to follow their team.
So, for me, two things need to happen.
As in Saturday’s case, when there are doubts about a game in advance and fans face a long trip, I think the decision has to be made the day before.
It seems to be happening more and more that games are being called off at the last minute. It happened to Morecambe fans at Exeter the other week and Accrington fans at Portsmouth.
I realise sometimes these things are unavoidable – you can’t control the weather.
But I also believe the Football League should set up a central fund to help fans out in extreme cases, as we saw with Bury supporters in Torquay over the weekend.
Fans, by their very definition, are fanatical and many of those who made the trip down to Devon will end up going again to the rearranged match.
Some just won’t be able to afford it though and I think the league should support them with some money towards their travel expenses.
I know David Flitcroft and his players are grateful of their continued support and it looks like they are going to need it during what is now going to be a very busy run-in.
Before the postponements, Bury were facing a run of four games against sides struggling with them at the bottom of League Two – Torquay and Mansfield followed by Bristol Rovers on Saturday and Accrington Stanley next Tuesday.
Flickers won’t want too many of these important games to pile up at the business end of the season, when the pressure will be ramped up.
But if that is to happen, then that is when the Shakers’ loyal away following are sure to come into their own.
I just wish the Football League would treat them with a little more respect.
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