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Football season should be extended, claims Bury boss David Flitcroft
BURY manager David Flitcroft has called on the footballing authorities to look at extending the season after losing yet another match to bad weather.
Bristol Rovers’ planned visit to the JD Stadium on Saturday became the fifth in the last seven scheduled Bury matches to be called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
That followed the postponement of games at Accrington Stanley, Torquay United and two at Mansfield Town.
With new dates already pencilled in for those games, Bury’s programme is now looking incredibly congested, with only one free Tuesday - March 4 – in a hectic run up to the end of next month and only five in total up to the end of the season.
One of those dates will now have to be filled by the Bristol Rovers game, prompting Flitcroft to call for special measures to be put in place now as the forecast of yet more heavy rain threatens further postponements before the end of the month.
“You can’t work against nature,” he said. “Ground staff up and down the country are trying to, but you can’t - there is only going to be one winner.
“I just watched on the TV about a taskforce being set up (by the Government) to deal with problems (created by the weather) across the country. So we are talking about historic times here.
“These are new times and new territory. Where we need the FA now is to be getting a real plan of action in place to make sure we have a contingency plan – a plan B – because what I can’t accept is that we are going to be playing Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
“Four games in a week, potentially, from Saturday to Saturday, is too much for the players. We will be putting players at risk.
“We also have a commitment to fans - asking for them to pay four times in a week is wrong.
“The season, in my view, has to be extended.”
Just as the Government has been forced to act for the country, Flitcroft believes the FA and the Football League also have to work together to set up a taskforce to guard against the possibility of further postponements.
“We are talking about real adverse weather conditions that we have never seen the like of before,” he said.
“So the taskforce for me needs to be set up now.
“What are we going to do, what is the plan because we are trying to fit in games and we are currently running out of dates?
“Jill (Neville, Bury’s general manager) is working her magic to try and get the games on and we are actually running out of dates towards the end of the season.
“So I think it has been that adverse that something needs to happen and happen pretty quickly so we all know what we are doing.
“We are giving dates towards the end of the season and the FA are saying they are not suitable.
“I have got a problem at the minute because every football club is trying their damndest to get games of football on and it’s no good looking at a solution when it is too late, when the horse has bolted.
“This is the time to plan something now that supersedes these games being called off because there is going to be two or three more between now and the end of the month, I’m sure.”
The Football League are yet to confirm a new date for Bury’s home match against Bristol Rovers. Their next game is a rearranged fixture at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday.