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Rainy Day Money!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 01/02/2004

THE postponement of Saturday's game against Bristol City was a disappointment to us all. We do not like to miss our Saturday football. It was particularly disappointing this week because supporters were looking forward to seeing our new loan signing, Lee Thorpe, in action.

In a few cases, some very keen supporters made their first visit to Asda's and Ramsden's and, in some extreme cases, some children were frightened by the appearance of their dad in their house on a Saturday afternoon fearing perhaps that he had suffered an apoplexy or something even worse!

In my house, my wife was very concerned about my mental state when she saw me watching Manchester United Vs Southampton live on TV.

But those are the burdens that we, the football fans, have to bear.

But joking aside, the postponement was a very heavy blow to the club, who have had just one game in the last four from which they have got some cash flow and have another two weeks before they actually have something coming via the gates.

Of course, the income has only been postponed but, as games that are put off for one reason or another are usually re-arranged for a Tuesday night, the attendances would be expected to be lower than those on a Saturday game and that causes problems for clubs like Grimsby who are running on very short purse strings.

The loss of any cash flow is serious and it is not just the gate money. The sponsorship cash is lost, the sales of drinks, food and purchases at the club shop are all affected and this commercial income is a very important component of the club's income.

It was a big disappointment for the fans but come Wednesday we will have forgotten it and looking forward to the game next Sunday against Oldham Athletic.

But at the club, wages still have to be paid, the match day programmes are obsolete, the meat pies and other supplies that were not sold still have to be paid for. (Some of it is franchised but not all.)

So a postponement is not a simple job of rearranging the fixture list. It is a major problem and a very expensive one adding even more costs to the club that we can ill afford.

Postponing a match is a very hard decision to make and is not done unless there is no option and when weather conditions look likely to cause a postponement, it becomes a very serious concern for both clubs as, in some cases, visiting supporters and their team are already en route to the game and the postponement inflicts losses on them too.

So for those who think that postponements are no more than an inconvenience to the fans. Think again. Too many in a season can wreak havoc on fixtures, the players, the results and the financial situation of the club.

God knows we need rain. But please, not on a Saturday!




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