Fuming Mansford seeks compensation for fans

The valley pitch is still waterlogged and the match is called off.
The valley pitch is still waterlogged and the match is called off.
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Barnsley chief executive Ben Mansford admitted he was “raging” after Saturday’s away clash with Charlton Athletic was called-off just 90 minutes before the scheduled 3pm kick-off.

An estimated 500 travelling Barnsley supporters were forced to make a worthless eight-hour round trip back to South Yorkshire after referee Iain Williamson deemed the waterlogged pitch unplayable and “dangerous”.

Mansford’s frustration was clear to see after a wasted journey for everyone concerned with the club – and the expense attached to it.

“Most of the media I’ve done up to now has been fairly considered and at times I probably try to not answer the question which is put at me, which all good chief executives would do,” said Mansford.

But he rapped: “There’s absolutely nothing else I can say to the fans, apart from to let them know I’m absolutely raging [with the time the match was called off].

“Me and [manager] Danny [Wilson] were sat having a coffee at about 12.20 and we got a call to say there was going to be a pitch inspection at 1pm. We jumped in the car to come down ahead of the team coach to see the pitch.

“Both managers were in agreement with the referee that there was no way this game could have been played.

“I spoke to the referee and he said he rang Charlton on Friday and asked them whether the pitch needed an inspection.

“We’ve expended a lot of finance coming down here and now the re-arranged game is going to be a Tuesday night. We’re going to have expend more finance coming down here again.

“But leave all that aside. We expected over 500 supporters from Barnsley, so for them to have to waste their money is not very good.”

Mansford stressed the club could be complaining to the Football Association about the late postponement and trying “everything we can” to make sure Barnsley supporters who made the long trip are not out of pocket.

“I can assure the fans we’ll make every recommendation to seek to get some finance back to help them when we come back down here,” he said. “We’ll do all we can, but until about 12.20 we were none the wiser that this game wasn’t on.

“My huge frustration and anger is that the game could have probably been called off on Friday.

“I’ve tried not to be too emotional about it, but I can only apologise to the fans. Although, to be honest, this isn’t our fault.”

It was a view shared by frustrated boss Wilson who had travelled to Charlton on Friday with his squad and who stressed he had not been given any indication that the fixture could be cancelled.

“The hardest part is for the fans who’ve travelled to watch us,” said Wilson.

“As players go, it’s frustrating because we’ve prepared for the game - and an important game for both clubs as well.

“But it’s equally frustrating for the fans because it’s cost them a lot of money to come down here.

“It’s difficult to take because there was no preparation for them thinking the game might be off.

“Unfortunately when it happens like it has ... well it’s very hard to take.

“Unfortunately, from our point of view, there was nothing we could have done. We had no prior warning that the match was going to be off.

“I didn’t even know there was going to be an inspection. I heard the referee was at the ground and was quite concerned about the pitch. That was the first we’d heard that the game might be off.

“But we expected the game to go ahead because Charlton had a dome on the pitch to protect it from the weather over the last ten days.”

Charlton’s last two matches had been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. They had been due to play Oxford United in the FA Cup third round last Saturday, but that match - and the subsequent Wednesday night replay - were both called off.

Wilson added: “We’re just frustrated we didn’t have prior warning about it because we could have gone over on Friday and had a look at the pitch. We could have made a judgment then and saved everybody travelling down.

“But unfortunately that’s not happened and we have to move on. There’s nothing we can do about it.

“We were looking forward to seeing our new loan signings play.”