United fall victim to outside influences

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DAVE McCarthy, Sheffield United’s operations director, has revealed the League One promtion hopefuls did “everything within our power” to try and ensure Saturday’s game against Brentford went ahead as scheduled.

Last weekend’s match, which could have seen Danny Wilson’s side regain second place in the table, was postponed on the advice of South Yorkshire police after the areas surrounding Bramall Lane were deemed to be dangerous because of snow.

McCarthy told The Star: “We tried our hardest but unfortunately you can’t fight Mother Nature.

“We had people trying to keep the car-park and other areas inside and outside the stadium clear from the early hours of the morning. They put in a tremendous amount of work and went above and beyond the call of duty at times.

“Unfortunately, though, there really was no other choice. Especially because the well-being of our fans is the most important thing. That’s paramount.”

“I want to thank the groundstaff, other employees of the football club and everyone else who gave their help,” McCarthy added. “The referee (Keith Stroud) was also superb about what was happening and the same goes for the police. They were very clear about their thoughts on the matter and that’s greatly appreciated.”

The night before the contest, which had been due to kick off at 12.45pm, United officials were confident it would go ahead as planned.

However, when the weather deteriorated further, their efforts proved in vain.

Stroud, who 24 hours earlier had predicted the pitch would be playable, was unable to perform another inspection after being snowed in at his hotel.

Talks between United, Brentford and the Football League aimed at arranging a

new date were continuing yesterday.

Inspector Phil Barraclough, of South Yorkshire police, cited problems with exposed staircases on The Kop, drifting snow in seating areas and also the potential problems likely to be encountered by travelling Brentford supporters as factors behind the decision to postpone.

“I have serious concerns about public safety and disruption,” he said in a statement issued on Saturday morning.

“The road and footpath conditions are not safe for large numbers of vehicle or pedestrians to attend within the vicinity of Sheffield city centre and the stadium today. The conditions for pedestrians are treacherous. There are also problems with public transport which will further compound the issues My overall threat and risk assessment for public safety is high. My overall threat and risk assessment for disruption is high.”

United are sixth in the table after fixtures involving Swindon, Yeovil, Bournemouth and Tranmere Rovers went ahead.