The one thing Steve Cotterill dislikes about managing Burnley is training in ceaseless rain and last night he and his club were counting the cost of the Lancashire weather.
For the second time in a week a game at Turf Moor was abandoned because of heavy rain. But while the Championship match with Leicester, called off after a quarter of an hour, merely inconvenienced Burnley, the postponement of last night’s FA Cup tie with Liverpool could cost more than £200,000. It is money the club desperately requires.
Some £150,000 of that is the fee Sky would have paid for transmission while the rest is lost corporate business. The only chance they have of recouping that money is to hope that when the match is replayed, probably on Tuesday 18 January, there is no FA Cup replay that is more attractive than Burnley v Liverpool. Since Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all have very straightforward home games over the weekend and there are no all-Premiership ties, Burnley may well be lucky.
Their chief executive, Dave Edmundson, was bitterly critical of the decision of the referee, Mark Clattenburg, to call off the match half an hour before the scheduled kick-off. “We are extremely disappointed,” he said. “Matches have gone ahead when the pitch has not been 100 per cent fit and in my opinion the pitch was 95 per cent playable.
“If we had more time, we may well have got it 100 per cent fit but we were up against it because we had to make a decision whether to open the turnstiles. The pitch may well have been difficult in some places but that is part and parcel of playing football. If the replay is not on television, it will cost us £150,000, which we literally cannot afford. We will be pleading with Sky to televise it.”
Clattenburg agreed that the pitch was 90 per cent playable but the problems at Turf Moor centred around a strip in front of the Bob Lord Stand that was pure mud rather than turf and which would have interfered with any wing play. It was so muddy that Cotterill joked that he dared not risk a pair of new shoes bought for the occasion.
QPR, with one point out of a possible 21 in their last 7 league matches (and having slipped to 13th in the Championship table), take on Nottingham Forest at Loftus Road. Striker Paul Furlong, sent off for violent conduct in the Boxing Day clash with Brighton, has had his red card rescinded following a review by an FA disciplinary panel. Furlong, having been booked 5 times this season, will miss tomorrow’s match but will be eligible for next Friday night’s game against Stoke City —- incredibly, available for viewing in the U.S. for those frequenting bars that have Setantna Pub Channel access.
(Sir Les, not returning to the Hoops)
With the R’s first team badly depleted by injuries, reinforcements will not be coming in the form of Matt Hill and Les Ferdinand. The former, transfer listed by Bristol City, has not come to terms with QPR on a new deal. The latter, recently released by Bolton, signed with Reading on Thursday.