Farsley Celtic players and fans were left shocked tonight after their game against Barnet was called off – just 15 minutes before kick-off.
The Celts, who made the 378-mile round coach trip to Barnet for an FA Trophy second round replay, were frustrated after the referee deemed the playing surface frozen and unplayable.
National League side Barnet’s last home game against Dagenham & Redbridge four days ago was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch – but there was no suggestion of the late drama today.
Farsley Celtic Chairman Paul Barthorpe thanked the small band of travelling fans and players for making the trip to the team a league above them and said:
“On behalf of the club, I can only express our frustration and disappointment at the events that have unfolded tonight. As a semi-professional club we rely on games being played and fixtures fulfilled as the lifeblood of our existence.
“Our players, staff and supporters, many of whom are self-employed, have had to take days off work for a long midweek away game, sacrificing personal income for their dedication in representing Farsley, and for that we as a club are, and always will be, truly grateful.
“We will once again have to ask them to make this sacrifice, but I can assure our fans, players and all involved that we will be seriously looking into tonight’s events and pushing for acceptable answers.
“We shouldn’t have to ask or expect anyone involved with our club, in any capacity, to make such unnecessary and avoidable sacrifices to do something they love!
“Putting aside the significant financial implications for us as a club, and the individuals involved, this isn’t what football is all about. Football is and always has been about just playing the game, and win, lose or draw we share it with our fans week in and week out.
“It couldn’t be any simpler, we are a football club that exist to play football! Let’s hope nights like tonight don’t ruin that too much.”
Massive thank you to our small band of supporters who have made the long journey to @BarnetFC this evening, to see the game unfortunately postponed 🙌 ☘️ pic.twitter.com/TFcZxNRIjE— Farsley Celtic (@FarsleyCelticFC) January 21, 2020
In a statement, Barnet FC said:
“The match officials deemed the surface, in particular the goal-mouths, to be frozen and therefore unplayable.
“All tickets for tonight’s game will be valid for the rearranged tie. For refunds, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this late postponement will cause.”
The postponement was also met by a classy response by Barnet fans, some of who bought the travelling Celts contingent drinks.
We’d like to thank @BarnetFC fans @HugoGreally and @JoeFerris99 who bought all the Farsley fans a drink tonight after the postponement. A real credit to your club! pic.twitter.com/a0MtOoTIBB— Farsley Celtic (@FarsleyCelticFC) January 21, 2020
Barnet fan @pennybee tweeted:
“I’ve been a Barnet fan since I was three in those 30+ years I’ve never been embarrassed to call myself a Barnet fan, until tonight. This is truly embarrassing and in my opinion we should forfeit the tie. Our club is a joke thanks to those in charge. I apologise to all from Farsley”
“As a Barnet fan we should forfeit the tie and reimburse you for all the costs of travelling. We control our own pitch and even tweeted out earlier that it would be fine to play on. “
“Can only apologise to the Farsley fans who made the trip. I’m just from down the road myself so Ik the feeling. As a part time team too it must be hard on the players. Sorry for all your inconvenience.”
A new date for the replay has yet to be decided.