All views in this article are purely the views of the author and are not the views of the club he is connected with. The author is asserting his right to speak on a personal basis only.
Well, whichever way you look at it, it was a rum do at Colwyn Bay; the referee broke down with a calf strain and thus he requested a volunteer to run the line, there being just being 7 minutes left and Alty being 2 goals up. From this point, depending on who you listen to, the account varies and the online reports are listed below.
After a long delay while the clubs looked round to see who might take over, Altrincham put forward a fan who claimed to be qualified at level 5, which would have been enough to run the line while the senior assistant completed the game. Colwyn Bay manager Frank Sinclair turned this down as they were concerned the volunteer had been drinking at half time.
As an alternative, Neil Tolson, the Alty assistant manager offered to take over. Although unqualified, as a former Premier League player, his experience would have seen him through. Apparently the referee was happy for Tolson to take over, but Sinclair refused again on the ground that he didn’t think his team would get a fair deal.
Altrincham have since stated that it was suggested to Sinclair himself to take over, but he refused that as well on the grounds he wasn’t qualified. The referee said this wasn’t necessary as all, as long as both parties were happy with the nomination, if the Altrincham account is to be believed.
So, three offers of assistance to finish the game but Colwyn Bay refused them all, the hosts then couldn’t offer anything themselves, causing the referee to end the game.
All this to pin their hopes on getting a replay, which they subsequently got as the FA Rules state “When a first match has been postponed, or is abandoned before the completion of 90 minutes and neither club being at fault, it shall be played on the same ground on or before the following Thursday. Matches abandoned through the fault of the clubs shall be dealt with by the National Game Board.”
Permit me a little cynicism here. You’re 2-0 down and with only 7 minutes or so to play, and you get offered an outlet to get into the next round. You stand your ground as the rules allow you to do. Wouldn’t it be natural to do so? Indeed, it would. But to my mind, it’s not necessarily right! By blocking a chance to get the game finished, it shows what some clubs are willing to do as they cater to the inevitable self-interest.
This’ll mean that Altrincham will have to travel to North Wales again, but on a Tuesday; it will also mean the Alty fans will be out of pocket again with travel expenses. Colwyn Bay should have offered an entry voucher for those there for the replay; it would have been in their interests to do so. But it would appear they haven’t, as the FA has ordered the game be replayed Tuesday 19th. Colwyn Bay have decided on half price admittance to the game, the replay will give them a second chance that is scarcely deserved.
In future, the FA should allow the club’s opinions to only be advisory, and the final decision should be the match official and his alone. If he is happy for the replacement to take place then it should.
Given as how, after the injury, Colwyn Bay effectively forced the match to be abandoned by blocking the offers to complete the game, although they were within the laws of the game; shouldn’t they receive some form of admonishment for not acting in the best interests of the game as a whole? It was a good thing that the referee apparently mentioned in his report the stance adopted by Frank Sinclair, perhaps they might have a word…
It will be a sorry outcome if Altrincham lose the match that they looked to be winning, after this episode. If Bay do win, I doubt there will be many good words to say for them within the Borough of Trafford and Moss Lane.