Will Saints V Stoke City Be On ?
Friday, 2nd Mar 2018 09:02
The big Saints talking point today is not team news but the weather, will it cause the postponement of the game ?
From a pitch perspective the answer is that the game will be able to go ahead without any problems, it has undersoil heating and from pictures the club put up on their own website it appears that yesterday afternoon they cleared the first snowfall off the pitch, although the undersoil heating system can thaw the pitch out the water has to disperse somewhere, so you do not want a pitch that is saturated.
But it is likely that the some snow has settled overnight so that may give the impression that the pitch might be unplayable, but that snow is easily thawed and cleared, the only issue with the pitch would be if the game was taking place in heavy snowfall making visibility difficult and obscuring the lines, but there is no snow forecast after midday today and there is rain in the air for this evening that would disperse the snow.
The temperature is also said to be going to rise above freezing early this evening, so any rain would not only disperse the snow but would not freeze, the temperature is forecast to steadily rise from freezing this afternoon to 5 by midday on Saturday.
So if the pitch is not a problem then the game will definately go ahead ?
The short answer is no, it then falls on those responsible for the safety of the stadium and that is overseen by the City Council, they will have to be happy that those attending can get to the ground safely, in essence that should not be a problem as it stands Friday morning, the roads into Southampton are clear and although there is little traffic as many have stayed at home today, they are moving freely, given the weather conditions forecast these should not worsen.
The rail system seems to be working fairly normally this morning from London Waterloo, although trains are running late, they are running and getting through, trains to the West though are a different matter as the weather is worse there as it is the further North you go.
So the answer is from a travelling perspective to the game there should be no problems assuming the weather forecast is correct.
But the big picture is not always the issue that stops a game going ahead, it is the smaller picture and that is the Stadium itself and the surrounding areas, in the main that means the roads and paths, given the weather forecast you would hope that they will be ok and in the main they probably will, but it is little things like the Railway footbridge and areas surrounding the stadium that may get little sunlight and therefore may not thaw that could cause the problem.
Likewise in the stadium itself, if snow and rain has blown into the seated areas and frozen, that might not thaw out and you could have a situation where most of the stadium is fine but several areas are not and that could prove a problem, the walkways and aisles up to the seats are probably the one single factor that could cause the postponement of this game. But if the temperature gets high enough above freezing with plenty of time before the game, hopefully these areas will be fine.
Years ago at the Dell we had a game against Crewe called off because of frozen pipes in the toilets in the stands, I would say that given that down here we have not experienced really sub minus temperature that some parts of the country have in this cold snap, that this won't be an issue this weekend.
All these things being fine some would say what about the Stoke supporters, sadly they will not come into the equation, as we saw last night, if ever a game in the Premier League was going to be called off then it would be Arsenal V Manchester City, a game played where most of the potential 60,000 crowd had to come to the game from a distance, there would have been few Arsenal supporters who would have been able to actually walk to the game, most would live more than 10 miles from the stadium, Manchester City fans faced a 200 mile journey and trip home that would not see them get back to 3am on a good day, did the authorities take any notice of that ?
The stock answer is no, the ability of the away fans to travel to the game through adverse weather conditions far worse than in the stadium surrounding areas was not a factor whatsoever, they had to choose between risking life and limb or missing the game, indeed from the TV it seems that most home supporters also chose to give the game a miss themselves.
The last factor would be that the Stoke team could get here, that will be clear by late this afternoon, but truth is if Manchester City can get from the North West to London then Stoke should be able to get their team a shorter distance to Southampton.
So in conclusion the game has a very good chance of going ahead, the two main issues will be that the access in and around the stadium is safe for fans to walk on and that Stoke can get a team down here.
So get your warm weather gear out and make sure that 30,000 eskimo's give Stoke City a warm welcome to St Mary's and send them home with zero on the points scale.
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