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O'Neill: Not Viable to Stay Over and Play Game on Sunday
Saturday, 13th Feb 2021 23:05

General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says it wasn’t viable for the Blues to stay overnight in Shrewsbury and play today’s postponed game against the Shrews tomorrow, an idea which Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor suggested.

The match at Montgomery Waters Meadow was called off by referee Lee Swabey just before 2pm due to frozen patches on the pitch which were deemed a danger to players.

“First of all, we are obviously very frustrated that we have travelled all the way down to Shrewsbury only for the game to be called off an hour before kick-off,” O’Neill told the club website.

“Once we were told it was off, it was Paul and Stuart who brought up the idea of staying over and playing tomorrow.

“We have got fixtures piling up and the last thing we needed was the game to be postponed so we looked at the possibility of playing on Sunday and if we had been in ‘normal’ times, then I think it may have happened.

“But we’re not in normal times, are we? We are living with the restrictions of Covid. The hotel we stayed in on Friday opened up especially for us, brought in staff and food especially for us. It wasn’t possible to have that arrangement at such short notice for tonight.

“The weather is still freezing all over the country and while it’s forecasted to improve tomorrow, there are no guarantees that the pitch would have been fine.

“So we had no hotel to stay in, no guarantees of the pitch being playable and we would have gone into the game with the players not having trained for two days.

“We spoke about it as a group but Paul understood the reasons why the only viable thing to do was to turn the bus around and go home.

“In hindsight, it would have been better if, knowing the weather forecast, we had moved the game to Sunday in the first place.

“We could have travelled down today but Shrewsbury were confident the game would go ahead. Like I say, it’s been a frustrating day!”

No new date has yet been set for the match but with both club’s fixture list already very full it won’t take place until April at the earliest.

Meanwhile, former Blues winger Danny Rowe, 28, has joined Burton Albion and made his debut as an 88th-minute sub in their 2-0 victory at Northampton today.

Rowe, who has joined the Brewers on a deal to the end of the season, was released by Town at the end of 2019/20.

Photo: TWTD

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Blue_Blood_ added 23:17 - Feb 13
All I'm hearing are excuses

Skip73 added 23:25 - Feb 13
What a load of crap. For once I cannot blame Lambert for this. I expect they were already isolating in the hotel, eating the food etc. I believe at least 1 other club is managing to do it. When we play Shrewsbury with 5 changes because 'we don't want to risk them' and inevetibly lose, the excuse of 'Too many games' will be rolled out. This club isn't worth the bother. Roll on non league starting again so I can watch a team with fight and spirit, instead of lily livered excuse after excuse.

Skip73 added 23:29 - Feb 13
On the other hand, is this a tactical ploy? because if the season were to be stopped again, our ppg would shoot up because of the fewer games. Our best chance at the playoffs.

PSGBlue added 03:28 - Feb 14
" if we had been in ‘normal’ times, then I think it may have happened" - no it wouldn't have as the fans, police, stewards etc would need a bit more notice than 24 hours. It is precisely that there are no fans, that the match could have been played 24 hours later.

Suffolkboy added 05:39 - Feb 14
Pity there are so many in denial : seems a perfectly reasonable and sensible explanation with no misleading elements.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 06:01 - Feb 14
Agree with Suffolkboy. This was just an unfortunate set of circumstances caused by the notoriously unpredictable British weather. Let's save the blame game for situations where it really applies. In fact, if anyone is to blame, it's the Shrews camp because "they were confident the game would go ahead." But, it's not easy to know in advance just how a pitch is going to react to the British weather.

DurhamTownFan added 07:23 - Feb 14
I just think that people are complaining because everything about the club is wrong lately. You feel like if we were on form and confident, everything would be done to play it.

I also think we should have played. You’re telling me that hotels (desperate for income) wouldn’t have been able to manage it? I believe at least one might have. A few other games were rearranged this weekend, so why not ours?

More games later in the season just kicks the can down the road.

Umros added 08:12 - Feb 14
So a hotel business that has suffered for a year wouldn’t want to grab another night of business 🤔. I’m sure staff would jump at chance of full wages for another night. Food? Well Boots would have been open in Shrewsbury, I’m sure so £3.39 shapers low fat pasta meal deal all around would surely suffice like the rest of us workers .......just for one day .....or I’m sure the hotel could have even managed a bowl of pasta and some toast with a trip to the supermarket !

Saved Lambert and another embarrassing Saturday evening on a positive front.

Dissboyitfc added 08:18 - Feb 14
i think it could have been played, you are telling me there wasnt a hotel in say a 50 mile radius that wasnt able to offer accomodation, nope not having that, its not as though the staff at the one when they stayed had other commitments, is it? cant go any where and in lockdown so yes staff are available at short nortice, and how long would it have taken to get the rooms and dining area ready anyway? And as i say if not there there would have been one available somewhere nearby.

The problem is, the club is so full of bull right now, i struggle to believe a word that it says!

Sad Times... really really are

dyersdream added 08:28 - Feb 14
another idiot who knows nothing about football

slade1 added 08:33 - Feb 14
Some of the comments on here are staggering.
Hotels etc are shut, they are closed. You cant get a hotel unless its booked well in advance. I should know as I run a hotel!!
Please people on here, stop with your absolutely ridicules comments about Ipswich making excuses, Lamberts making excuses not to play etc.
You are embarrassing yourselves.

MickMillsTash added 08:47 - Feb 14
The games at nearby Crewe and Port Vale had been postponed by Friday
the country is freezing with a forecast for a thaw on Sunday -
It would not have taken Mastermind to have planned ahead for a late postponement and arrange the option of playing on Sunday.
Im guessing we thought this through - Norwood is not fit, we need him and hope he will be fit in April, also Shrewsbury are in form right now - so we did not put plans in place for a re-arrangement and allowed the cancellation. I would have done this if in Towns position
No excuses now for Tuesday

Happy Valentines

Dissboyitfc added 08:59 - Feb 14
How have other clubs, managed to do this and put the game back 24hrs? Are accrington staying over or travelling home and back??????

dirtydingusmagee added 09:13 - Feb 14
who cares anymore.

Dissboyitfc added 09:15 - Feb 14
Slade1 can you answer how Acrington have managed?

MonkeyAlan added 09:18 - Feb 14
Is O Neill still here?

senduntd added 09:30 - Feb 14
Has it not dawned on all the bone heads on here that covid restrictions make it almost impossible for hotels to operate. Plus do we need to expose our players to infection.

Northstandveteran added 09:40 - Feb 14
Lambert did ask a local hotel if they had reservations.

The manager said,

" Yes, I think you're the worst manager in the history of Ipswich town "

Dissboyitfc added 09:53 - Feb 14
Senduntd... and you explanation on how Accrington are doing this??????

Just checked premier inn is open in Shrewsbury for work related guests!!!

As I said this could have gone ahead!

Dissboyitfc added 10:23 - Feb 14
Slade and sendundt answers please ????

ringwoodblue added 10:26 - Feb 14
Maybe us fans are just so used to lies and pathetic excuses that we don’t accept an explanation even if it was the truth.

London_Blue added 10:40 - Feb 14
Seriously, in the 70’s and 80’s games were called off every other week as the pitches were basically parkland turf with zero technology applied. We have one game called off in a whole season and suddenly there’s a major conspiracy!

The whole team travelled and did their best to play, you can’t legislate for these circumstances.

Nobbysnuts added 10:47 - Feb 14
The simple truth of the matter is i just don't care anymore and its a great weight off my shoulders.....roll on the golf courses reopening...🏌‍♂️🏌‍♂️🏌‍♂️

senduntd added 11:33 - Feb 14
Is football really considered to be work related? I always thought it was a game.

Dissboyitfc added 11:35 - Feb 14
No , that’s the point they didn’t try hard enough to get this game on and then we will hear about fixture congestion!


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