We have released a statement following the postponement of this afternoon’s Vanarama National League away fixture at Dover Athletic.
First and foremost, we would like to express our sympathy to supporters who, following the Boxing Day postponement at King’s Lynn, have now made two wasted journeys in atrocious conditions. We sincerely hope they return home safely.
Mindful of the lack of warning provided to us and our supporters on Boxing Day, and having closely monitored the very poor weather forecasted in Dover this weekend, we made contact with our opponents at 11am today only to be categorically told that there were no concerns over the match going ahead – a message we then communicated to our supporters.
Having received no further information from Dover, club officials were incredibly frustrated to arrive at the stadium two hours later only to be told by stewards that the match had been postponed. Head coach Ian Burchnall, still on the team bus with his staff and players 10 minutes from the ground, received a call from the match referee around the same time explaining that the pitch was completely unplayable.
Our chief executive Jason Turner then met with the referee who explained that, shortly after Dover had told us the game wasn’t in doubt, they had made contact with him to enquire about his arrival time as they wanted him to assess the playing surface. We were not made aware of this dialogue, nor of any increasing concern Dover had of the match not going ahead.
At the time of publishing (4.30pm, Saturday), we are yet to receive any communication from Dover officials, let alone an apology for failing to provide any warning of a potential postponement despite them expressing concern to the referee, the persistent rain falling over the stadium and the poor forecast for the rest of the afternoon.
We have made initial contact with the National League to discuss this matter and will be providing a full report to them early next week.
Burchnall said: “For me, today has been a disgrace. Fans have sacrificed their Saturday, and a lot of money, to travel four hours in support of their football club and they have been massively let down by a complete lack of communication from Dover – just as they were at King’s Lynn.
“We understand that weather conditions can worsen even in a short time period, but to not inform us of the game coming under question shows a complete lack of respect to our supporters and us as a club.
“Last season, when games were being played behind closed doors, proved just how important fans are to football, particularly at this level of the game. It’s disgraceful that Dover have allowed this completely avoidable situation to play out as it has.
“Our supporters have been badly let down once again and the National League need to address this for the good of all clubs.”
Supporters are advised that King’s Lynn’s home fixture against Woking was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch this afternoon. We will maintain regular dialogue with King’s Lynn and the league in the build-up to Tuesday’s scheduled rearranged match to provide supporters with the latest information.