In modern football, to get a game postponed is generally quite difficult. Normally, it’s due to either safety of the players or safety of the fans - well, apart from if you build a football ground next to the River Trent and don’t realise you’re probably going to get a build-up of water if it rains…
However, in December 2016, during a game with Fulham, it was deemed that the referee’s assistant couldn’t see the full width of the pitch and therefore at half-time called the game off.
Now, ok there is an argument for safety etc, but the decision to abandon the game in many people’s eyes came a little too early. While it’s fair to say that the first half got tricky, with the referee quoted as saying on the pitch visibility was ok, during the half-time break and into what would have been the second half, conditions vastly improved.
Many fans took to Twitter to comment on this; indeed one of our sub-editors went back into the ground to get the picture below, where actually you can see the pitch fairly clearly.
Reading at this period were actually not playing too shabbily, even though Fulham had the lion’s share of the possession with Yann Kermorgant forcing some smart saves out of Button.
The referee had pressed pause on the game a couple of times during the first half, speaking to the captains and managers, and there is probably a view that given how they were playing, Fulham were the keener side to get this this game replayed. Finally at half time, it does seem that the Fulham manager got his way and the game was abandoned. Jaap Stam after abandonment was fairly balanced with his views and his interview is below.
On the radio phone-in post-game, there were a number of irate Reading fans, complaining that this decision had been made too early, and hinted that Slavisa Jokanovic may well have convinced the referee that the game should be stopped. However, what’s done is done, and just meant another fixture to fit in around an already congested fixture list.
The re-arranged fixture was played on January 24, with Reading running out with a 1-0 victory thanks to a rebound goal from Roy Beerens following John Swift’s penalty.