Crawley supremo Derham hits out at critics over Portsmouth postponement

The covers at the Checkatrade.com Stadium covering the pitch before the Portsmouth game was postponed SUS-170123-202430002
The covers at the Checkatrade.com Stadium covering the pitch before the Portsmouth game was postponed SUS-170123-202430002

Crawley Town operations director Kelly Derham has hit out at fans who criticised the club for postponing the Portsmouth game on Saturday.

Supporters from both clubs voiced their frustration on social media that the game was called off following a 9am pitch inspection by a referee.

The Reds supremo has revealed the club lost £10,000 because the game didn’t go ahead and has praised the staff and fans who tried to get the game on.

She said: “I don’t do social media, but in the office my colleagues have told me that some Portsmouth fans have called us a ‘tin pot club.’

“We don’t have a big budget or big gates.

“I found this kind of comment really hurtful. We don’t just call games off just for the sake of it.

“We did everything we could to get the game on, including paying for warm air blowers to warm up the south end of the ground which does not get warmed by the sun in the winter.

“Staff and volunteers were working until 11pm on Friday, building wooden trestles to raise the covers so the blowers could reach the frozen areas.

“We were all back at 7.30am, but with the temperature going down to -5c overnight, it was rock solid, so there was nothing we could do.

“It was the correct decision it wasn’t going to go above 2 degrees and there was only a 20 percent chance of it thawing in time for a 12noon inspection.

“It is better to make a decision to prevent away fans from travelling unnecessarily - it would actually make a saving to call off the day before, but we were still trying to get the game on.

“We had around 30 fans turn up at around 9am to take the covers off - the same fans as last week who did the same for the Yeovil game.

“It was very upsetting to see everyone work so hard and for the game not to go on. It was really sad - we have such a good team of staff and no-one moaned.

“We wanted the game to go on - we have taken a financial hit of around £10,000 and that does not allow for any fewer fans coming on a Tuesday night.

“I was devastated. It ruined my weekend.

“It was as a big operation, taking months of planning and we did out best to try not to disappoint 5,000 fans.”

The game has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 7 at 7.45pm and Derham would love a positive response from the fans.

She said: “I hope people will come and support the club and the staff for all their hard work.

“We know a Tuesday night is hard but in March it might be a bit warmer. I am hoping everyone who bought tickets will come to this one - we have made refunds to some people who were travelling to the game from Ireland who really can’t make it,”

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