Date: 28 October 2008 (MATCH ABANDONED AT 5 MINUTES)
How frustrating. I paid over £20 for a train ticket (I was overcharged by South West Trains, but that’s another story), and another £20 for admission to the match; plus food and drinks. We trudged through the sleet from the pub to the ground. We queued to get in (why?). And then we saw less than five minutes’ play before the match was called off.
This match should, of course, never have started, because snow was already coming down at 7:45. We speculated, subsequently, that the Luton club, only recently out of administration like our own, had begged the referee to start the game so that they wouldn’t have to pay out cash refunds on the night - as they’d had to do on the occasion when they called off a Bournemouth match at exactly 7:45! So now all we get is free admission to the rearranged game - if convenient. I saw a lot of fans with kids, who’d only come because it’s half term week; they won’t be able to return if the match gets rearranged for a school night.
There was just time to identify the starting line-up. Quinn had raged about players not pulling their weight the previous Saturday, so we were keen to see who was dropped. It turned out to be Pitman, Bartley and Bradbury - though, in fairness, Bradbury was suspended anyway. In fact when the game was abandoned we weren’t sure whether this would count as his suspended match or not; evidently not.
Most of the play that we did see, was around Bournemouth’s goal. The ball never got outside our own half. So the signs weren’t good, but of course this may have been simply the ‘game plan’! While we were still identifying the players (this was the first time we’d seen Molesey and he didn’t have long enough to create an impression), the referee blew his whistle and signalled to his assistants, and the outcome was immediately - despite chants of “Bournemouth’s playing on!” - beyond doubt.
As mentioned above, this was the second time in recent years that we’d left Luton having seen little or no play. And for me it was almost ten years to the day since I’d last seen a match started but abandoned - on 24 October 1998 at Colchester. On that occasion we had to wait over six months for the rescheduled match; which we lost. Tonight the team lined up as follows at the start of the game (I shan’t give the players marks out of ten, nor select a ‘man of the ‘match’ on this occasion):
Ward, Guyett, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings;
Hollands, Anderton, Molesley;