Chester FC manager Jon McCarthy believes the club and its fans have been shown a ‘lack of respect’ after the rearrangement of their postponed season opener at Solihull Moors.
The Blues, now three games into their National League season, have played a game less than the rest of the division, aside from Moors, after the trip to Damson Park for the campaign curtain raiser on August 5 was postponed the day before owing to issues regarding the safety of Solihull’s stadium.
The Solihull Safety Advisory Group raised concerns over certain matchday procedures leading to its postponement, however those conditions have now been met and a new date arranged, although one that has not pleased Chester.
The Blues already have a mammoth September with trips to Torquay United, Gateshead, Dover Athletic and Eastleigh to contend with. Add to that a trip to Solihull on Tuesday, September 5 (7.45pm) just three days after the visit to Torquay and it means that the club and its fans will be racking up the miles, much to the anger of McCarthy, and likely many of the Blues supporters who were left out of pocket after pre-booking travel for the initial clash.
“The National League are good hosts, no problem with them, and I’m not here to pick a fight but I think the treatment of us shows a real lack of respect to us as a football club,” said the Chester boss.
“It would be interested to see how it would have been dealt with by some of the bigger clubs, whether they would have had the same issues.
“As a football club we took what was delivered by Solihull. I have no complaints with Solihull, the manager (Liam McDonald) text me that there were issues, but actually we had 700 fans, maybe more, going to that game. We would have turned that into a home game. We had done all our preparation and were right up for that and the impact it has had on us has been really significant.
“We missed that first game and then played a second game against a team that has already had 90 minutes, and we took that and dealt with it and didn’t make a massive fuss.
“Our supporters, I need to stick up for them. They were out of pocket from that. They’d bought train tickets had planned and were really excited about that journey.
“I dont’ know who’s at fault, whether it is the Solihull Safety Advisory Group or the National League but the fact that we heard about it (postponement) at 10.30am on a Friday means that it seems more than one person made mistakes along the line.”
McCarthy expressed his anger at the decision to schedule the game with Moors just three days after his Blues side travelled down to Devon to take on Torquay despite Chester presenting a number of other more suitable dates.
“We’ve just taken it, got on with it and not made any fuss but when we were offered dates to play by Solihull we chose one that was just after the 23rd (September) where it coincided with us being at home to Maidenhead and then a journey to Solihull,” he said.
“All the other dates meant that we were away at Torquay, away at Dover and we now have a situation where we are going to Solihull after going to Torquay. I haven’t done the maths on the miles on the round trip but look at the data.
“I’m really angry about it and I don’t think it has been dealt with in the right way. There is some archaic rule about the game having to be played within 42 days. Why 42 days? What sense does it have?
“There is no way that they should have treated us and the fans like this. We’ve missed out twice in this scenario. We’ve been dealt a double blow and we’re massively disappointed with the way that they have been treated.”
The National League are continuing to collate information to decide on what, if any, punishment should be handed down to Solihull Moors for the opening day debacle.