Newcastle's Premiership encounter with Charlton Athletic on Wednesday night was postponed due to frost and heavy snow ... but NOT on the pitch at St James' Park.
To add to the woe of the 52,000 fans who made the journey to the ground, referee Mike Dean has questioned the decision of Newcastle officials to wait until just 25 minutes before the game was scheduled to kick-off before postponing the fixture. The Wirral official admitted he had been desperate to allow the game to go ahead, insisting that the St James's Park pitch was suitable for top-flight football despite yesterday's heavy snowfall.
Hundreds of United supporters were already inside the stadium when the decision was taken to call off the match at 7.20pm as a result of safety concerns surrounding the treacherous conditions outside the ground.
Newcastle's safety officer Dave Pattison finally decided that the risks involved to supporters were too great for him to give the green light. Yet the fans had ALREADY travelled there, and obviously had to get back, so why was it called off? What difference would two hours make when the fans had already taken the trouble ... and the pitch was playable?
Mike Dean:"They could have (done it earlier) but it is out of my hands. It (the timing of the final decision) is no good for anyone because we were all here by that stage. But we are in the hands of the weather and, if it changes as late as it did, we have no choice.
"It is always the last resort. Charlton have travelled 300 miles to get here and have to try to get home tonight, I have travelled 200 miles myself, and we all wanted to get the game on. But there was nothing we can do. I would like to say sorry but it was out of my hands. I wanted the game to be played like everyone else and the pitch was playable."