Dave Challinor reveals how much postponed Barnet trip cost Hartlepool United
With money tight and things going well on the pitch for Hartlepool United, a late postponement and four-figure hit to the pocket was the last thing they needed.
But that's just what they got at Barnet on Saturday as it was confirmed that the match would have to be rearranged after a Bees player tested positive for coronavirus.
With travel, food and hotel costs already paid for and used, Pools were understandably keen to have the match go ahead as planned at The Hive – providing it was safe to do so.
And manager Dave Challinor couldn't hide his frustration when the game was inevitably called off late on Friday night.
“We’ve had postponements in the past at Yeovil and Solihull last season but this is different because when it’s weather you can’t control it so it’s hard to be too annoyed,” he told The Mail.
“From our perspective, the trip would have cost the club around £5,000 and for us not to be informed in any way shape or form that Barnet had any concern is massively frustrating.
"Hopefully the club get reimbursed because we weren’t given any inclination of any concerns. If we were told on Tuesday that a Barnet player is getting tested for coronavirus then we make a judgement call whether to travel on Friday or not and potentially save the money.
Unfortunately, that’s not been the case and at the moment the finances are such that hopefully we’ll get some reconciliation for the expense we’ve incurred.”
After making significant budget cuts over the summer, being hit with a £5,000 bill without playing a match is far from ideal for Pools.
Although it’s unlikely that the club will be fully reimbursed for the costs incurred, the feeling it could have been avoided leaves a bitter sting.
"The player who tested positive would have been tested on Wednesday and could have had symptoms on Tuesday night when they played Weymouth,” Challinor continued.
"He’s obviously played against Weymouth so Weymouth could have quite easily got their game called off because they could say they’ve been in contact with the player.
"It opens up lots of situations where you’re reliant on clubs doing the right thing. There was a situation with Tranmere who were hit with a number of cases and had to play Salford, they were told if they had youth team players then they could field a team.
"There’s lots of uncertainty and there’s no black and white situation for how many players have to be out before you postpone a match.
"Yes, there could be a scenario where the Barnet lads have mixed with the lad who has tested positive then they could have multiple cases so I understand you’ve got to be safe.
"It’s just difficult and frustrating and the initial frustration will wane away and we’ll play the game whenever it’s scheduled.
"From our perspective, we wanted to play and we’ve spent enough time not playing football because of this virus so it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to this weekend.”