The big freeze may have cost Manchester United it’s place at the top of the table simply because Blackpool’s 110 year old Bloomfield Road Stadium is the only one in the Premier League not equipped with an undersoil heating system. The disruption and inconvenience caused by that postponement should not be acceptable in this day and age. United and its fans happened to be the ones to suffer this weekend but it could have just as easily been any other club.
Let’s not be too critical of Blackpool however, after all, their own fans cannot be overly thrilled with their Saturday evening plans being put into cold storage. While the Tangerines have to shoulder some of the responsibility, the Premier League itself must also accept much of the blame for the lack of foresight which led to such an avoidable outcome for all parties – one which does not need to be repeated.
Promoted clubs to the Premiership are rewarded with a reported £30million for their success. Birmingham City recently spent £300,000 to install undersoil heating at St Andrews – just 1% of the jackpot they received for getting into the Premier League. Can that be regarded as anything but a wise investment?
It may sound like a simplistic question but how difficult will it be for the Premier League to make it compulsory for promoted clubs to spend such a fraction of their new found wealth into installing an undersoil heating system unless one already exists? Is it not just as basic a requirement as having a floodlit stadium?
But there has to be hope. Lessons will surely be learned from this fiasco – by Blackpool itself, any other promoted club and most importantly, by the Premier League. It has to recognise that certain basic requirements are simply a must for the self proclaimed biggest, most watched domestic league competition in the world. Anything less simply becomes an embarrassment.
Remember, a measly, lousy ONE% of the promotion jackpot is all that’s required for clubs to become part of 2010!
Should it be compulsory for EVERY Premier League club to have undersoil heating?