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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Swansea retaliate in Histon row

Richie Evans
Richie Evans has been Swansea City's physio for ten years

Swansea City have hit back at Histon after their chairman Gareth Baldwin accused the Swans of pressurising the referee to call off their FA Cup clash.

Baldwin had claimed: "Swansea officials were on their phones to the FA" to postpone the third round tie before it was called off due to a frozen pitch.

But physio Richie Evans said: "The only pressure was coming from their end.

"As soon as the referee entered the ground, the Histon chairman was in his face trying to get the game on."

Referee Phil Crossley said he made an independent decision to postpone the clash for non-league Histon three-and-a-half hours before kick-off.

Crossley said the pitch was playable at the time of the 1130 GMT pitch inspection but due to the bitterly cold forecast, he could not guarantee the game could finish.

Crossley's decision was a blow to the Blue Square Premier club who were all set for arguably the biggest and most lucrative game in their history as it was their first appearance in the FA Cup third round.

Baldwin admitted Histon had been dealt a financial hit as they would have to pay "police costs, stewarding costs and 140 corporate meals."

The Histon chairman didn't have any respect for the referee's decision to look after the safety of both sets of players so he certainly wasn't going to have any respect for us or our supporters

Swansea City physio Richie Evans

But he insisted the Glass World Stadium pitch was playable and said: "When he (the referee) arrived, he had the assistant manager of Swansea and a number of their staff in his earhole, saying the pitch was not fit.

"Swansea didn't want to play it, there's no question about that."

Championship club Swansea have now retaliated strongly in the run-up to their rearranged game on Tuesday, 13 January.

"I don't know why he has reacted the way he has," said Swans physio Evans, whom the club said was the only Swansea official at the Glass World Stadium throughout the whole of Saturday morning's proceedings.

"Let's make one thing clear, there was no pressure on the referee from anyone from Swansea City. I'm certainly not in a position to put pressure on anyone.

"I'm the physio, I wouldn't even know where to look for the number of the FA, let along ring them.

"The only role I played was an observational role. I stood away from everything and the referee never once asked me for my opinion.

"The referee couldn't get a key into the ground. He went away to have a look at the weather forecast and came back shortly after to try the key again.

"Then he went into a huddle with their chairman, groundsman and safety officer.

"I was 10 yards away when he said he was not happy with the pitch, it was not safe. And I agreed with him.

"Their chairman obviously wasn't happy because he turned to me and said 'you don't want the game played do you?


"I replied 'no, we've enjoyed our five-and-a-half hour bus trip so much that we are all desperate to do it again next week.'

"It's a shame he has felt the need to blame us.

"We had some great experiences dealing with some lovely people at Billericay and Horsham in the FA Cup last season.

"But... the Histon chairman didn't have any respect for the referee's decision to look after the safety of both sets of players so he certainly wasn't going to have any respect for us or our supporters."

Evans told Swansea City's official website: "We had been asking for a pitch inspection on Friday to prevent our fans from travelling but were told there was no problem with the pitch.

"The only people from Histon at the ground when we arrived (at 0900 GMT) were the physio and the groundsman.

"There wasn't any covering over the pitch whatsoever and our first reaction was that the pitch was in no fit state. It was rock solid.

"If they had put some covering on the pitch or brought in some hot air blowers it would have helped get the game on.

"But the reaction we had was that if it was flat then it was playable. But so was the car park.

"The ones who have lost out here are the supporters, which is a crying shame."

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see also
Tudur Jones excited by Cup draw
05 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Histon chief hits out at Swansea
03 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Welsh football suffers big freeze
03 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Britton wary of Cup shock repeat
02 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Histon are favourites - Martinez
01 Dec 08 |  Swansea
Langston relishes Swansea clash
01 Dec 08 |  Histon
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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