If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then I fear for the footballing authorities in this country.
Their absolute insistence that the FA Vase tie between Tadcaster Albion and Worksop Town should take place at the i2i Stadium has made a laughing stock of the fixture.
The FA cannot expect clubs to do their utmost to uphold the integrity of national competitions, if those at Wembley won’t do the same.
The game was postponed today for the fifth time and has been rescheduled for tomorrow.
Part-time footballers, club officials, match day volunteers and supporters are all on standby for a national competition game that might take place in 24 hours time.
And if it doesn’t? They’ll play it Thursday. Or next Tuesday, failing that.
None of this is Tadcaster’s fault – their pitch was flooded by a river that broke its banks during torrential rain.
But at some stage, enough is enough.
The game was due to be played on Saturday 21st November, and then Tuesday 24th, or Wednesday 25th or Thursday 26th.
Yesterday it was announced that should the pitch fail today’s inspection, then Wednesday, Thursday or next Tuesday were the dates declared suitable by the FA.
Why not simply thank Tadcaster for their fine efforts to get the pitch ready, and move the game to a neutral venue?
Why not, as Tigers boss suggested rather tongue-in-cheek last week, play it at Sandy Lane?
Instead, league fixtures have fallen by the wayside, cancelled to free up dates for this Vase tie to be played – with everyone execpt the FA fully aware that the pitch wouldn’t be ready.
There’s no doubt that the situation will hit both clubs in the pocket, and the gate won’t be as high when it’s eventually played, because you cannot give people such short notice.
Would an FA Cup second round game be treated in this way? Would a Football League club be put on standby to play on any one of three nights in a week?
And yet, in the same competition, in the same round this week Highgate United and Nuneaton Griff were able to move their game to Coleshill United’s ground.
Someone, somewhere in the corridors of power must be desperate for this game to take place at the i2i Stadium.
It’s a bizarre scenario, and it harms both clubs.
If the water does subside a little more and the pitch dries out tonight, they’ll do a pitch inspection tomorrow afternoon and declare the game good to go.
A quick glance at the weather forecast however reveals that it’s due to rain in the LS24 postcode area from 4pm, and the two sides – comprised of the players who could convince their daytime boss to release them at next to no notice – will do battle in a quagmire.
If they don’t play it Wednesday, or Thursday then the second round tie will be played five days before the third round is due to take place – so what happens if they draw? When will the replay be squeezed in?
Will a postponement next Tuesday mean that the second round tie replaces the third round tie on Saturday 12th December?
That of course brings into the equation a midweek trek to Sunderland RCA for the victors of this long-awaited game.
Do the FA have any idea how football works at this level?
Is it all worth it for £1,000 and an away day against tough opposition in the north east?
Asking such questions is a largely pointless exercise though, when the FA are no more likely to issue a full and frank explanation, than the ball is to bounce on the pitch at Ings Lane.