It's been horrendous - Davison

Last updated : 15 January 2010 By Bigrich.....
Speaking to the Advertiser today, Jim said; "This is the worst weather we've had for 29 years. Even my predecessor, Bill Corby, never had anything like this to deal with.

"You've seen what's happened at the top clubs - even they've had games called off. Up until this week we've seen minus temperatures day after day and there's nothing you can do. It's been horrendous."

Like most other people, Jim was hoping it was just a blip when the Dagenham match was frozen off a week before Christmas. The frost was so bad that the protective covers, already covered in snow, had stuck to the pitch and he had to literally rip them from the surface. No damage was done and optimists thought the pitch might be playable for the Boxing Day match against Darlington. "I thought we stood a chance. I was at the stadium at 7 o'clock Boxing Day morning sweeping snow off the pitch," explained Jim.

"I was quite happy with areas of it but we'd had temperatures of minus 3s, 4s and 5s and parts of the pitch were too frozen. The thing is, at Millmoor, you'd have a problem with the 18-yard box in front of the Railway End that was shielded from the sun and that was it. The rest of the pitch used to be fine because it used to get full sun.

"At Don Valley, a section below the main stand is shielded from the winter sun and doesn't get any warmth into it plus there's the area (at the Clock End) that was affected by the U2 concert held there during the summer.

"When the surface temperature is lower than the ambient temperature, that is when you get problems. Until the air temperature exceeds it, you can't get it to defrost.

"The groundsman at Doncaster Rovers has full-pitch covers but they still lost the Leicester game to the weather because it was frozen under the sheets. They only guarantee down to minus 3, 4 and 5 and I think (the manufacturers) are sticking their necks out at minus 5. At Doncaster, they're thinking about doubling their covers to try and get games on. It's a lot of money but Donny are in a better position to do it because they get bigger gates.

"The two Sheffield clubs and Barnsley are graced with undersoil heating but even that comes at a cost. It costs £1,000 a week and there's different settings like on your central heating at home. It's being kept on at a minimum level at the moment just to keep the pitches something like.

"You're talking around £18,000 for full-pitch covers and I'm getting more quotes. The chairman wants tomorrow's technology today. I've got to say that trying to find the first team somewhere to train is the biggest problem," added Jim. "Up to this week, most of the players hadn't seen grass for a month. They've not trained on it. A lot of my work has been at the Keepmoat but there's been a lot done at Don Valley taking the sheets on and off and clearing snow. We've cleared snow from the pitch twice and there was more on again this week.

"What I don't want to happen is for this break to hold the team back or for people to wonder, if we had played the games we should have played, whether would we be equal with Rochdale at the top of the league.

"I don't want it to have an adverse affect on us and I don't think it will. I want to help them rather than hinder the team. I have a decent relationship with Ronnie and I speak to him most days. He wants to see things happen now.

"Hopefully this cold snap has gone. I accept that February can be a bad month but we can't look that far forward with the weather. Let's hope we've got the bad stuff out of the way."

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