WEYMOUTH Director of Football says he is not quite sure what Needham Market expect the club to do, after the Terras came under fire from the Marketmen’s manager Richard Wilkins.
The Needham manager, speaking in the East Anglian Daily Times, accused Weymouth of not offering them another Saturday date and said that they could have been more obliging.
The controversy comes as Needham Market withdrew from their scheduled rearranged FA Trophy first round match which had been scheduled for tomorrow, after it was postponed on Saturday.
Maitland said: “The bottom line is we are not quite sure what they expect us to do.
“There are rules in place, set up by the FA that apply to everybody, the decision was left with the FA and they said that the game would be played on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure how Needham feel that we can do any more than abide by the FA rules. At the end of the day it is their competition and they run it how they see fit.”
Maitland emphasised that the ground staff had attempted to get it playable, but ultimately the referee decided shortly before two o’clock that the game would not be able to proceed.
Maitland said: “We cannot legislate for the weather, we had people working on the pitch relentlessly all morning on Saturday to get it in the best possible state to try and play.
“The bone of contention seems to be that they had to travel Friday to get here, again that is not our fault. We did not have a say in the draw, we did not pick the dates that the fixture was due to play on.”
The travel is one that Weymouth are familiar with, with the Marketmen being based in the same part of the country as King’s Lynn, who Weymouth lost 3-0 to in their play-off semi-final last season.
Maitland said: “I would also point out that going into the last day of the (last) season we did not know where we going to go for a play-off semi-final on the Wednesday. We had to make arrangements to travel to Kings Lynn on the day of the play-off semi-final.
“It is all about preparation, I am not going to criticise Needham for the choices that they made, they made good choices but we cannot be held accountable for those choices.”
Speaking in the East Anglian Daily Times, Needham boss Wilkins had said: “If the situation was the other way around, and that happened to Weymouth, I am 100% sure that we (Needham) would have offered them another Saturday date.”
When this quote was put to him by Echosport and when asked if it was even possible to offer a Saturday date, Maitland responded: “There is no choice, I think the final date by the actual rules that it would have to be played is by Thursday night. Neither club would want to play on Thursday given that we both have games on Saturday.
“It makes no difference whether we offered or not to play on Saturday, the rules are the rules.”