Lowestoft Town left to count the cost of Norwich City wash out
- Credit: James Bass
Lowestoft Town chairman Gary Keyzor was left to count the cost of a wash out against Norwich City at Crown Meadow.
Keyzor estimated the Canaries' high profile pre-season visit could have been worth £25,000 to the Ryman Premier Division club, with a bumper crowd looking forward to watching Alex Neil's first team squad.
Torrential downpours left the Crown Meadow surface unplayable on a night which was also meant to celebrate Blues' legend Micky Chapman's long service to the Trawlerboys.
'This game has been the priority in my life for the last eight weeks,' said Keyzor. 'The grass has been screaming out for water for probably the last two weeks and we finally get it and obviously the timing was absolutely dreadful. We had maybe a 1,000 to 1,500 already in the stadium at that point and it was just a sea of devastated faces. I feel for Micky Chapman, it was his night.
'I feel for everybody who has prepared for this game but at the end of the day we simply cannot control the weather. It was a testimonial for Chappo, it was a pre-season game for us and Norwich. You need games at this time of year and we appreciate the support of Norwich but sadly it wasn't to be.'
Disappointed supporters formed a queue for refunds as the rain abated after the game was officially called off, following a pitch inspection involving City chief Neil, his Blues' counterparts and the referee.
'I was in the clubhouse watching the weather forecast and you could see our lads working as hard as they could with pitchforks and towels to get the rain off the pitch,' said Keyzor. 'When the referee turned up and I could see straight away the ball wasn't rolling, it wasn't bouncing, I thought, 'Is this going to happen?' I was texting my family to tell them there was no rush to get to the ground and then we got the dreaded phone call from one of the boys out on the pitch to say Norwich City had called the game off. They were not happy and that is fair enough from a players' point of view. I made my way up to the far end of the pitch and had a chat with Alex Neil and our boys and I am just devastated.
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'I was saying all week we would get a downpour so I have probably jinxed this. I have literally cursed it myself. There were two patches on the pitch itself which were causing the problems. Most of the other areas were okay.'
Keyzor admitted Norwich's summer visit had captured the imagination of supporters and sponsors.
'We sold a lot of tickets, Chappo had done a lot of work, we had sponsors here in the lounge, we had excelled with the catering so we'll sit down now and reflect on it and come back fighting with a solution,' he said. 'My mind will think about the issue of refunds and what we have probably lost when it sinks in properly. It isn't just the ticket sales, we have the extra catering, there is the cost of printing the tickets and Norwich's travelling costs as well. If you had 2,000 or 3,000 fans in here at kick-off that is something in the region of £25,000. Obviously we have to refund that. Once you weigh it all up them it is going to be a negative bottom line figure.
'Those who bought tickets and paid cash on the day were being refunded immediately. Those who bought them in advance from the football ground or Graphic Solutions we will refund them over the next few days, if they take their tickets in.
'The 250 who paid online as quick as we possibly can we will refund them as well. We had five different sponsors enjoying hospitality and hopefully they still had a good evening here. I know a lot of fans stayed to have a beer.'
• A Norwich City XI did play last night at non league Dulwich Hamlet, drawing 0-0.