English League One club Southend United fired their head groundsman after 27 years in the job after Saturday’s crunch league match against Bolton Wanderers was called off due to a frozen pitch.
Ken Hare was given a red card by club officials after freezing temperatures overnight lead to the game at Roots Hall being called off four hours before the scheduled 3pm kick off.
Four nights of below-freezing temperatures had left the pitch frozen solid, and Hare used covers and heaters to thaw a part of the pitch that gets no sunlight in the morning, but referee Charles Breakspear called the game off after deciding the surface was unsafe, which lead to Hare getting the boot.
❌ We apologise for the inconvenience caused today! It was the referee's decision with the players safety paramount ?⚽ pic.twitter.com/gwNABnuMh0
— Southend United (@SUFCRootsHall) January 21, 2017
Saturday’s postponement was the first at Roots Hall since January 2013. Several other games in the region were also called off due to the freezing weather.
After news of the sacking broke, the club defended the decision in a statement.
“People generally lose their position as a result of not doing their job,” the club said.
“The necessary decision surrounding Mr Hare was a disappointment and of course not taken lightly.”
“Very few people have been dismissed at this football club over the past 20 years and that even extends to managers.”
The decision did not go too down too well with some fans.
Nile Ranger can commit fraud and and keep his job yet a groundsman loses his job because of a frozen pitch. Southend really are scum
— Ben Halliday (@benhallidayCUFC) January 23, 2017
— LateTackleMagazine (@LateTackle) January 23, 2017
With one Bolton fan even starting a petition to get Hare reinstated.
— Peter Miles (@PeterRMiles) January 23, 2017