'Snow gave them a get-out clause' - Angry Derry boss Kenny Shiels in stand-off with Council
ANGRY Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has claimed that the snow which forced the cancellation of his side's first game at the renovated Brandywell gave the local council a "get out clause".
Shiels is unhappy with the limited access to the venue this week, although it did ultimately prove irrelevant when Storm Emma wrote off last night's planned showdown with Dundalk.
The Derry & Strabane District Council had been engaged in a race against time to complete works on the ground having missed their original deadline.
Derry had to play their first three matches of the season away from home because last Friday's date with Sligo Rovers had to be switched to the home of the Connacht club due to the incomplete nature of the Candystripes base.
Shiels had lashed out earlier this week after being told that his players would not be able to train at the ground before the Dundalk game and try out the new artificial pitch. The absence of safety documentation was given as the reason with the authorities waiting for sign off on the project.
With the weather conditions relatively benign in Derry on Thursday, Shiels tried to get in again for a training match but was prevented from doing so. He duly voiced his frustrations to the Derry Journal, claiming that the Dundalk match would have been called off even if the weather was fine.
"I had arranged an 11 v 11 match at Brandywell and was told 15 minutes ago that we can't go on it," he said.
"We had everything arranged. That's every schedule I've arranged in the last four weeks I've had to change and here we are again on what would've been a day before the match.
"The match was never going to be played here. Never! The bad weather has given them (the council) a get-out.
A spokesman for the council contested Shiels' observation. "The stadium and pitch were complete and ready to have hosted the game on Friday night," they told the Journal. "The decision to postpone the match was made by the FAI and is rescheduled to take place on March 19th.
"Training on the pitch will be accommodated as soon as the weather permits and council staff will continue to work closely with Derry City FC to ensure the first home match is a great sporting experience for everyone involved."
Derry's first game at their spruced up base will now be against Bray Wanderers on March 12.