Derby v Cardiff: How 'Snowgate' unfolded amid a flurried war of words
Last Updated: 24/04/18 6:31pm
The postponement of the fixture between Derby and Cardiff last month led to a rather feisty war of words between the two clubs.
Poor weather conditions led to the game being rearranged for this Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports Football, but left Cardiff, and Neil Warnock in particular, incredibly unhappy.
Here, we take a look at how the events of 'Snowgate' unfolded...
The game was called off by Derby shortly after 8am, around four hours before kick-off at Pride Park. Derby's initial statement read: "Following persistent heavy snowfall in Derby overnight, the surrounding areas at Pride Park Stadium have been left in an unsafe condition for supporters, staff and officials."
Warnock and his squad were already on their way up to Derby. Naturally, the Cardiff boss felt there were more sinister forces behind the decision to call off the game. He theorised that the Rams' injury problems at the time were a considerable factor in the postponement.
"It's a disgrace quite frankly," Warnock told Sky Sports News. "I am sorry, I can't accept that today - it's not safe? We have come out from the middle of the countryside in the coach and the roads have been perfectly all right, so I just don't know where they are coming from with this. It leaves a sour taste for all the people that have travelled.
"I am very disappointed obviously. I am not overly surprised if I am honest after I heard Gary [Rowett's] remarks earlier in the week [about their 'injury crisis']. You look at the game two weeks ago against Fulham here, it was 10 times worse. There were snow ploughs outside.
"As you see here the car parks are clear, all the shops are open. We have got some of our fans outside that have travelled some distance. We have got some Derby fans outside that have come from miles away and you see all the comments."
A twist the next day
Derby County were adamant they followed the correct procedures and that they had all the necessary approvals from the authorities and emergency services when they postponed the match.
Sky Sports News also understood that Derby were furious with Warnock's comments and they rejected any suggestion that the postponement was made for any reason other than the safety of supporters.
But then the EFL weighed in, asking Derby and Cardiff for their observations regarding the postponement. Derby had said that the decision was made "first thing this morning following discussions between Derby County, Derbyshire Police and the local Safety Advisory Group"... but Derbyshire Constabulary then came out and said they were not involved in the club's decision.
Derbyshire police tweeted: "For clarity, Derby County Football Club took the decision to postpone the match due to the weather conditions and the health and safety of people travelling to the ground. The club made this decision independently. It was not made by Derbyshire Constabulary."
Derby hit back
In response to the police statement, Derby issued a further release insisting they followed the correct procedures.
"We fully complied with all the matchday operational regulations surrounding the postponement of the game," the club said. "The decision was fully supported by the independent Safety Advisory Group, who are responsible for ensuring that the club complies with the terms and conditions of our Safety Certificate."
A couple of days later it was time for Gary Rowett to weigh in. The Derby boss insisted it was the right decision to postpone the game, throwing in a small dig at Cardiff at the same time.
"Everyone has the right to voice an opinion and say what they feel," said Rowett. "We felt from our point of view, the club and all the safety people have to take a decision. Without going into the importance of safety for fans, the reality was the decision was not just by the club and me. I like to think I have a say in the club, but calling games off isn't something I get involved in!
"They (Cardiff) tried to make it public, we kept a dignified silence. I'm really pleased the EFL spoke about the club and the reality that the decision was the right one to make."
'Derby should reimburse Cardiff fans'
Later in the week, Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo then called on Derby to reimburse his club's 2,700 travelling fans.
"We remain far from happy about what happened [on the morning of the game] and many questions still need answering," Choo told Sky Sports News. "We have left the matter in the hands of the EFL but the very least Derby can do is to reimburse 2,700 of our fans for their tickets and their travel.
"The weather was far worse in Wales than in Derby, yet thousands of our fans were on their way. Derby have to do the right and proper thing and agree to compensate our fans."
Cardiff's owner Vincent Tan would later reimburse the travelling fans himself.
Warnock continued to make digs after his side beat Nottingham Forest on Saturday, sarcastically suggesting weather conditions could cause Tuesday's match to be rearranged, but Rowett is unfazed by Warnock's tactics.
"Neil Warnock's created a bit of needle, hasn't he? I don't think anyone else has tried to stoke it up, but that's fine I've got no problem with that, that's his management style," said Rowett. "He's always been quite abrasive in that sense, but I still really like him, think he's still a good guy, he's still done a fantastic job - it's all a bit panto at times, isn't it? Because that's the way it all is.
"My only concern is that I have come in and it is really, really cold outside, I am worrying that the weather might take a turn for the worse this evening. I have shorts on, but I was absolutely freezing walking to the press conference this morning. Let's hope it's okay."
One way or another, this twisting saga will come to an end at Pride Park on Tuesday night in a game that has massive implications in the Sky Bet Championship promotion race.
Don't miss the Sky Bet Championship clash between Derby and Cardiff on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 7.30pm