Everyone’s a loser after power failure

A steward announces to the crowd the match has been abandoned.
A steward announces to the crowd the match has been abandoned.
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An electric fault saw a game at Fir Park called off for the second time in a year, but on this occasion Motherwell were entirely blameless.

Floodlight failure back in December saw ’Well’s clash with Hibernian abandoned at half time, but Saturday’s visit of Dundee United never even got going.

With the warm up completed, a tannoy announcement told fans there would be a 10-minute delay ‘due to matters beyond our control’ and then the lights went out.

Ten minutes ticked by and Dundee United’s players returned to the pitch to continue their warm up, but other than Darren Randolph hanging around the mouth of the tunnel there was no sign of the hosts.

Smoke belching next to the Davie Cooper Stand did little to suppress the feeling it was a replay of December, but it turned out to just be fumes from the emergency generator kicking in.

Eventually a steward with a loudhailer announced the game had been called off without a ball being kicked and fans could collect vouchers at turnstiles for the re-arranged fixture.

Scottish Power said it was a wider fault affecting the local area and estimated electricity would be restored around 6pm.

However, it took only around an hour for the supply to be restored, but by then it was too late.

Motherwell chief executive Leeann Dempster insisted that, despite the pitch being bathed in bright sunshine, the match couldn’t go ahead with no power in the stadium.

She said: “I was in the boardroom when the lights went off for about 10 seconds and the emergency generator kicked in, which is exactly what is meant to happen.

“Our on site electrician went to the main power source and could see there was no power coming into the grid which meant it was an external problem.

“We called Scottish Power who informed us there was a major outage in Lanarkshire and estimated they would get some power back around 6pm.

“At that stage it was a fairly easy decision because the generators are supposed to run only our emergency lighting and you can’t put on a football match with no power in the hospitality areas, the toilets, etc.

“It took five or 10 minutes to get all our ‘match abandoned’ tickets in place so fans have proof of entry to get into the next game or get their money back.

“Some people will think we don’t know how to run a game because it’s happened twice, but this time it was totally outside our control.”

Ms Dempster estimated the club would lose up to £40,000 from the match being postponed.

She added: “These acts of God we have to take on the chin.

“I believe Wishaw General Hospital lost power too, so the fact we couldn’t put on a football match is irrelevant really.

“We will probably lose £35-40,000, but money isn’t at the forefront of my mind. The main issue was ensuring everyone left the ground safely and once we find out exactly what happened we will see if we have any recourse.

“We’ll try to get the fixture rearranged for when we can get the most people here as a midweek isn’t always the best.

“We now head into an international break and the players were wanting a game before it, so the timing was less than ideal.”