Tonight's Carling Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Manchester United has been postponed due to heavy snow. The tie will now take place on January 19, which was originally the date for the second leg. That match will now take place on Wednesday, January 27. "It is a huge disappointment for everyone that we have had to postpone the tie but we have had the kind of harsh weather unseen in this part of the world for years and years," said City chief executive Garry Cook yesterday.
"We pursued every avenue possible in search of a solution and whilst the pitch is still playable, what was paramount in our thinking was the safety of fans travelling to and from the game especially in light of the sub-zero temperature forecast for Wednesday night. "In the end everyone who was part of the discussions was unanimous that it would have been too dangerous to play the game as scheduled."
Last night's other semi-final clash between Blackburn and Aston Villa also fell victim to the British weather. The decision means the Premier League games between United and Hull and City and Stoke, due to be played on January 26 and January 27 respectively, have now also been postponed. City and United would have preferred the game to go ahead as planned tonight. But the teams accepted there was no hope of that happening once Manchester had been hit by such heavy snowfall, which presented a danger to fans travelling to and from the City of Manchester stadium. The clubs, who train close to each other at Carrington, were forced to cancel their sessions yesterday and tell their players not to report for duty.
Indeed, advice for the general public has been to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, with City closing their Eastlands ticket office due to the atrocious conditions. As with Blackburn, the problem at Eastlands is nothing to do with the pitch. The surrounding roads were very difficult to navigate with local motorways at a standstill in certain areas. Under normal circumstances, the games would have been rearranged for next week on the same days.
However, with City's Premier League encounter with Blackburn due to be broadcast on ESPN on Monday evening, that idea has been ruled out. Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger would be "surprised" to see his former charge Patrick Vieira sign for City, but has no doubts his former captain at Arsenal can still perform at a high level in the Premier League. The French midfielder has been linked with a move to City after failing to win a regular starting berth at Inter Milan this season.
"I was surprised it was Manchester City, because there were more talks about other clubs, but it is a good opportunity for him," Wenger said. "I believe he will still be very effective in the Premier League because he has been injury-free for three or four months and that is what he needed." * PA Sport