Bolton fans have called for the reinstatement of Southend groundsman Ken Hare after he was sacked last weekend.
Hare, who had served Southend for 27 years, was held responsible for the frozen pitch that prompted the game’s cancellation and news broke of his dismissal on Monday.
But Bolton fans have shrugged off the disappointment of their fruitless 492-mile round-trip to Essex by starting a petition to get Hare reinstated at Roots Hall.
A petition on Change.org reads: “On Saturday 21st January 2017, the football pitch at Roots hall, home of Southend United FC was deemed unplayable and the match against Bolton Wanderers was postponed leaving hundreds of Bolton fans having to travel back home.
“Head groundsman for Southend United, Ken Hare, has since been sacked after 27 years in the job for what was probably a simple error of judgement.
“We Bolton fans are disgusted with this and want to work together to get him his job back.
“It is always disappointing when a match is postponed but he does not deserve to lose his job which we are all sure he was very good at just for this.
“Stand up for Ken and let’s show what a fantastic fan base we can be.”
Over 1,700 people had signed the petition calling for Hare’s reinstatement by Wednesday afternoon.
The Southend-Bolton match was one of four English Football League games, all in south-east England, called off on Saturday because of the cold weather.
Games at Dagenham and Woking were also postponed in the National League, and nine of 11 fixtures in the National League South were cancelled.
After four nights of temperatures between four and five degrees below freezing, Hare used covers and heaters to thaw the penalty area in front of the South Stand, which gets no sunlight in the morning.
But referee Charles Breakspear decided the surface was unsafe when he inspected it four hours before kick-off.
In a statement issued on the club website, Southend said: “People generally lose their position as a result of not doing their job.
“The necessary decision surrounding Mr Hare was a disappointment and of course not taken lightly.”