The Weird, the Bad and the Outright Stupid: 7 Times Football Matches Have Been Postponed For Utterly
With Coronavirus putting an indefinite stop to the game we love - grassroots and professional - and without an end in sight, we took a look back at seven weird and wonderful times football has been postponed.
7) Lights out for Torquay
Britain hadn’t had a total solar eclipse for over 70 years and come the summer of 1999 the nation was gearing up to witness one of the universe’s most impressive sights.
Experts had claimed the best views of the first total solar eclipse in Britain since 1927 could be found at southernmost tip of the country, with the seaside town of Torquay one of the go to destinations for science lovers and hopeful day-trippers looking to catch a glimpse.
Despite having known exactly when the eclipse was going to take place for hundreds of years, nobody thought it would have been a good idea to tell the Devon police force, and due to fears of being understaffed they were forced to postpone the first round League Cup tie between Torquay and Portsmouth scheduled for that same night. You can rearrange a football match, but you can’t rearrange a solar eclipse!
6) The ‘Big Freeze’
Before the likes of Trump could even claim global warming was a ‘myth’, the UK used to have some devastating winters, none more so than the ‘Big Freeze’ of 1963.
Much like the current Covid-crisis we're living through, a three month ordeal of snow, ice and destructive weather patterns brought the 1962/63 football season to a complete standstill. Matches were postponed, rearranged and then postponed again, with one match bringing all the unwanted headlines as it was suspended 16 times.
That’s right, the FA Cup third-round tie between Lincoln and Coventry was cancelled a whopping 16 times, eventually taking place in early March, just two months before the final itself was scheduled to be played.
5) “16 times? Jimmy hold my Buckfast”
When it comes to footballing matters, there aren’t many times that Scotland are victorious over the English, but the record for the ‘most times a football match has been postponed’ is one of them.
Sticking in the winter of 1962/63, the Scottish were hit with the biggest freeze of them all, with temperatures dropping below -19 degrees centigrade in some parts. Inevitably the football fixture list felt the full brunt of the cold conditions, with one Scottish Cup tie between Inverness Thistle and Falkirk cancelled an incredible 29 times – a record at the time – only to be broken weeks later as Airdrie vs Stranraer was postponed 33 times.
4) “There’s a WHAT in the car park?”
Many away fans turn up at a ground wanting to see their team get a win, and also hoping to sample a bit of the local culture, i.e. the pubs and bars. But when Oldham supporters set out on the hour long trip through the Peak District for their 1985 Division 2 match against Sheffield United, the last thing they expected to see was a dangerous World War Two artefact just meters away from the ground.