The Season that Never Was - 2
Eighty years ago, the shortest ever football season kicked off just a few days before war was declared with Germany. For Town, then in the first division (now called the Premier League), it meant three games against famous names in football, but all records were officially expunged, and so don't count in official records for players playing records, and it was not until 7 years later that the same fixture list was used.
Town's first home game was on Tuesday 29th August.
Before the game, the Osmond Stand was opened. The directors had promised several years earlier to upgrade the supporters facilities, but had said that they would strengthen the team first. This then was the fulfilment of that earlier promise. If you know the Osmond Stand now, you pretty-well know what it was like when it opened, apart from the fact that the front half was standing terracing. It had been designed to have a room underneath, the purpose of which is unknown, and it was never built anyway. It was opened before the game by Alderman L K Osmond, and gave a superb view - uninterrupted for most fans, unlike the stands on the other three sides.
It was perhaps appropriate that the first team to play the Mariners in front of it was Wolverhampton Wanderers, the old adversaries, who Town had played less than 6 months earlier in the FA Cup semi-final. Old adversaries at the time …. And we've had plenty of memorable matches since with the Midlanders!
This time though, there were to be no goals at all, with defences on top, the ball spending a lot of time in the air, and the referee, Mr Dale from Sheffield, keen to impose the new "no-charging" rule, where it was not unknown for players to charge one another, whether or not the ball was near or far!
The result gave Town their first point of the season, against the team largely composed of the players who had knocked five past them at Old Trafford in the semi-final, and included Stan Cullis at centre half. Tom Galley, who would play for Town after the war was also in the Wolves line up.