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 game was at Old Trafford, against Manchester United. It was not a happy opening fixture for the Mariners. The team they put out was identical to that for the final game of the previous season with one notable exception. Pat Glover had departed during the close season to Plymouth Argyle, and his place was taken by Fred Howe who had been a regular the previous season anyway. It was an ageing side, whilst United put out a far younger, and fitter one
Old Trafford saw just over 22,000 fans turn up - less than 6 months after the Town-Wolves game had set the ground record there, that still stands to this day.
One "first" for Town was the wearing of numbers, that became obligatory for all league games (the Mariners had first worn numbers for the Old Trafford semi-final). The Football League had suggested that we had red numbers on the black and white stripes. Observers noted that they were almost impossible to differentiate.
Another innovation from the FA was a rule change. Players were no longer allowed to charge their opponents with or without the ball as had been the case previously. Some players took a bit longer than others to put this new rule into practice!
The day was hot and thundery, and the first half was played without much excitement, and no goals. The home fans were remarkably quiet. 11 minutes into the second half though, they came to life as Carey for United dashed down the right-wing, drew Tweedy, but shot so wildly that the ball flew across to the left-wing, where it was returned and Carey ended up with a tap-in. Two more goals followed and then United's Pearson scored a fourth with virtually the last kick of the game.
"Blundell" - the journalist who followed Town for the Evening Telegraph for many years was distinctly unimpressed with the Mariners' first game of the new season, but promised to give them further time before passing judgement on their prospects. In the event, his early impressions were rather pessimistic, but with all the talk of imminent war, we'll forgive him for that.