When was the last time Chesterfield's season was suspended? Spireites historian delves into the archives to find out

It is a surreal time for football fans at the moment as the fixture list grinds to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 8:02 pm

As a result Chesterfield’s National League season has been suspended until at least April 3.

But has anything like this happened before?

We asked Spireites historian, Stuart Basson, to share his expert knowledge and he did not let us down.

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He told us: “Regular Football League competitions were suspended for both world wars of course. But in the wartime cases it was soon realised that football had a positive effect on morale and some form of competition was hastily arranged.”

Just three matches were played in the 1939/40 season before the Second World War was declared. It is the only season discontinued after it had started.

“They offered people all their money back on season tickets and I think one person asked for his money back which was quite noble of all of the supporters,” Stuart said.

Away from the wars the 1962/63 season had to be extended because of the big freeze which gripped the UK for several months - the coldest winter for 200 years with temperatures lower than -20 °C.

The National League season has been suspended until April 3.

“I think we were without a game for two-and-a-half months and that had the effect of knocking the season until the middle of May,” Stuart said.

The closest example of Chesterfield fans self-isolating came in the 1904/05 season.

Stuart explained: “The club used to arrange with the railway companies for a block booking of tickets for one away game each season, for a supporters' excursion.

“Lincoln was a popular destination, and the Imps would normally return the favour for the Saltergate game.

“In February 1905, however, the club couldn't give the tickets away, as Lincoln was in the grip of a typhoid epidemic that eventually killed 131 people.

“But of course they still made the team still go and play.

“Apart from that there has not really been any major widespread disruption that I can think of.”

At the moment nobody really knows how the rest of the season is going to pan out or if it will even be finished.

“I personally favour the idea of resuming it once it is safe to and, if necessary, next season can be shortened and you only play each team once,” Stuart told the DT.

“It will be interesting to see how quickly they get it up and running again after they know more about the disease.”

Socialising is a big part of football and with no fixtures until next month at the earliest there is the potential for people to feel lonely.

“It absolutely will be a big miss for people,” Stuart added. “Even if you go and watch your team get beat 5-0 every week it is still nevertheless a release from what happens in your life the rest of the week and if you can’t get out, as extreme as it sounds, there will be people suffering with depression over it. It is a peculiar situation and it will be of interest for many years to come.”

So with no Chesterfield games to look forward to will Stuart, like many other supporters, be forced to finally get around to doing the DIY jobs we always put off?

He joked: “The garden is going to look tremendous in a few weeks’ time!”