The last time Sport was crippled like this was 1939.

Since the 13th March, all professional football in England has been postponed along with almost all other sporting competitions around the globe due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Not since the Second World War, has global sport been affected in such a manner.

At the start of war, the FA ordered that all football would be suspended on 8th September 1939 apart from matches organised by the armed forces. 

Then just two weeks later on the 21st September, football was allowed to continue as long as it didn’t disrupt national service and industry. 

Regional league competitions were set-up instead of divisions.

Many players signed up to fight in the war and one individual was the late Preston North End and England legend Sir Tom Finney.

Deepdale – The home of Preston North End where Sir Tom Finney spent his career.

Sir Finney turned 20 in 1942 and was very quickly called up to serve in the Army.

He recalls in an interview prior to his death what it was like to serve in the 8th Army team, the team dedicated to entertaining the troops, and yet still able to play football. 

When asked about what it was like playing in Egypt he said: “The pitches were sand; there was no grass. 

“It was (easy to get injured) but it was quite an experience and you learnt a lot about placing the ball and playing on hard surfaces.

“We played teams like King Farouk’s 11; the Egyptian Army team, things like that were quite an occasion for us. I played one and I didn’t know it, but I played against Omar Sharif (Hollywood actor).” 

Due to the fact that a great number of players were urged to sign-up and fight, many clubs were forced to field guest players as Sir Finney remembers: “I found out in my early days for Preston North End there were a lot of guest players. 

“Players that were round about here, kind of thing, where they had camps, and you would just have players. Blackpool had a very good side with players like (Stanley) Matthews playing in virtually an international side because they were stationed there.”

In fact, the number of players that went off to fight was so high, that Crystal Palace fielded 186 different players during the seven wartime seasons.  

Crowds during the War were reduced to 8,000 in evacuation areas and then increased to 15,000. 

Football was particularly encouraged during wartime Britain as way of keeping fit and raising morale. 

Morale has certainly been affected during the Coronavirus pandemic and it is a shame that sport cannot keep everyone’s spirits lifted just as it did between 1939-1945.