A look back at when Blackpool were leading the old First Division when English football was abandoned for the outbreak of the Second World War

Fans of runaway leaders Liverpool are currently concerned about the prospect of the Premier League season being declared null and void.

By Matt Scrafton
Saturday, 14th March 2020, 4:36 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th March 2020, 4:44 pm

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But this isn’t the first time a domestic football season has been forced to have been suspended.

The 1939/40 campaign was halted just three games in before the outbreak of the Second World War.

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Jock Dodds was Blackpool's top scorer during the 1939/40 season

Believe it or not, Blackpool were the side leading the old First Division with a 100 per cent record at the time.

All divisions in the English football pyramid played their final fixtures of the season on Saturday, September 2, the day after Germany invaded Poland.

These were to be the last fixtures before the abandonment of games after Britain declared war on Germany on Sunday, September 3.

Large gatherings of crowds were suspended with the implementation of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939.

The Seasiders led the way in the First Division table with six points, at a time when it remained two points for a win.

Blackpool beat Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at Bloomfield Road and overcame Huddersfield Town 1-0 away from home in their opening three games.

Pool were ahead of Sheffield United in second, Arsenal in third, Liverpool in fourth and reiging champions Everton in fifth.

Their Lancashire rivals Preston North End sat 19th in the 22-side table.

After the First Division was abandoned, Blackpool did go on to compete in the North-West Regional League, finishing third.

Jock Dodds was the club’s top scorer for the second consecutive season with 38 goals in all competitions.

These do not count in official statistics, however.

Dodds moved to Blackpool from Sheffield United in March 1939 for a fee of £10,000, citing family reasons for his request to leave the Yorkshire club.

At the time it was the second highest transfer fee, to the record fee of £14,000 paid to Wolverhampton Wanderers by Arsenal for Bryn Jones.

Dodds agreed terms of £6 a week plus a £2 bonus for every first-team appearance.

On his move to Blackpool, Dodds said: “It was a lovely sunny day and after the sooty streets of Sheffield I remember thinking it was like coming to paradise.”

He made his Blackpool debut on March 11, 1939, in a defeat at Charlton Athletic, scoring Pool’s only goal.

He went on to score four in a home win over Middlesbrough and quickly became a favourite.

The Second World War intervened, and the Football League programme was abandoned.

Dodds joined the Royal Air Force, and was stationed in Blackpool as a PT instructor.

The Scot continued to play for Blackpool, with most of his goals in the war years coming in regional competitions.

Dodds, who passed away in 2007, was inducted into Blackpool’s Hall of Fame in 2006 when it was opened by the late, great Jimmy Armfield.