Bryan Robson, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Middlesbrough, bizarre football games postponed
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7 football games postponed in bizarre circumstances

| 21.12.2021

Some of the strange reasons matches have been called off

Football has been awash with postponements as the Omicron variant of coronavirus continues to cause plenty of disruption.  

However, it is not just the coronavirus that can stop the beautiful game as we take a look at some of the most bizarre reasons football has been postponed.  

Torquay v Portsmouth – The eclipse 

There hadn’t been a total solar eclipse in the UK for 70 years so in the summer of 1999, the nation waited in eager anticipation to catch a glimpse of the historic sight.  

Torquay was one of the best locations to view the eclipse and local police concluded they couldn’t accommodate the thronging crowds heading to the town and a League Cup tie all in the same day and this south-coast clash had to give way to the once-in-a-generation tourist.  

solar eclipse, Torquay, Portsmouth, Bizarre football postponed

Lincoln v Coventry – The big freeze 

The big freeze of 1962-63 caused havoc with the third round FA Cup tie between Coventry and Lincoln that season.  

The snow arrived on Boxing Day 1962 and in many places hung around until early March. Blizzards from the east led to drifting several feet deep. 

The game was postponed a whopping 14 times before finally being played in early March – just two months before the final. 

Coventry made the wait worthwhile by winning 5-1 at Sincil Bank and reached the sixth round before being eliminated by Manchester United.  

Manchester United v Bournemouth – The bomb scare 

Manchester United’s final game of the 2015/16 season was postponed in the most alarming of circumstances when a mobile phone was found strapped to piping.  

A full house of 75,000 were evacuated from Old Trafford and the game, which was live on Sky Sports, was called off with bomb disposal units carrying out a controlled explosion on the unexplained device.  

It turned out to be a dummy bomb used in a security exercise that was accidentally left in a toilet by a private firm and it was the first time in Premier League history a match had been postponed on security grounds. 

bomb disposal, Manchester United, Bournemouth, bizarre football postponed

Blackburn v Middlesbrough – The flu 

In scenes reminiscent to the position many Premier League clubs find themselves in at present, Bryan Robson had plenty of problems on his hands in 1996 when Middlesbrough claimed only seven players, out of the club’s registered 30-man squad, were fit or able to make the trip to Ewood Park.  

Faced with the prospect of fielding the under 18’s, Boro decided not to travel to face Blackburn and the game was postponed.  

Things went from bad to worse for the Teesside club as it turned out they failed to notify Premier League officials they were not going to turn up in Lancashire.  

Robson, Juninho and co were called before a Premier League commission, deducted three points and fined £50,000. 

Middlesbrough finished the season in 19th place, relegated by just two points, with the points deduction handed out for failing to fulfil this fixture ultimately sealing their fate.  

Frome v Chippenham – The cheese clash  

The FA Cup qualifying tie between these two in 2015 was set to see local bragging rights be decided but had to be put on hold when it clashed with the Frome Cheese Show.  

The event was set to attract 20,000 visitors and with cheese more popular than the beautiful game in Somerset, dairy was the only winner.  

Marseille – Madonna and the collapsing stage 

Marseille are no strangers to having their fixtures postponed, normally due to the volatile behaviour of their supporters. 

However, in 2009 it was the popstar Madonna that curtailed one of their fixtures. 

The superstar singer was set to play a gig at the Stade Velodrome only for the stage to collapse beforehand. 

The subsequent police investigation meant the Ligue 1 giants could not play their second game of the season. 

Madonna, Marseille, bizarre football postponed

Estonia v Scotland – Bad light stops play 

While this game was not a postponement, we feel it merits inclusion due to the circumstances.

Scotland’s qualifier against Estonia in 1996 was abandoned after just three seconds thanks to the bizarre scenario of the floodlights in Tallinn not being good enough.  

With FIFA concerned about the quality of the lights, the fixture was moved from a 6.45pm kick-off to a 3pm start time, much to the disgust of the Estonian authorities.  

In protest, the hosts refused to turn up for the game and all the Scottish supporters in attendance had to cheer on was their side take the field to start the match before the referee called a halt to proceedings after just three seconds.  

The fixture was rearranged with Estonia taking a point but that wasn’t enough to stop Scotland, who successfully qualified from the group to make the 1998 World Cup.  

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Adam Morgan