10 of football's weirdest postponements (ft. Pop Idol, sewers and a solar eclipse)

Sure, Leyton Orient finished their 3pm kick-off at 6:50pm on Saturday – but they got there in the end. Jon Spurling recalls the strange tales of games that didn't get that far for all manner of reasons

1. It’s all about mucking in at Kings Lynn

“We were told to stay at home and close all the windows,” a Kings Lynn player informed the Norfolk press in October 1937, after local officials ordered the postponement of the Linnets’ Eastern Counties League clash with nearby Gorleston the previous month.

The reason? A group of local farmers had been over-zealous with their muck spreading, leaving a noxious stench lingering in the air. “It would have been like playing football in a giant cesspit,” insisted the Kings Lynn manager. Sounds like an idea for late-night Channel 5.

2. A song for Sweden

Irish midfielder Kevin Walker faced a dilemma when his scheduled appearance on Swedish Pop Idol clashed with Sundsvall’s meeting with Assyriska

Keen to juggle both a football and a fledgling singing career, Irish midfielder Kevin Walker faced a dilemma when his scheduled appearance on Swedish Pop Idol clashed with Sundsvall’s Second Division meeting with Assyriska.

Fortunately for crooning Kev, TV4 owned the rights to both the football and the talent show and switched the October 2013 game. “TV can do whatever they damn well please in Sweden,” barked Assyriska’s furious manager. Walker was vindicated, though – he only went and won the competition, and now plays for top-flight side Djurgardens. Fantastisk!

3. Shoreham’s travelling problems

“We’re very nervous and angry about the situation,” tweeted Shoreham FC in August 2013  but there was little they could do when a group of travellers set up home outside their Middle Road ground, causing the postponement of the Sussex County League Division One clash with Lingfield. “All my years playing football and this I’ve never had. Travellers take over the pitch,” tweeted ex-pro Jamie Lawrence.

4. Total eclipse of the game

With Torquay due to host Portsmouth on August 11, 1999 in the League Cup first round, Devon police nudged the match back a week, deciding they didn’t have sufficient man power to cope with the game and the expected influx of visitors to witness the impending solar eclipse.

“A total eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” explained the local police chief. “It hasn’t happened since 1927.”

It was certainly more memorable than the rearranged 0-0 draw.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipses are notoriously rowdy affairs for local constabularies