You might have noticed that we haven’t had any football for a while, but don’t worry because history tells us that’s a good thing.

After all, the last time there was such a long break from football, Wrexham became the best team in the country!

That’s a bit of a misleading statement, but in these remarkable times, as we wonder just what awaits us all, it’s interesting to see how the Second World War affected the game in general and Wrexham in particular.

Along the way, we might as well look at when Wrexham were better than Liverpool, Manchester United and all those other little clubs!

The 1939-40 season was halted abruptly when the conflict broke out. Wrexham had played three league games at that point – a win, a draw and a loss – and wouldn’t play another league match until August 1946.

Oddly we did have one isolated Welsh Cup tie in December 1939. It was a peculiar affair though: we fielded players from Bolton, Derby and Everton, and seven of the team hadn’t appeared in any of our three league games that season.

We lost 2-1 at home to Wellington Town, the club which changed its name to Telford United in 1969, who fielded two first division players themselves.

While that match might look isolated, the fact was that “Wrexham” were already playing again. Initially, football had been suspended at the outbreak of war, but things swiftly changed.

Hostilities were slow to begin, and in Britain there was no real sense of involvement during this “Phony War” period. There was a desire to try to return to some form of normality, if only to keep the bored masses occupied, a sentiment which certainly resonates today.

As early as October 1939 it was decided that football should hold a wartime league. Fixtures would be regionalised as fuel rationing meant the wanton waste of petrol to go to a football match couldn’t be justified, but that wasn’t the biggest obstacle to a return to action.

The biggest problem was where the players would come from. Many players had enlisted, and were spread across Britain’s army camps. Soon they would be sent abroad, to Europe, Asia and North Africa. There was no way recognisable sides could be fielded, so registration rules were relaxed.

Any player who declared himself available to play could be named in a team’s scratch side that weekend, with his parent club’s permission.

Wrexham had a particular advantage when it came to selecting guest players.

The Hightown Barracks was home to the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and a commando unit was based there during the Second World War as well.

This meant that plenty of footballers passed through during the conflict, and were happy to get the call for a kick-about on Saturday.

The most famous of those players was Stanley Matthews, but his fellow England internationals Johnny Hancocks, Ronnie Dix, Tom Cooper and Jack Haines also turned out in Wrexham’s colours during the war.

Armed with this advantage, Wrexham were to enjoy success in the wartime league.

Naturally there was a bizarre lack of pattern in these games. Our first wartime season saw us beat Liverpool and both Manchester giants at The Racecourse, while the final day of the campaign saw the legendary Tommy Bamford (pictured) return as a guest to score the opener as we won 2-1 at Goodison Park.

The pattern of randomness continued. We beat Tranmere 9-0 but lost 6-0 to them a week later; beat Chester 8-4, then lost 8-0 to Liverpool.

A remarkable incident dominated that match: Liverpool found themselves a man short and asked if there was anyone in the Anfield crowd who could step in. A young marine called Arthur Shepherd stepped forward and scored six goals past Wrexham’s keeper! Two seasons later he was guesting for us.

Seasons were split into two campaigns, and it was in the second northern championship of 1943-4 that everything came together for Wrexham’s side.

Return fixtures could not be guaranteed in the circumstances, so teams arranged as many games as they could against teams in their division and the final table therefore bore a remarkable appearance. There were 56 teams in the division, and the number of games played ranged from 15 to 21!

And standing at the top of that unorthodox table were Wrexham! We’d actually won the same number of points as Bath City, but there was little dissent when we claimed the title because we’d played better opponents. Liverpool were four points behind us, Manchester United’s deficit was seven points, while Manchester City were a further three back. Chester came 27th.

Not that it actually mattered, of course. The league was more important for the morale of the nation than anything else. We’ll emerge into a different world after the COVID-19 pandemic is tamed, as we did in 1945.

There was a massive leap in post-war attendances as fans eagerly returned through the terraces. Nobody knows what we’ll experience, but I think it’s fair to say we won’t be defending Premier League champions when we’re allowed back into The Racecourse!