TODAY marks three weeks since the country was placed under lockdown by Boris Johnson.

It is 37 days since City last kicked a ball in anger in their 2-0 defeat at Salford.

The EFL have raised the possibility of a return to training in mid-May, with a possible resumption at the start of the following month.

But for now, it is all guesswork until the figures prove the coronavirus pandemic has done its worst.

Football, just like pretty much every other aspect of life, remains in limbo.

While clubs and administrators wrestle with the growing financial pressures of paying for a game that is not playing, the rest of us pine to watch a game.

For City fans of a certain age, the present shutdown will bring back memories of the winter of 1963, when the country’s coldest snap in over 200 years forced the sport into hibernation.

City did not play their first game of the “new” year until March, as England was buried by snow.

From drawing 1-1 at Barrow three days before Christmas, it would be March 9 before they returned to league action, with a 3-0 defeat against Crewe. Ironically, the Railwaymen should have provided the opposition at Valley Parade this afternoon.

The big freeze of 57 years ago remains the best-known example of the season suddenly grinding to a halt.

But 12 months earlier, football had been stopped in Bradford for a very different reason – and one that will resonate with the current situation.

A young girl who flew into the country the week before Christmas in 1961 would pass away within a fortnight, after being diagnosed with smallpox.

Fears of an outbreak would see the city effectively sealed off, particularly St Luke’s Hospital, into the new year.

Around 285,000 people were vaccinated and six, including the original carrier, would die.

The national press proclaimed Bradford as a “City in fear” but the Telegraph & Argus reported that the local position was one of a “refusal to panic”.

Sport was prevented from being played locally. City’s home games against Oldham and Wrexham were called off, as were matches at Bradford (Park Avenue) and Odsal.

There was a West Riding Cup tie between the two Bradford clubs at Avenue on January 27 – when a crowd of 10,358 for the 2-2 draw suggested just how much the fans had missed football.

City only played three times officially that month – all away, including a 3-0 FA Cup defeat against Arsenal at Highbury.

Bradford was not declared safe until the all-clear was announced in mid-February.

Bob Brocklebank’s team were able to return to Valley Parade on February 10 with a 3-2 win over Darlington.

Doctor Derrick Tovey’s words in a medical journal from the time will strike a chord with the efforts being undertaken right now by NHS staff.

“My overwhelming memories of this outbreak were the diligence, enthusiasm and above all, the sheer professionalism of the public health doctors, clinicians, nurses and administrators who successfully prevented a potentially calamitous smallpox outbreak,” he said.

“This ‘success’ was due primarily to the fact that a small group of regional and local doctors, nurses and administrators had the authority and drive to introduce immediate measures to tackle the outbreak, to set in motion exhaustive tracing of contacts, and to initiate ring local mass vaccination.”

Football’s determination to see this disrupted season through to a proper end, however long that will take, means that teams will be playing in the summer.

Again, a delve into the history books shows that City have played a league fixture in June before.

The first season back after World War Two had to be extended because of the wintry weather, and government policy, in early 1947.

City, under the charge of the club’s first player-manager Jack Milburn, would play only once between February 1 and March 22.

With the economic problems from rebuilding after the war, the government banned midweek games at that time.

City were happy with that decision because their home crowds were bigger on a Saturday.

That season would finish with three games at Valley Parade, on May 24 and 31 and finally, a 3-0 win over Lincoln on June 14.

That remains the latest City have ever finished a league campaign – until now.

My thanks to City fan John Dewhirst for his research and documentary help with this article.