The first floodlit league match in England took place in 1956 – Portsmouth v Newcastle (the home team lost 2-0, and for a variety of reasons, the game was a miserable experience for almost all concerned).
Back then – and for the seventy years preceding – kick-off on a Saturday afternoon had been at 3p.m. or half an hour either side of 3 (old programmes give kick-offs of 2.30, 3, 3.10, 3.30 etc.).
On the shortest day of the year, the sun goes down at c. 3.50p.m G.M.T. in London. Say, 4.30-5 for the bulk of winter.
Wouldn’t that have made pre-floodlit games dark for much of the second half?
It’s hard to see how a club could reasonably kick off earlier in pre-War days, simply because Saturday morning was work time for most people, and earlier kick-offs simply wouldn’t have attracted a crowd. (By 1920, cinema would have been making significant inroads anyway – why drag yourself straight back out again to see the match when you can catch your breath, have a meal, and then go out in the evening with your wife? Far more respectable…)
I note that Mitchell and Kenyon, filming sport in pre-WW1 days, tended to ignore the second half because in the gathering dusk, the lighting was inadequate for their purposes.
It must have been black as night come the final whistle in pre-floodlighting days. How did they play? It must have had some influence over results, but looking through old match reports I can find no reference to this at all. Fog, on the other hand, generates endless bleating about bad visibility and players unable to see each other. Am I missing something?