Thursday, January 5, 2012

5 January 1963 - The FA Cup Gets Put On Ice

On 5 January 1963, the longest round in FA Cup history kicked off, as severe winter weather forced postponements that stretched out into the middle of March.

Britain's coldest winter since 1740 delivered a combination of snow and ice, sending the country into what commentators called "the Big Freeze." Consequently, all of the FA Cup matches scheduled for that Saturday were postponed except for three--two in the North West (Sunderland's 1-4 win at Preston North End and Tranmere Rovers' 2-2 draw with Chelsea) and one in the South West (West Brom's 1-5 win at Plymouth).

Some matches were played a few days later while others suffered repeated postponements. Birmingham City's contest against Bury included a replay, one match that had to be abandoned, and a total of 14 postponements before Bury claimed a 2-0 victory on 7 March. In all, there were 261 postponements over the course of three weeks.

The round finally ended on 11 March when Middlesbrough beat Blackburn in a replay.

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