The FA Cup with Budweiser
Fourth Round Proper
Weekend of Saturday 26 January 2013
Winning clubs will receive £90,000 from The FA prize fund
Click here for all the Fourth Round Proper ties
by David Barber
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the notorious ‘Big Freeze’ of 1963, when hundreds of football matches were postponed and all aspects of the country’s life were affected.
It was like living in Siberia, and with the temperature stuck below zero, the snow and ice simply wouldn’t shift.
The designated date for The FA Cup’s Fourth Round was 26 January but only one tie was played on that day – Burnley v Liverpool (1-1). That was hardly surprising, because the ‘Freeze’ had started just before Christmas and the Third Round ended up taking 66 days to complete.
Two more Fourth Round matches had taken place by the end of January, Swindon Town v Everton (1-5) on the 29th and Leicester City v Ipswich Town (3-1) on the 30th , but most of them weren’t played until March!
Middlesbrough met Leeds United (0-2) on 16 March but the protracted tie between Portsmouth and Coventry City took even longer to resolve.
It was 1-1 at Fratton Park on the 13th , 2-2 after extra time at Highfield Road on the 16th and 2-1 to Coventry at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane on the 19th. That was a little matter of 52 days after the original date for Round Four.
The ‘Big Freeze’ was exceptional, freakish. Many clubs now have the equipment, the manpower and the know-how to ensure that matches are played. We have undersoil heating too, of course.