There’s No Business Like Snow Business

The other evening, in the interests of research, I was flicking through some old “Roy Of The Rovers” annuals. In one of them, there was a four page photo-spread called “No-Man’s Land”, about the winter of the 1981-82 season, when a blanket of snow fell across Britain. What do I remember most vividly about that winter? Well, quite a few matches were called off. More often than not, the featured match on “Match Of The Day” involved Manchester City, because they were the only club with under-soil heating which actually worked. Quite a few matches, however, were played on pitches covered in snow. They just cleared the grass around the lines, dusted down the luminous orange ball, and made them get on with it. I distinctly remember a match played that winter between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City that was played on a pitch that resembled Captain Scott’s base camp at the Antarctic. Forget about dogs on the pitch – it wouldn’t have been completely out a place if a penguin had waddled into the penalty area at some point in the second half. Simliarly, the concept of the “frozen pitch” is a relatively new one. I have on DVD the highlights of a match between Aston Villa and Liverpool from about 1984, which was one of the first live league matches shown in Britain, and was played on...

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