Video of the Day: Aston Villa vs Watford (& Others), February 1983
The Fifth Round of the FA Cup starts today, and as of yet there haven’t been many surprises in what has felt like a somewhat underwhelming competition, so far this season. Perhaps today will throw up an interesting result or two. Still, one disappointing season does not a useless competition make, and for our little blast from the past we’re going all the way back to 1983 for a complete edition of London Weekend Television’s The Big Match from the same stage of the competition, with matches between Aston Villa and Watford, Everton and Spurs, and Middlesbrough and Arsenal.
The 1982/83 season was the last during which shirt sponsorship was not allowed for televised matches, so there were probably a few red faces for Watford when they turned up at Villa Park for their match with only their sponsored shirts with them. The judicious application of some black tape across the front of said shirts did the trick, but did it prove to be a distraction from Watford’s players? The team’s performance that would seem to suggest that this may have been the case, but we’ll probably never know for sure. Unless someone asks Luther Bliseett, or something.
This wasn’t the only sartorial oddity of the day, either. Spurs pitched up at Goodison Park with white shirts, navy blue shorts and sky blue socks – having not lost in the FA Cup since 1980 – whilst Arsenal’s trip to Middlesbrough required the visitors to wear their somewhat alarming – certainly by the standards of the time – green and blue change kit, while the Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings had to wear a white goalkeeper’s jersey. Commentary for these three matches comes from Peter Brackley, Martin Tyler and Roger Tames.
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