Video of the Day: Leicester City vs Southampton, October 1983

by | Apr 3, 2016

Some will say that they play in just about any conditions, these days, and there can be little doubt that, were the conditions at The King Power Stadium this afternoon anything like they were at Filbert Street on the 21st October 1983, the match between Leicester City and Southampton would not be going ahead. On that day, more than thirty-two years ago, pouring rain lashed down on the East Midlands and players did their best to try and put on some sort of show, but after twenty-one minutes the referee gave up on a saturated pitch and took the players off the pitch. Match abandoned – a rarity in front of the cameras of Match of The Day.

That evening’s programme was due to be featuring two matches so, following the main match between West Ham United and Liverpool, the BBC was left with little option but to show almost the entirety of the highlights of Gary Lineker and company splashing around in the rain anyway. At the time, television cameras were not routinely sent to every match, and mobilising an Outside Broadcast unit was an expensive business that took time to arrange – these units were limited in numbers, and the BBC had commitments to horse racing on Saturday afternoons – so the BBC were stuck with the footage they had.

This match would be the last to be seen on the BBC for the next four weeks. From the following week, Outside Broadcast technicians went on strike over proposed changes to overnight payments. There would be no more Match of The Day for the next four weeks, and the BBC’s first live televised Football League match – between Watford and West Ham United – also fell foul of this industrial action. Commentary for this bit of a match comes from John Motson.

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