Match of the Past: In The Deep Midwinter, 19/01/1985

by | May 20, 2020

It’s just another Saturday in January 1985, but with this being the past, the country is covered in a layer of snow and it’s been an effort to get some matches on. Match Of The Day is focused on a First Division match between Chelsea and Arsenal, the only match in London that day. Ken Bates, wearing what appears to be an entire brown bear, is present and correct, and Chelsea are described as having made a “superhuman effort” to get the match on.

It’s taken its toll on the pitch, for sure. You’d call it a cabbage patch, but at least cabbages grow on cabbage patches. Nothing could grow on the Stamford Bridge pitch of the mid-1980s. It’s a patch of bare mud, scattered with sand and rolled flat until a group of young men wearing boots with studs in the soles run out onto the pitch. Stamford The Lion should watch his footing. Hopefully his over-sized pale blue boots have got the correct stud in them on this difficult playing surface. After the match, Jimmy discusses the afternoon’s goings-on with… Brendan Foster, for some reason.

Conditions are similar at Highfield Road for the second match, between Coventry City and Aston Villa. Undersoil heating still has an element of novelty about it in 1985, so Jimmy Hill takes a moment to eulogise about it (it was almost certainly his idea to install at Highfield Road) before it’s off to the Second Division for the match between Manchester City and Wimbledon. Spoiler alert: Manchester City end the season by getting promoted, while Wimbledon finish it in mid-table. Highlights complete, Jimmy passes matters over to his number two for the evening, Tony Gubba, to finish off with a round-up of events elsewhere, the pools news, and the goals from a “relegation” battle in the Scottish Premier League that day between Hibernian and Dunbarton.