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Rewind Extra: Cup fever in the biting cold

Rewind Extra: Cup fever in the biting cold
Rewinding back to January 1985, and just twenty-four hours prior to one of the biggest-ever games in York City's history; although it was being seriously challenged by the arctic conditions sweeping across the country.

York City's glamour FA Cup fourth round tie with Arsenal is "in the balance" after further falls of snow onto an already frosted playing surface.

The Bootham Crescent pitch is presently covered by about four inches of snow, and match referee Don Shaw was carrying out preliminary inspections this afternoon.

Groundstaff have already spread straw onto the worst affected areas of the pitch, including both goalmouths and the centre-circle.

Underneath the ground was said to be "hard in places", with City officials opting to leave the covering layer of snow until the last minute to help prevent any additional frost from tightening its grip.

Another pitch inspection appears certain for the morning, when the club will be urgently calling for volunteers from amongst its fanbase to help clear the playing surface.

As for today, City's youth-training scheme players were busily assisting head groundsman Bryan Foster with the major task of clearing the terraces behind both goals.

The match is an all-ticket sell-out and with a crowd of 12,000 expected. However, York are currently unfancied with the bookies at 7-2, with the London aristocrats instead strong 8-11 favourites.

Even so, City manager Denis Smith reckons his charges, assembled for a modest combined £19,000 (Keith Houchen £15,000, Keith Walwyn £4,000), can genuinely challenge an Arsenal side in which every player has been capped at international level.

"I am not making any rash promises because it would be silly to do so against a team of Arsenal's standard," Smith told The Press. "They are full of good players, but we have some good players as well.

"If we play as well as we can do, then we have a chance. When you get a chance like this, a lot depends on how players react to the big occasion," he admitted.

"First Division players have this challenge all the time and so they are more consistent. They can do it week in and week out, but the smaller clubs can rise to the occasion, as has been seen so many times before in the FA Cup."

The Gunners' starting line-up was likely to include a whole host of full England internationals; with Viv Anderson, Kenny Sansom, Steve Williams, Brian Talbot, Paul Mariner and Tony Woodcock also joined by David O'Leary (Republic of Ireland) and Charlie Nicholas (Scotland).

Rewind Extra - January 1985

Video Link: Eighties Yorkshire

Writer:Vital York City
Date:Thursday September 28 2017
Time: 12:32PM

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