FA Cup history: Leicester City vs Burton Albion

This weekend, Leicester City play Burton Albion at home in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.  Saturday's match is not the first time the two sides have been drawn against each other at this stage of the competition.  They met exactly 28 years ago, in a game which was nominally a home tie for Burton, but which - for financial reasons - ended up being played at Derby's Baseball Ground.


All that remains of the Baseball Ground. Leicester and Burton fans were not responsible for its demolition.

Unfortunately, this relocation proved to be a recipe for disaster, as there was almost constant crowd trouble.  This came to a head when Paul Evans, the Burton goalkeeper, was knocked out by an object thrown by a hooligan.  The score was 1-1 at that point, and though Leicester went on to win 6-1, the FA later ordered the game to be replayed behind closed doors*.

I remember this happening, but was too young to recall the details, so I started trying to find out more.  It soon became clear that lots of online sources don't quite know what happened either.

The BBC preview of tomorrow's game says that its 1985 counterpart was replayed due to "a coin-throwing incident," whilst Wikipedia reports that Evans "had been struck by a bottle."  Leicester City fanzine The Fox describes the object simply as a 'missile' (although the newspaper cuttings accompanying the article indicate that it was wooden seats that were being thrown).

The Burton Albion club website, however, says that "a piece of wood struck Brewers keeper Paul Evans on the head," and this is supported, perhaps most reliably, by Evans himself.  In an interview with the Derby Telegraph, Evans recalls that he was "knocked cold by a chunk of wood."

Nearly three decades on, we might like to convince ourselves that this was the product of a different time, of dreadful incidents in poorly maintained football stadia.  However, the Burton manager back then was Neil Warnock, and just a couple of months ago, his current team were involved in a similar event, when a thug ran onto the pitch and attacked the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, Chris Kirkland.  Ironically perhaps, Kirkland is from Leicester.

We should not rest on our laurels then, but hopefully this year's clash will not be literal, and Leicester vs Burton 2013 will be remembered solely for events on the field.  Although as Foxes fan I would prefer it if the Brewers did not repeat their League Cup heroics.



*At the replay 'justice was done', claims this post on Friends Reunited, as Leicester won the match 1-0 at a ghostly Highfield Road**.


**Rather curiously, both Highfield Road and the Baseball Ground have since been demolished, as have the then home grounds of both teams (Leicester's Filbert Street, and Burton's Eton Park).
This is surely a pub quiz question in the making.

0