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Archives Blog: Ice One City!

March 6th 1963 marked a significant day in Coventry City’s history and for a short time made FA Cup history

No, not winning the Cup on this occasion, they had to wait until 1987 for that: On this day in fact they finally played their Third Round Cup Tie against Lincoln City, after some fifteen postponements – a record at that time (the match was scheduled to be played on 5th January)

Given the prevailing weather conditions, it was -perhaps not surprising that the original fixture could not take place; against newspaper headlines of Blizzard Rages Across an ‘Iceberg’ Britain forty games were postponed on that first date, and although several First Division clubs were able to arrange for matches to be played over the next month or so, Fourth Division Lincoln struggled to get their ground fit for playing.

Beset with injuries as they were, some delay was possibly welcomed by the Lincoln management but they could not have anticipated that it would extend as long as it did, as a local referee visited the ground before each new scheduled date and proclaimed it unsuitable.

To add to the resulting chaos several league matches were inevitably cancelled, and even as late as early February a total of eighteen Football League games were postponed. On the other hand manager Jimmy Hill made a shrewd decision to play Matt Busby’s Manchester United ‘Babes’ in Dublin and apart from gaining much needed match experience, City came close to creating a shock result, Charlton scoring the equaliser in a 2-2 draw in the 91st minute

Eventually, the Lincoln match was played at SIncil Bank Ground and City ran out 5-1 winners (Whitehouse, Bly, Barr and Farmer scoring with assistance from an own goal), to move on to a Fourth round tie with Portsmouth, drawing 1-1 away and 2-2 at home before winning 2-1 in a game played at White Hart Lane.  A further home tie with Sunderland resulting in a 2-1 win saw them through to lose eventually and somewhat ironically to Manchester United in the 6th Round at Highfield Road.

As with most records the number of postponements was later comprehensively replaced, not surprisingly by the Scottish team Airdrie.

(Sources; Coventry Evening Telegraph and Coventry City - A Complete Record 1883 – 1991 Compiled by Rod Dean; both available in Coventry Archives)