People On The Pitch #20: Birmingham City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup Third Round, 06/01/1962

Click here for all in the People On The Pitch series on different pitch invasion scenarios from across football history.

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On 6 March 1886 at the Aston Lower Grounds (the future-Villa Park), West Bromwich Albion, one of the strongest sides in England at the time, took on Small Heath Alliance in the FA Cup semi-final, an appropriately far less prominent team from the same Birmingham Football Association. As expected, WBA comfortably won the game 4-0. But it was not played to its conclusion, as before the end, Small Heath supporters invaded the pitch and assaulted the Albion goalkeeper with snowballs, causing the referee to blow it up early.

Rising in stature and joining the expanding Football League in 1892, Small Heath were renamed Birmingham FC in 1905 in an attempt to adopt a more enterprising approach, which was descried as a “pretentious” self-assumed title according some onlookers, while also disliked by club traditionalists. The club shareholders themselves had rejected the original suggested rename of Birmingham City FC, but this full moniker was eventually assumed and embraced in 1943.

By the start of the 1960s, Birmingham’s only silverwear had come via the 1905 Birmingham Senior Cup, defeating WBA vengefully 7-2 in the final. While runs to FA Cup final were achieved in 1931 and 1956, the Blues were defeated in both; likewise for the 1960 and 1961 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals (at a time when many participants in that competition were city representative sides, the invitation of which for a united-Birmingham selection with City had been rejected by Aston Villa).

The 1961-62 FA Cup ultimately wouldn’t be Birmingham’s to claim either (nor any to date). But before that, as one of 44 First and Second Division clubs added to the tournament for the third round, they were drawn against a mighty Tottenham Hotspur who were currently at the time the first ever reigning League and FA Cup double-champions in the country.

The Match:

Birmingham City FC vs Tottenham Hotspur FC
St. Andrew’s, Birmingham
Attendance: 46,096
FA Cup 1960-61, third round

In a sold-out St. Andrew’s, the first face many of the players see as they jog out onto the field is an Old Dear, wishing them luck and dressed to the nines for the occasion:

A look around at the packed terracing shows the density of the crowd, in a familiar corner here…

…with the other end looking slightly less familiar without an upper-tier:

At one point in the first-half, several men can be seen running along the front of the near stand, for unknown reasons:

The highlight of the half, amidst Spurs picking up a 0-2 lead, is when away defender Maurice Norman clears the ball (narrowly avoiding scoring an own-goal) but ends up entangling his boot in the goal-netting, needing the unsolicited assistance of a small boy from the crowd to escape:

Before the break, Tottenham have time to score a third, delighting their sizable travelling contingent…:

…but quickly after the following restart, the home side manage to pull one back, making it 1-3. In the second-half, again not long after kick-off, a corner is awarded to Birmingam. Many supporters have raised themselves up over the small dip dividing the terrace from the pitch and are mere feet from the corner taker, as they wish him encouragement:

The ball is swung in and a header has it in the back of the net to make it 2-3, with several of those young fans seen moments ago now rushing onto the playing area like a chaotic Pied Piper scene:

Shortly after, around the 50th minute mark, a free-kick results in the now-flustered Spurs goalkeeper letting the football squirm out of his hands:

It takes a moment to be sure, but the ball amazingly ends up in the back of the net for the equaliser and now a larger scale, fully joyous invasion occurs, with one lad so excitedly throwing his cap up in the air with glee that he forgets the laws of physics mean it won’t follow him along:

The invaders, which are becoming a more and more common phenomenon in English football, mob the goal-scorer Stan Lynn, with some of them clearly not quite as youthful as others:

It takes a long pause for all encroachers to finally retreat, with one policeman on the nearside simply placing his hands on his hips in disgruntlement as he waits:

At one point, the home side seem to have scored a 4-3 winner, but it is ruled out for offside. This, of course, doesn’t stop the fourth pitch invasion of the day:

Despite the goal being disallowed, some of the invaders are in no hurry to leave, while others feign confusion at the non-goal, with most eventually sent scurrying by a policeman walking to the edge of the penalty area:

This time, the referee is near the end of his patience, but not quite at the end itself, as he advises club/stadium officials to announce that if another such incident occurs, he would be forced to abandon the game (which in the case of a Birmingham winner, could then jeopardise the actual victory):

But no more goals, invasions or anything else particularly interesting takes place, with a final score of 3-3 forcing the tie to a replay in White Hart Lane.



The replay on 10 January 1962 is won 4-2 by Tottenham, with no notable pitch invasions to speak of. They would go on to lift their second FA Cup in a row that May, and also subsequently the 1962-63 Cup Winners’ Cup. But of course the real legacy from the above match is the crowd disobedience, which, while by no means a new occurrence as we saw in the Background section, was only going to increase in England in the coming years – including seen on a global scale with “some people are on the pitch” at the 1966 World Cup final in Wembley – leading to, alongside various youth and counterculture revolutions, the full-scale birth of hooliganism in the 1970s.


YouTube Links:

Birmingham vs Totteham, 1962


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