The famous grass shortage of April 1977 bit especially hard at the Baseball Ground, with Derby County’s notoriously lumpy pitch playing host to unprecedented scenes as a direct result.
Derby were in the midst of thrashing Man City in the First Division when they managed to win themselves a penalty kick. What followed was what’s commonly referred to in the trade as “an absolute bloody palaver”.
Already 3-0 up at the time, it was Rams midfielder Gerry Daly who took responsibility for dispatching the spot-kick. The only hitch being that the spot itself had completely disappeared amid the churned furrows of mud that was passing for an 18-yard box.
After City goalkeeper Joe Corrigan received a yellow card for cheekily attempting to help pace out 12 yards, on trundled the saviour of the hour – Derby groundsman Bob Smith, armed with a tape measure and a bucket of white paint…
As can be seen in the video above, Daly buried the penalty – the fourth and final goal in a 4-0 rout for Derby.
We’ll never turn our noses up at artificial turf again.