Cup days to remember at Derby

We have to go back some time to the first meeting and it is one the Burnley fans of the time would have enjoyed as the 3-2 victory in the 2nd round was during the cup run that saw us win the competition for the first and only time in 1914.

It came courtesy of a superb hat trick from Teddy Hodgson in front of a Turf Moor crowd of over 30,000 as cup fever hit Turf Moor and Hodgson went on to win a cup winners medal as the Clarets beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Crystal Palace Final.

Hodgson was just 18 and a massive future was predicted for the inside forward who went on to score 53 goals in just 120 appearances for Burnley. Sadly his life was cut short when he was taken ill with kidney trouble in Germany whilst serving with the Army of Occupation and he died at the age of 23 in August 1919.

The second cup meeting, and the only one between the two World Wars is one best forgotten. Burnley were a struggling second division club in the 1931/32 season had no answer to their first division opponents despite us having home advantage. Derby won the 3rd round tie 4-0. They beat Blackburn in the next round before going out to Manchester City.

It was a home tie again the next time we met in the 1968/69 season. We, by this time, had become an average top flight club whilst Derby were heading for promotion under a young manager by the name of Brian Clough.

Clough was making a name for himself with his outspoken views on the game and they were considered to be a good footballing side. In truth, on a mud bath of a pitch, they made no attempt to play any football and instead just kicked us off the park.

It didn't serve them well, and apart from finishing the game with ten men with John Robson sent off, we beat them 3-1 with two goals from Frank Casper and one from Colin Blant. We went out in the next round at Liverpool whilst Derby did go on to win promotion and we met on the opening day of the following season.

Chris Pearce - his mistake prompted the amazing support in the 1992 defeat
That leaves two other cup meetings, and two that will be talked about for a long time by Burnley fans even though we were beaten in the first of them in 1992. Again we'd been drawn at home but we were now a 4th Division club whilst Derby were two divisions higher, and we were clear underdogs.

The game was a superb advertisement for FA Cup football and it was a game we could so easily have won. We earned ourselves a replay after a fantastic performance with two stunning goals from Steve Harper and a Roger Eli header that was so powerful Peter Shilton didn't even have time to react.

Derby had looked dangerous though and their left winger, a Scot by the name of Ted McMinn, had given Ian Measham the run around, although Burnley's centre half Steve Davis labelled him a cheat in an after match interview.

We didn't know at the time but that draw, and the weather in the subsequent replay, set up one of those memorable days that Burnley fans there will never ever forget. The replay was played ten days later and we were 2-0 down when the fog started to descend. Eventually the players had to be taken off but with no likelihood of an improvement it was eventually abandoned.

That took us to 4th round day for the second attempt with the Burnley fans packed in at one end of the ground. We didn't play well, fell 1-0 behind from a free kick, and then in the second half a dreadful mistake from Chris Pearce handed Derby a second, and that's when it all started.

To a dance beat some Burnley fans started to chant, “Jimmy Mullen's Claret & Blue Army” and they just wouldn't let up. More and more joined in until all three tiers of the old Baseball Ground stand were as one. The stand was visibly swaying as the noise got louder and louder, the support got stronger and stronger, and within five minutes there was no one left seated as the incredible support continued.

With Burnley hardly in the game, Peter Shilton in front of us was virtually unemployed. More than once he turned to look at the Burnley fans in amazement and he was seen joining in with the dancing. And we thought the dancing goalkeeper was at the other end of the ground.

Twice I saw the former England goalkeeper turn and applaud the Burnley fans during the last few minutes of the game, he'd never seen anything like it, and eventually the final whistle blew with that final score of 2-0. But the Burnley fans wouldn't leave and they wouldn't stop, it went on and on in the most amazing support I've ever witnessed in 45 years as a Claret.

The police and the stewards simply didn't know what to do as no one moved. The home fans were long gone, their team through to a home tie against Aston Villa, and eventually the Burnley players and manager came back out to the most incredible of receptions.

I don't think I'll ever witness anything like it again, and as we go to Derby again this weekend it is surely worth reading the report from the Sun's John Sadler once more – click HERE to see that.

Nothing could ever quite compete with that but eight years later, in the same round, and drawn away again, we turned in another superb performance, this time on the pitch as well as off it.

Andy Cooke heads the winner in 1999
Derby had moved from the old traditional Baseball Ground by then and this was our first ever visit to Pride Park. For some reason the FA were playing games with the competition and the 3rd round tie was played in December rather than in early January.

Again we were two divisions below them, we were both one higher, again we were in a season that would end with an automatic promotion, and again we were very much the underdogs despite the fact that Jim Smith's Derby were in poor form.

Over 5,000 Burnley fans made the journey to Pride Park and many of them dressed for the occasion in Father Christmas outfits. We'd never beaten a Premiership club in either of the two knock out competitions but we put that one right with a 1-0 win.

Andy Cooke got the goal, heading in a Gordon Armstrong cross, but this was no fluke win. We were the better side from the off and, apart from one short spell when Derby did put us under some pressure, we were well on top.
As the game reached the last few minutes, one young fan whose first ever away game had been that 1992 Baseball Ground tie said to me, “This is the best away game I've ever been to,” as the fans again rose to their feet to salute the team.

So there will be some great memories for us when we make the journey to Derby this weekend hoping to see a repeat of that win six seasons ago. There won't be quite as many of us there this time, and it certainly won't be like it was in 1992 in the stand, but it would be good to have another good Derby cup memory.

The players celebrate the win
as do the fans