Express & Star

Some 45 years to the very day - when Walsall knocked Leicester out the FA Cup

Exactly 45 years to the very weekend that Walsall will take on Leicester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup, the same tie took place at Fellows Park at the same stage of the competition - and it was the Saddlers who came out on top.


Walsall in the 1977-78 season were looking for promotion from the old Division Three - now League One - and Leicester were struggling in the old First Division, where they would finish bottom at the end of the season and be relegated.

So a potential cup shop in the offing? It was certainly a fascinating tie with two Scottish giants of the game pitting their managerial wits against each other.

Frank McLintock played over 600 games for The Foxes, QPR and Arsenal, represented his country nine times, and was dipping his toe into the managerial waters for the first time, though it hadn't been an easy start.

McLintock had been forced to sell fans' favourite Frank Worthington to Bolton for £20,000 as the striker was facing bankruptcy and needed a signing on fee - all attempts to sign an adequate replacement seemed to be proving futile and the Foxes would go down at the end of the season - the manager having left before they did.

Walsall manager Dave Mackay on the other hand had already enjoyed a celebrated managerial career before landing in the West Midlands, lifting the First Division championship with Derby and taking them into the European Cup.

He had come to Fellows Park after being sacked by Derby and was in charge at Walsall from March 1977 to August 1978.

Walsall manager Dave Mackay brandished a scarf bearing his name when pictured in March, 1977

As well as the experienced Scot in charge, Walsall also had Kidderminster born Alun Evans who they had signed for £30,000 three years earlier from Aston Villa where he had spent two full seasons.

In 1968 Evans had became Britain's most expensive teenager when after one season at Wolves with Derek Dougan, he joined Liverpool at the age of 18 for £100,000.

Looking at his record - 21 goals from 79 games for Liverpool and then 11 goals in 60 games for Villa - eyebrows were raised when he went to Walsall where he would go onto justify the purchase by scoring the winner against Leicester on the day in front of 17,421 fans.

After his time at Walsall, Evans emigrated at the age of 29 and finished his career in the USA and Australia, where he still lives today.

Alun Evans

Also playing in goal for Leicester was Mark Wallington, a Sleaford born stopper who would start his career with Walsall making 11 appearances at Fellows Park before transferring to Filbert Street where he spent 14 years making 412.

In the next round Walsall pulled a plumb tie out at Highbury, the home of Arsenal.

It was the scene of one of the greatest FA Cup upsets when in 1933 Walsall of the Third Division North beat Arsenal 2-0. Legendary boss Herbert Chapman was enraged by the result, and it it proved to be his last cup game in charge.

But this time, two goals from Frank Stapleton and one each from Malcom Macdonald and Alan Sunderland put paid to Walsall 4-1, Alan Buckley replying for The Saddlers. Arsenal would go on to get to the final of the competition where they lost 1-0 to Ipswich.

For Walsall it was back to the promotion trail where they would fall just short, finishing sixth in Division Three. Mackay would leave Fellows Park in 1978, spending ten years managing in the Middle East before returning to take charge of Doncaster Rovers and then Birmingham City.

Team v Leicester: Kearns; Macken; Caswell; Harrison; Serella; Evans; Dennehy; Bates; Wood; Buckley; King; Sub: Birch

Head to head record v Leicester

08 Dec 1894 Walsall Town Swifts v Leicester Fosse L 1-3 League Division Two

05 Jan 1895 Leicester Fosse v Walsall Town Swifts L 9-1 League Division Two

28 Nov 1896 Leicester Fosse v Walsall L 4-2 League Division Two

20 Mar 1897 Walsall v Leicester Fosse D 1-1 League Division Two

16 Oct 1897 Leicester Fosse v Walsall L 3-1 League Division Two

26 Feb 1898 Walsall v Leicester Fosse W 2-1 League Division Two

26 Sep 1898 Walsall v Leicester Fosse D 1-1 League Division Two

25 Feb 1899 Leicester Fosse v Walsall D 2-2 League Division Two

25 Sep 1899 Walsall v Leicester City L 1-2 League Division Two

27 Dec 1899 Leicester City v Walsall L 2-1 League Division Two

24 Nov 1900 Walsall v Leicester City W 2-0 League Division Two

30 Mar 1901 Leicester City v Walsall L 5-0 League Division Two

28 Jan 1978 Walsall v Leicester City W 1-0 FA Cup

12 Nov 1988 Walsall v Leicester City L 0-1 League Division Two

04 Mar 1989 Leicester City v Walsall L 1-0 League Division Two

09 Nov 2002 Leicester City v Walsall L 2-0 League Division 1

08 Feb 2003 Walsall v Leicester City L 1-4 League Division 1

21 Oct 2008 Leicester City v Walsall D 2-2 League One

03 Feb 2009 Walsall v Leicester City L 1-4 League One