After the anticipation and excitement of round three, round four soon came round three weeks later with a different atmosphere. Usually (but not always) the weather was better, and the chance of cup shocks was reduced. And by the end of round four, there were only 16 teams left – so those of us who had teams still in did wonder that, having won two games, it might be our time. For the rest of us, our Wembley dreams were shelved for another year.
The giant killers of round three were either promptly put in their place (e.g. 1989, after beating First Division Coventry 2-1, Sutton United were beaten 8-0 at Norwich) or carried on some sort of momentum (e.g. in 1992, Wrexham beat the champions Arsenal 2-1 then drew at West Ham 2-2 before losing the replay 1-0).
My first memory of the fourth round is in 1978 when Blyth Spartans defeated Stoke City 3-2 away – a midweek game after bad weather postponements.
So staying with the featured year of 1978, what were the games on television?
Saturday 28 January 1978 – Match of the Day – BBC1
Manchester United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United 2-2 Wrexham
Arsenal 2-1 Wolves
Sunday 29 January 1978 – The Big Match - ITV
West Ham United 1-1 Queens Park Rangers
Middlesbrough 3-2 Everton
Bristol Rovers 2-0 Southampton