Derby County: The Baseball Ground

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Derby County: The Baseball Ground

Derby County: The Baseball Ground

Originally named for its use as a baseball ground (in the 19th century baseball enjoyed reasonable prominence in England) Derby County's erstwhile base is perhaps the most venerable source of the 'gypsy curse' motif. As in other cases, the gypsies are said to have cursed Derby County when the erection of the stadium necessitated moving a gypsy encampment on the site.

The terms of the curse were more specific than in other cases. It is alleged that the curse stipulated that the club would never win the FA Cup. In fact, on no fewer than 13 occasions between 1895 and 1909 the club reached the semi-final stage of the competition only to fail. In 1898, 1899 and 1903 the club actually reached the final and failed to win on every occasion - incurring a record defeat of 0-6 in the 1903 final against Bury.

Perhaps this dismal run helped to establish belief in the reality of the curse - or was even advanced as an explanation after the fact. Either way, so ingrained was belief in the hex that when Derby next reached the FA Cup final in 1946, that the captain is said to have crossed a gypsy's palm with silver prior to the match. If that is true, it certainly appeared to work, as the club finally lifted the cup after 1 4-1 extra-time victory over Charlton. 

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 11th July 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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