Wednesday’s EFL Cup clash won’t be the first time this century the Cobblers have locked horns with the Red Devils…

For those of you who casting off the newly-named EFL Cup as a competition of the Mickey Mouse variety, worthy only for promising academy players to make their first and only senior appearance for top flight teams, spare a thought for Northampton Town.

For they welcome Manchester United to Sixfields tomorrow evening. Yes, this may not be the vintage, trophy-hoarding United of yesteryear but, for a lower league club of the Cobblers stature, the occasion is one to savour.

And this fixture, rare in the history books it may be, has a rather interesting backstory. On February 7 1970, Northampton’s old County Ground became the stage for one of English football’s great monologues.

“I don’t really class myself as a footballer,” a certain George Best quipped after scoring a sensational six in United’s 8-2 win, according to SkySports.

“I call myself an entertainer. I know a lot of people have paid to see me do something spectacular and that’s what I was trying to do on Saturday.”

Wednesday’s clash may be lacking in Beatles mops and double-hat-tricks, and anyone expecting a repeat of that oft-accounted 10 goal thriller is likely to be disappointed, but Northampton will be hoping this rarest of opportunities doesn’t pass them by like it did 12 years ago.

But what happened on that cold January night in 2004 as a Manchester United side of David Bellion, Quentin Fortune and one Cristiano Ronaldo rocked up at Northampton’s humble surrounds in the FA Cup?

A party atmosphere enveloped Sixfields as Northampton prepared for one of the biggest games in their recent history

Even Sir Alex appeared to be enjoying the occasion

The same could not be said for Chris Carruthers, however, who ‘fouled’ Ronaldo early on to gift United a penalty within three minutes

Diego Forlan shoots…

…but Lee Harper saves. A proud moment for the former Arsenal youngster

United struggled to settle in the absence of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, with the home sides’ speedy forward Derek Asamoah ruffling the visitors’ feathers

The Premier League champions soon stamped down their superiority, however, Mikael Silvestre pouring cold water on Northampton’s parade by bundling in from a few yards

Diego Forlan then doubled United’s lead in the second half…

…as new signing Louis Saha watched on from the stands

An unfortunate Chris Hargreaves own goal sealed a routine 3-0 win for Northampton’s top tier opponents. Safe to say, they’ll be hoping for better on Wednesday.

 

 

 

In other news, Player Arsenal have reportedly asked about has suffered an injury in training