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?