Looking back to the trip to Old Trafford, a decade agoToday marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most remarkable results in the history of Exeter City – a goalless draw at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday 8th January 2005.
Having beaten Braintree Town in the fourth round qualifying and Grimsby Town in the first round, City – then in the Conference – had to do a bit of giant-killing by knocking out League 1 Doncaster Rovers in the second round. It took a special goal by Dean Moxey to secure the win.
And that meant that supporters clamoured to St James Park for the third round draw the following evening. Gary Pallister, on the home balls, pulled out number 23 – FA Cup holders Manchester United. Tony Cascarino, drawing the visiting clubs, replied with number 64 – Exeter City!
Exeter City certainly didn’t just make up the numbers at the Theatre of Dreams. They pushed Fergie’s boys all the way, and had even opportunities to cause an even bigger upset – but a goalless draw was the result. The gate receipts from a crowd totalling 67,000 at Old Trafford almost eliminated the club’s debts in one go.
And needless to say, the celebrations continued in the stand for long after the final whistle – the Red Devils were coming back to Devon for a replay!
Naturally enough, plenty of supporters were optimistic that the Grecians could finish the job on a return to the Park when the teams replayed the fixture 11 days later.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case – United were 2-0 winners at St James Park on 19th January 2005, thanks to goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney – what ever happened to them?
And while the Grecians couldn't make it past the eventual runners-up, the legacy of those games lives on and fills City supporters with pride to this day.
There is also a photo feature about the game at Old Trafford in this weekend’s edition of The Grecian, our matchday programme, when we play Northampton Town at St James Park.