Norwich City A-Z: When Robert Fleck slayed Fergie's Red Devils

PUBLISHED: 13:16 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:16 21 June 2019

Robert Fleck during NCFC v Manchester United (2-0) on 21 January 1990. Picture: Archant Library

Robert Fleck during NCFC v Manchester United (2-0) on 21 January 1990. Picture: Archant Library

Archant Library

It's considered one of the most glamorous fixtures of the season - Manchester United home and away. As Chris Lakey reports, City have had some notable successes against the Red Devils

Robert Fleck during NCFC v Manchester United (2-0) on 21 January 1990. Picture: Archant LibraryRobert Fleck during NCFC v Manchester United (2-0) on 21 January 1990. Picture: Archant Library

August 30, 1989

United 0 City 2

There's little doubt that Robert Fleck earned himself legendary status as a Norwich City player.

His style of play - tenacious, aggressive, in your-face and brilliant - easily endeared him to those in the stands. Strutting his stuff against the Red Devils, with three goals against them in one season, was icing on the cake.

Alexander Tettey of Norwich scores his sides 2nd goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
19/12/2015Alexander Tettey of Norwich scores his sides 2nd goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 19/12/2015

In this early-season encounter at Old Trafford he shared scoring duties with the flamboyant Dale Gordon.

"Cut price Canaries give the rich kids a hiding," blared our headline.

Goal number one, two minutes from half-time, came when Andy Townsend produced a defence splitting pas to Fleck, whose neat header found Gordon in space. Gordon drew keeper Jim Leighton and then slotted home.

The second came 15 minutes from time when Gary Pallister, on his debut, flattened Robert 
Rosario in the area and Fleck converted.

CAPTION; Action from the Premiership League Match between Norwich City v Manchester United at Carrow Road. Darren Ashton celebrates scoring the games first goal.
PHOTO; NATHAN CLARKE
COPY; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT
FOR; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT
COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2005
TEL; (01603) 772434CAPTION; Action from the Premiership League Match between Norwich City v Manchester United at Carrow Road. Darren Ashton celebrates scoring the games first goal. PHOTO; NATHAN CLARKE COPY; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT FOR; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2005 TEL; (01603) 772434

Don't forget, City had gone into this game on the back of a double against United the previous season. As they say, it was deja vu all over again...

January 21, 1990

City 2 United 0

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
17/11/2012
Anthony Pilkington of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal and celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich.Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 17/11/2012 Anthony Pilkington of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal and celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich.

Doubles all round, thanks to that man Fleck. Imagine, five straight league wins against the men from Old Trafford.

Fleck was sent clear on 70 minutes and made no mistake from 15 yards and with five to go, Ian Crook sent in a looping shot which Jim Leighton could only palm on to the bar - and Fleck was there to poke home the loose ball.

Defeat sent United tumbling to fourth from bottom, but Fleck said: "United won't go down, there's no chance of that."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Norwich were absolutely brilliant."

Cameron Jerome of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
19/12/2015Cameron Jerome of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 19/12/2015

Both men were right.

April 9, 2005

City 2 United 0

CAPTION; Action from the Premiership League Match between Norwich City v Manchester United at Carrow Road. Loen Mckenzie (L) heads the ball on.
PHOTO; Matthew Usher
COPY; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT
FOR; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT
COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2005
TEL; (01603) 772434CAPTION; Action from the Premiership League Match between Norwich City v Manchester United at Carrow Road. Loen Mckenzie (L) heads the ball on. PHOTO; Matthew Usher COPY; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT FOR; PINK'UN / EN SPORT / EDP SPORT COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2005 TEL; (01603) 772434

Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie were a superb double act up front for City - shame was they didn't play together for a longer period.

This was a win which kept City's heads above water, but not for long. Relegation followed, prompting Ashton's departure after just a year, to West Ham. But in a disappointing season it was an afternoon to savour at Carrow Road.

Ashton was involved in both goals - he headed home David Bentley's free-kick to put City ahead on 55 minutes and 11 minutes later crossed for McKenzie to volley home.

Wayne Rooney had come off the bench for the second half as United boss Sir Alex Ferguson looked to wrestle control, but he had a hand in both City's goals - he was booked for a foul on Darren Huckerby which led to the opener and was muscled out of possession by Youssef Safri as Norwich broke for the second.

Norwich City players celebrate Dean Ashton's goal as Manchester United's Wayne Rooney looks on during the Barclays Premiership match at Carrow Road, Norwich, Saturday April 9, 2005. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA.

THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE. Norwich City players celebrate Dean Ashton's goal as Manchester United's Wayne Rooney looks on during the Barclays Premiership match at Carrow Road, Norwich, Saturday April 9, 2005. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA. THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.

December 19, 2015

United 1 City 2

They called it a toe-poke, but it doesn't matter how you score winners - and nothing was going to take the joy away from Alex Tettey as he celebrated at Old Trafford.

It was a game which saw United booed off the pitch, with the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal on the day Jose Mourinho announced he was looking to return to management. We know the rest of that story.

United had plenty of the ball, but Cameron Jerome put City - who started the day in the bottom three - ahead on 38 minutes, receiving a pass from Nathan Redmond, evading Ashley Young and firing the ball past David De Gea.

Jerome turned provider on 54 minutes, Tettey poking it home.

Anthony Martial pulled a goal back 12 minutes later, but City did enough to move out of the drop zone.

Alex Neil said: "We've been in most of the games against the bigger sides, our problem has been that we've been the makers of our own downfall if you like, but today we eradicated those mistakes.

"The boys were fantastic and deserved to win the game."

November 17, 2012

City 1 United 0

Anthony Pilkington had a year as a trainee at Old Trafford, although Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't recall it: what better way to remind him than by scoring the only goal of the game.

It was on the hour mark when Pilkington rose and guided home a glancing header. It was a thing of beauty on a day when City made it six games unbeaten and three clean sheets in a row, something Chris Hughton attributed in part to a more settled central defensive pairing of Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong and the good form of goalkeeper John Ruddy.

"Over 90 minutes we deserved what we got," Hughton said. "We defended well as a unit. I thought we were magnificent."

MANCHESTER UNITED

Manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Norwegian is a club legend.

As a player he was clinical in front of goal and United fans will never forget his contribution to the 1999 Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich when he and Teddy Sheringham scored late, late goals - Ole's clinched it. Was a super-sub at times - earlier in that treble-winning season he came on after 71 minutes of United's 8-1 win over Nottingham Forest and scored four goals in the last 12 minutes.

Following his retirement after failing to shake off a knee inuiry, he remained at Old Trafford, became reserve team coach, returned to Norway to manage Molde, had an ill-fated spell in charge of Cardiff, went back to Molde and then, finally, returned to United as caretaker manager, then full-time boss.

Last season

United were distinctly average under Jose Mourinho: the manager regularly criticised his players publicly, there was talk of an unsettled dressing room and fans were less than enamoured with the style of football.

United had become boring to watch. Mourinho spent heavily, but to little effect - the 'Chosen One' was sacked in December with the Red Devils in sixth place, but 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool. Sacking Mourinho cost United £18m.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over on a caretaker basis, and Old Trafford was rejuvenated: United were unbeaten domestically in 15 games and somehow overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Paris St Germain and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. But then the rot set in - Barcelona thumped United over two legs and, at home, they won only two of their last nine Premier League games to finish the season sixth, 30 points behind champions Manchester City.

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New season

Must hit the ground running: and that means the expensive deadwood must be shipped out, which is easier said than done.

United are a country mile behind Manchester City and Liverpool and missing out on the Champions League means Europa League football is an embarrassingly poor substitute.

HEAD TO HEAD

NWS Draws MUW

League 12 12 34

League Cup 2 1 1

FA Cup 3 0 2

Total 17 13 37

Last 10 league games

2015/2016

PREMIER LEAGUE

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Norwich 0 Man Utd 1

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Man Utd 1 Norwich 2

2013/2014

PREMIER LEAGUE

Saturday April 26, 2014

Man Utd 4 Norwich 0

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Norwich 0 Man Utd 1

2012/2013

PREMIER LEAGUE

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Man Utd 4 Norwich 0

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Norwich 1 Man Utd 0

2011/2012

PREMIER LEAGUE

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Norwich 1 Man Utd 2

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Man Utd 2 Norwich 0

2004/2005

PREMIERSHIP

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Norwich 2 Man Utd 0

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Man Utd 2 Norwich 1

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