Norwich City A-Z: When Robert Fleck slayed Fergie’s Red Devils
- Credit: 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
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.
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In this early-season encounter at Old Trafford he shared scoring duties with the flamboyant Dale Gordon.
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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.
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
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."
Both men were right.
April 9, 2005
City 2 United 0
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Norwich 0 Man Utd 1
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Man Utd 1 Norwich 2
Saturday April 26, 2014
Man Utd 4 Norwich 0
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Norwich 0 Man Utd 1
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Man Utd 4 Norwich 0
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Norwich 1 Man Utd 0
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Norwich 1 Man Utd 2
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Man Utd 2 Norwich 0
Saturday, April 9, 2005
Norwich 2 Man Utd 0
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Man Utd 2 Norwich 1