Norwich City in the FA Cup – the ups of beating Manchester United and the lows of Luton
Attitudes may have changed towards the FA Cup in recent years, but the memories of great upsets will never fade.
For Norwich City fans, arguably the greatest upset of them all came six decades ago – January 10, 1959, at Carrow Road.
Matt Busby brought his Babes to the city, almost a year since the tragedy of the Munich air crash. Busby was building a new United dynasty.
But when they headed to Norfolk on that winter’s afternoon for a third round tie, it was all about business. Football business.
United were a First Division side, the imperious Busby at their helm; City were in the old Third Division South, and managed by Archie Macaulay.
It was the wily Macaulay who came out on top, City winning 3-0 thanks to two goals from Terry Bly and one from Errol Crossan.
Bly, Bly, Babes, roared the headline in our Saturday evening Pink Un.
Eight years later, City headed to Old Trafford for a fourth round tie. The United team was a year or so from an historic European Cup triumph, but on this day, they had to play second fiddle.
The United holy trinity of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton were no match for City, who won 2-1, thanks to goals from Don Heath and an own goal from Tony Dunne.
City have been on the receiving end as well. Since the turn of the century, they have mad it past the third round just four times, the most recent in 2012-13 when they beat Peterborugh 3-0 ... before becoming the ‘victims’ losing to Luton Town in the fourth round.
Luton became the first non-league side since Sutton United 24 years earlier to defeat a top-flight club in the competition when they won 1-0 at Carrow Road, Scott Rendell getting the 80th-minute winner.
The Hatters started the game 85 places below City in the football pyramid.
The best City have ever done was reach the semi-finals. They did that in that 58-9 run when they eventually lost to Luton in a replay, and in 1989 they lost 1-0 to Everton, having despatched, among other, Sutton United - third round conquerors of holders Coventry - 8-0 in the fourth round. City also got to the last four again in 1992, losing 1-0 to Sunderland at Hillsborough.
Just as a final note, for those who were at Carrow Road a few days ago when one of the floodlights failed: City’s third round tie against Brighton in 2003 had to be postponed after a power cut, which meant the floodlights could not be operated, 25 minutes before kick-off as the players warmed up.
The game was called off 40 minutes after the scheduled kick-off – the game was replayed on Tuesday, January 14, City winning 3-1.