Norwich City has a better record against Manchester United in the FA Cup than you might think. A much better record. United won the first draw between the two clubs in 1906 with ease, 3-0 on the former Bank Street site; they won the last time the clubs met at the World Cup in 1994, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane doing the deal on Carrow Road. But in the middle, there were three other meetings … and Norwich won them all.
January 1959: United, on their way to second place in the league, are tied by third-level Norwich in the third round. Terry Bly is the hero of two goals from a 3-0 crash in the snow on Carrow Road. The legendary John Arlott was at the booth, reporting to the Observer. “The roar of East Anglia, which had grown with challenge and hope with expectation, ended in a horn of exultation. It was not just a famous victory, but well deserved. "City made it to the semifinals, before narrowly losing to the city of Luton in the First Division.
February 1967: United are on their way to the championship this time. But there would be no duplication. After 26 minutes of a tie in the fourth round at Old Trafford, Don Heath threw it away, called Alex Stepney and went home. "It made me feel ten feet tall," he smiled afterwards. Denis Law equalized with a characteristically reckless move, but on 65 minutes Gordon Bolland intercepted a poor pass by Nobby Stiles and City, fourth from the bottom of the Second Division, passed. "Anyone will do it in the next round," said Lol Morgan, head of the Canaries. "If you can beat United, you can beat anyone!" For sure, they were dispatched 3-1 at home by Sheffield Wednesday in the fifth round.
February 1991: United start now … but not for much longer. A tie in the fifth round on Carrow Road is tied after an hour, Robert Fleck and Brian McClair exchanged goals. At that moment, substitute Ruel Fox … and here we let the legendary David Lacey take things … "they came between two panels announcing someone's birds and treated Alex Ferguson's defense like a chicken coop". Within three minutes, Fox had sent Dale Gordon into the goal. He won the winner by Les Sealey. The combination was almost worth it eight minutes later, but this time Gordon hit a post. City was defeated by finalists at Nottingham Forest in the sixth round.
Norwich, then, has history on their side. On the other hand, they are currently at the bottom of the Premier League losing their last three games, while United in form are unbeaten in 13 matches and have won seven of their last eight meetings between the clubs. So do what you want with all of this, but remember that in the FA Cup anything can happen, and it often does. A place in the semi-finals is up for grabs and will be decided today, even if there are penalties. Yes, my dear MBM friends!
Start: 5:30 pm BST.