This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
Advertisement

Ten years on: looking back at the Man United XI held to a goalless draw by non-league Exeter

Pique, Djemba-Djemba, Miller and Bellion all featured and failed.

AS MANCHESTER UNITED prepare to begin their FA Cup campaign tomorrow against League One side Yeovil, it’s ten years to the weekend that they endured one of their most humiliating results in the competition.

Ultimately, United’s goalless draw with non-league Exeter at Old Trafford in January 2005 can’t be tagged as a FA Cup giant killing because the Red Devils went onto win the replay comfortably but it was still an eye-opening afternoon for Sir Alex Ferguson and a defining one for many of the players that were given their chance to make an impression.

Interestingly, six of that starting XI were sold later that year and none of them are still at the club.

GK: Tim Howard

Soccer - FA Barclaycard Premiership - Manchester United v Charlton Athletic Source: EMPICS Sport

The American was in and out of the starting XI as he battled with Roy Carroll for the number one jersey. He joined Everton on-loan for the 2006-07 before moving to Goodison Park on a permanent deal.

RB: Phil Neville

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Phil was given the nod at right-back as his brother Gary was given the night off. The versatile defender was sold to Everton for £3.5 million in August 2005 after a decade at Old Trafford.

CB: Wes Brown

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: EMPICS Sport

The England international had worked his way back to full fitness after a knee ligament injury and became a permanent fixture at the heart of United’s defence. However, the arrival of Nemanja Vidic a year later as well as Brown’s enduring injury problems meant appearances were few and far between. He eventually moved to Sunderland in 2011.

CB: Gerard Pique

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

With regulars Rio Ferdinand and Mikael Silvestre watching from the stands, the young Spaniard was given the opportunity to make an impression in the first team. It never really worked out for him in England, however, and after a loan spell with Real Zaragoza, Ferguson sold Pique to Barcelona in May 2008.

LB: Jonathan Spector

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: EMPICS Sport

The young American was meant to be loaned out to Blackburn in December 2004 but an injury crisis at Old Trafford meant Spector’s services were required. This game was one of just three appearances he made for the first team before being loaned out to Charlton and then subsequently sold to West Ham in 2006.

RM: Chris Eagles

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

There was no doubting Eagles’ natural ability but having worked his way through the United youth ranks, he failed to build on that potential and make the grade. He made just six appearances for the club and after several loan spells was sold to Burnley in 2008. He was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo in this game.

CM: Eric Djemba-Djemba

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Replay - Exeter City v Manchester United - St James' Park Source: EMPICS Sport

So good they named him twice. Djemba-Djemba wasn’t one of Fergie’s better buys and, rightly or wrongly, received a lot of criticism for United’s failings. This turned out to be one of his final appearances for the Red Devils before being offloaded to Aston Villa a couple of weeks later.

CM: David Jones

Soccer - FA Cup - Manchester United v Exeter City - Old Trafford Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

With Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher all at the club, it was no surprise Jones rarely got an opportunity to stake his claim. After captaining the reserves, Jones was sent out on loan to Watford a couple of months later and after several stints with various clubs, made a permanent move to Derby in 2007. Was replaced by Scholes after an hour of the third round tie.

CM: Liam Miller

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Replay - Exeter City v Manchester United Source: EMPICS Sport

Again, another case of unfulfilled talent as the Irish international failed to impress sufficiently to break his way into the side. He moved to Leeds on a short-term deal later in 2005.

LM: Kieran Richardson

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: EMPICS Sport

Richardson was unfortunate that United, at the time, had several options down the left with Giggs, Heinze and Fortune all in their prime. 2004-05 was his breakthrough season at Old Trafford and he enjoyed an extended run in the side but was soon shipped out to West Brom.

FW: David Bellion

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Exeter City Source: EMPICS Sport

One glance down United’s squad for that season and it’s no wonder the Frenchman struggled to get a look in. Rooney, van Nistelrooy, Saha, Solskjær, Forlan and even, to an extent, Giuseppe Rossi. Bellion was sent to West Ham before heading back to France to join Nice in 2006.

Ferguson learnt his lesson and played a stronger side in the replay as United won 2-0 thanks to goals from Ronaldo and Rooney.

10 of the best photos from today’s FA Cup action

Jamie Carragher wants Liverpool to sign Ross Barkley as a replacement for Gerrard

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

Read next:

COMMENTS (10)