Five years ago today, a Crystal Palace side managed by Dougie Freedman took on Manchester United at Old Trafford, eventually running out 2-1 winners in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Whilst some of our younger fans may struggle to remember the occasion in the same vivid terms as those who were there, the above video does a fantastic job of capturing the emotion of the moments surrounding Ambrose’s wonder-strike. The section which sees a jubilant father clutching hold of his two young boys in the immediate aftermath of the goal still gets me every single time.
Obviously, the club’s promotion to the Premier League a little under two years later has altered the way many of our fans now view a trip to Old Trafford but at the time, there was a special buzz running through our fan-base over the challenge that lay ahead.
Few will recall this now, but an extremely youthful Paul Pogba made an appearance in the United midfield that night, replacing Rafael on 64 minutes before being expertly shackled by Palace midfielder David Wright for the remainder of the tie. Indeed, Rafael’s brother Fabio was also in Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting XI, only to be taken off on 37 minutes after being systematically humiliated by a wide-eyed Wilfried Zaha.
Having been rescued from the threat of total extinction just 18 months previously, the night in question came as a genuine watershed moment for the club’s fans and owners. There was no shortage of grafters in Dougie’s squad that season but thanks to the likes of Ambrose, Murray and Zaha, the Scotsman had a sizeable sprinkling of star quality too.
Set aside a couple of minutes and have a watch of the video attached above. I personally guarantee it will bring a smile to your face, unless you support Manchester United of course.