THE Manchester United FA Cup ties were a significant landmark in Burton Albion’s history, says chairman Ben Robinson as we reach the tenth anniversary of the memorable games.
The Brewers drew 0-0 with Alex Ferguson's Premier League stars at home on January 8, 2006, earning a replay at Old Trafford ten days later.
A decade ago, the Brewers were enjoying a first season in the Pirelli Stadium, a major investment for a non-league club but a vital part of ambitions to gain promotion to the Football League.
The income generated by the two money-spinning FA Cup ties enabled Albion to pay off the costs of purchasing the land and building the new stadium and to push ahead more quickly as a result.
The chairman says: “The Manchester United games were a phenomenal and important time for Burton Albion. Certainly it was the most important game in the club’s history at the time.
“The 0-0 draw was a fantastic achievement by Nigel Clough’s team, which earned us a replay at Old Trafford. Both games will live long in the memory of all Burton Albion supporters and to take 11,000 fans to Old Trafford was also something special.
“Importantly, the revenue generated by the two games laid the foundations for the success the club is continuing to enjoy today by helping us pay off the £7.4 million cost of moving to the new stadium. The media interest generated also helped raise the profile of Burton Albion.
“Within three years we were a Football League club and last season won promotion to League One for the first time in the club’s history.
“We have been disappointed with attendances since we came into the Football League, when you think of the number of people who travelled to Manchester United in January 2006, especially considering the current team’s success in winning promotion and rising to the top of League One.
"Which is why I was pleased to see that we had more than 4,000 fans at our last three home games, showing a significant increase in the number of home supporters. We hope that will continue during what promises to be a very exciting second half of the season for Burton Albion.”