Remembering MK Dons beat Manchester United five years on

Benik Afobe fires home
Benik Afobe fires home

Five years ago, a game on Tuesday night at Stadium MK changed the perception of football in Milton Keynes.

A record attendance of 26,969 piled into the ground to watch what they assumed would be aManchester United victory in the Capital One (now Carabao) Cup second round clash. What they saw instead was an entirely different result.

Will Grigg celebrates his opener

Will Grigg celebrates his opener

By now, the result is folklore, not just in Milton Keynes, but in football upset history too. For those unfamiliar, or living under a stone since August 26 2014, the scoreboard read MK Dons 4-0 Manchester United.

Football in town, until that point, had had a fair few great moments. Winning the League Two title in 2008 and the day out an an unseasonably warm Wembley to see Dons lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy that same year, for example. Nothing, though, had the world watching quite like this.

United headed to Milton Keynes without a win under their new boss Louis van Gaal, and a game against League One opposition should have been a routine task.

The squad arriving at Milton Keynes Central was a strong one too - six of them had been to the World Cup in the summer.

Nearly 27,000 went to the game

Nearly 27,000 went to the game

READ MORE: Take a look through the pictures from MK Dons' 4-0 win over Manchester United

They had also become the biggest spenders in British football, laying out the best part of £60m on winger Angel di Maria. Dons, on the other hand, had added Kyle McFadzean from Crawley Town, and had loaned in Brentford striker Will Grigg, and Arsenal youngster Benik Afobe.

Everything went out of the window though when Grigg opened the scoring on 25 minutes, capitalising on a Jonny Evans mistake, before chesting home an audacious second midway through the second period.

United failed to register a shot on target until a third went in - Afobe, on for Grigg, lashing past David de Gea - but Adnan Januzaj saw his effort hit the frame.

Afobe’s persistence paid off with six minutes remaining to compound the humiliation.

It was a result which shook football all over the world, not so much because MK Dons dished it out, but because of the opposition. All the same, football changed in Milton Keynes after that.

As the season resumed a vague attempt at normality, Dons did not let their momentum slip, and played their part in a thrilling promotion battle that went down to the final 15 minutes of the season.

Dele Alli blasted his way to the top of scouting lists before signing for Tottenham in January, Benik Afobe earned a move to the Championship, and most of the United side was sent packing.

Thereafter, crowds for big occasions have been vast. Most of the nearly 27,000 fans at Stadium MK that night had expected a Manchester United victory. But as with all things in life, a surprise is always more memorable. And what those fans got was history as well.

While the course of Dons’ history since then has seen them go up, down, further down and then up again, the crest of that wave is still felt at the club.

That game was the first time Milton Keynes had unified behind MK Dons. It was the only thing people talked about for weeks afterwards, and all over the world too. And in a rare moment, MK Dons were popular!