On the 4th March 1995, Manchester United, second in the Premier League lined up at Old Trafford to face Ipswich Town, who were languishing in 21st place in the League.
At polar opposites of the table, United were expected to win. However, what no one was expecting was the historic score-line of 9-0.
Surprisingly, United had lost 3-2 to Ipswich earlier in the season at Portman Road in September. There would be no repeat of that upset this time.
United lined up with new signing Andy Cole, who had signed two months earlier, partnering Mark Hughes up front. Fellow forward, Eric Cantona was unavailable for selection as he had been suspended for eight months following his altercation with a Crystal Palace supporter several weeks earlier.
Roy Keane lined up at right back, which meant striker Brian McClaire partnered Paul Ince in midfield.
Despite the change of position, it was Keane who opened the scoring on sixteen minutes, with a drilled finish from outside the box.
From there, the floodgates opened, Cole notched up a brace before half-time with two comfortable finishes.
Cole completed his hat trick just eight minutes into the second half and his strike partner Hughes finally got in on the action, notching a quick-fire brace in the space of five minutes.
Before an hour was on the clock, it was United 6-0 Ipswich.
Unfortunately for the Suffolk outfit, United didn’t rest on their substantial lead and Cole hit the net for an incredible fourth time, before a clever free-kick from Ince on 73 minutes made the score-line 8-0.
It was Cole once again, who found the net to complete the rout on 89 minutes with his fifth goal and United’s ninth. Ipswich had been humiliated. United had been rampant.
It was a victory that saw records tumble. 9-0 is still the record score-line for a Premier League match, 23 years on from that memorable day. Andy Cole became the first man to score five goals in a single Premier League game. He is still one of only five to achieve this, ever. No player has scored six.
United built on the victory by conversely winning by the narrowest of margins, in their next league fixture, 1-0 over Wimbledon. A win which saw them top the table. However, a disappointing home draw with Tottenham in their next game followed by defeat to Liverpool, saw their title challenge falter. For their part, Ipswich lost their next six league fixtures, experiencing more humbling reverses such as their away defeats, 4-0 to Leeds United and 4-1 to Arsenal.
The 1994/95 season ended up being one of disappointment for both clubs. Ipswich were relegated to the First Division, where they would stay for another six years before they were promoted to the Premier League once again. Their Premier League return in 2000-01 would be a much happier experience, as they exceeded all expectations by finishing the season in fifth place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. United finished a single point behind Champions, Blackburn Rovers losing their Premier League crown. To add insult to injury, United were also stunningly defeated by mid-table Everton in the FA Cup Final 1-0 thanks to a Paul Rideout winner. The scars from 1994-95, however, would inspire United to their memorable Double success in 1995/96.
Regardless of how the 1994/95 season ended for United, that Saturday afternoon in March saw the club enjoy one of their most memorable victories ever. One that will remain forever ingrained in the consciousness of all those who witnessed it.Published 31 Jul 2018, 13:21 IST