The headline on the front of the Burton Mail after little Burton Albion held the mighty Manchester United to a draw in the FA Cup 11 years ago was 'Gold Trafford'.

The heroic 0-0 draw meant that the Brewers, then a non-league Conference league side, would be going to the 'theatre of dreams' after securing a replay at Old Trafford in that January in 2006.

The build up to the replay was nothing short of a state of excitement in the town. Suddenly the entire world wanted to know all about this proud brewing town in Staffordshire. We were all over the news, including on the TV.

Manchester United's Old Trafford ground

Everyone had an opinion; who should play, who shouldn't and surely we could 'nick' it this time after coming so close at the Pirelli Stadium as the team bravely held on for the draw. It was as they say FA Cup dreamland in Burton.

I was working as a sub-editor putting together pages for the Burton Mail at the time and worked on the special supplement after the replay.

TV camera crews and radio presenters had been everywhere in the build up to kick off. Shoppers and workers popping out to buy a sandwich at lunchtime were being stopped in their dozens to give their views on Burton's giant killing feat.

Burton Albion Players Visiting Old Trafford in preparation for the FA Round Replay
Albion Team in Away Team Changing Room
Burton Albion players visit Old Trafford in preparation for the FA Cup replay

The buzz around the Pirelli Stadium for that first match continued in the town until the replay. People talked about nothing else other than how Burton's hero goalkeeper Saul Deeney and his teammates had kept the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo at bay.

And it wasn't long before scarves and flags marking the impending match were on sale from impromptu stalls in the town centre, where they sold like hot cakes.

Burton Albion Players Visiting Old Trafford in preparation for the FA Round Replay
Albion Players at Old Trafford on the pitch
Burton Albion players on the pitch at Old Trafford

The Burton Mail offices, then at our old venue in High Street, was also a favourite spot for camera crews to film. We had been given Burton Albion pennants which were proudly pinned to out computer monitors. The club had also sent along Brewers' shirts which myself and the other staff would quickly put on as the cameras were set to roll.

The talk and most of the stories in the paper that week before the game centred around the impending trip to Manchester, including that all coaches in and around the town had been hired to take up the black and yellow army of Brewers fans to Old Trafford. We also told the story of how Albion mascot Billy Brewer had a new mascot friend. The United game at the Pirelli was the first time Betty Brewer joined Billy pitch side.

On the night of the replay on Wednesday, January 18, we have a large team working. Not only were the sports team covering every kick of the game, we had reporters and photographers in the crowd to report of the carnival atmosphere because the Albion fans were set on having a good time. Back in the town it was empty as everyone was either in Manchester who in the pubs watching the game.

Julie Crouch

The Burton Mail had a large team working back in the office. I had watched the match on the TV at home and then headed in arriving around 10.30pm. We were then tasked with putting together the paper, which was due out on the streets nice and early because we knew everyone would want to read about every last kick on the pitch and everything that happened off it too.

The team ended up losing 5-0 on the night but they in no way disgraced themselves and the entire town was proud of their achievement.

It was a night that will be long remembered in Burton. And it signalled the start of the club's incredible rise to the lofty heights of the Championship.

This time around, here's to creating some more great memories. There's only one league between the two clubs nowadays and, although United may be footballing royalty, we've held them to a draw once so you never know your luck!

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