STEP BACK IN SPORTING TIME... 2010: Kop That!! The night the Cobblers stunned mighty Liverpool
Wednesday, September 22, 2010... a date forever etched into the history books of Northampton Town Football Club.
The day the Cobblers stunned five-times European Cup winners and British football giants Liverpool, by knocking them out of the League Cup... at Anfield.
It was a thrilling night on Merseyside as Town won a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw to record one of the club’s most famous victories.
Today we hit the Chron archive to look back and find out what the main players were saying at the time...
It will go down as one of the greatest nights in the history of Northampton Town Football Club... the night the Cobblers went into the backyard of five-time European champions Liverpool and knocked them out of the League Cup.
Abdul Osman would emerge as the ultimate hero, the man ‘who silenced the Kop’, thanks to the fact he slotted home the winning spot-kick past Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones in the penalty shootout that followed an exhilarating 2-2 draw played out over 120 remarkable minutes.
But this was a night where everybody involved with the Cobblers was a hero.
From club legend and manager Ian Sampson and all of his players, to each and every one of the magnificent 5,000 supporters who made the trip to one of the cathedrals of world football on what was a soaking wet night on Merseyside.
It rained, and it rained, and it rained... but the travelling fans couldn't care less.
Whenever I recall what was an amazing occasion, the overriding feeling I get is one of pride.
Pride in the team’s performance, and pride in the backing that travelling support gave the team.
It was simply inspirational to see the 5,000 fans packed into the Anfield Road end of the ground, and the backing they gave their team was sensational.
Backing and faith that was rewarded with one of those performances and wins, where they could all say ‘I was there’.
It was an honour and privilege to be able to sit in the press box in the old main stand at Anfield, with Reds legends such as Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Jan Molby and Alan Kennedy just a matter of yards away, and watch my home town team, a team I had been watching since the age of five, beat the mighty Liverpool.
Yep, like many others my age, I had followed Liverpool since I was a boy, mesmerised by Kevin Keegan, Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Emlyn Hughes, ex-Cobbler Phil Neal and their incredible European adventures, played out over crackly radios and grainy TV pictures.
But there was never going to be any kind of split loyalty when it came to Liverpool coming up against the Cobblers - it was Town all the way, and to see the Cobblers win at Anfield ranks up there with my all-time favourite sporting moments.
And it was a deserved win as well. To put it bluntly, the Cobblers were the better team.
Yes, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson played a weakened team, but it was still a side packed with internationals that was expected to swat aside their League Two opponents with ease... well, they were in for a shock.
The Reds took an early lead against the run of play, but the Cobblers equalised 10 minutes into the second half with a cracking Billy McKay finish and it was still 1-1 at 90 minutes.
In extra-time, almost unbelievably, the Cobblers took the lead as homegrown product Michael Jacobs smashed in at The Kop end, and Town were good value for that lead.
Liverpool responded though and scored a late leveller through David Ngog, and then very nearly won it in the dying seconds, but thankfully a last-gasp goalbound effort clipped off the top of a blissfully unaware Liam Davis’s head and went wide.
That meant penalties, and although the experienced Steve Guinan fluffed his lines early on for Town, everybody else kept their heads and held their nerve as Liverpool made a mess of their spot-kicks.
That meant that when Osman stepped up to take Town’s fifth penalty he had the chance to write his name in Cobblers folklore... and he did so in style, sending Jones the wrong way, the ball into the net, and the travelling supporters (as well as a few of us in the press box!) into ecstasy!
Here is what a few of the main players on that incredible night had to say about it.
Interviews from 2010 carried out by Jefferson Lake and Tom Vickers.
THE TEAM LINE-UPS...
Liverpool: Jones, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Kelly, Lucas, Spearing, Pacheco (Ince 105+1), Jovanovic (Eccleston 91), Babel (Shelvey 100), Ngog. Substitutes unused: Hansen, Wisdom, Robinson, , Amoo
Cobblers: Dunn, Rodgers (Herbert 80), Johnson (Wedderburn 87), Tozer, Thornton, Gilligan, Osman, Holt, Jacobs, Davis, McKay (Guinan 83). Substitutes unused: Walker, Slowe, Kaziboni, Harris
Liverpool: Jovanovic 9, Ngog 116
Cobblers: McKay 56, Jacobs 98
Shootout details - Cobblers won 4-2
Liverpool: Ngog (missed), Shelvey (scored), Agger (scored), Eccleston (missed)
Cobblers: Guinan (missed), Thornton (scored), Davis (scored), Jacobs (scored), Osman (scored - and silenced the Kop!)
RED FAN JACOBS REVELS IN ANFIELD GLORY
Cracker of a night for teenager and Reds fan Jacobs
LIVERPOOL fan Michael Jacobs was left pinching himself after hitting the net TWICE under the noses of The Kop.
The Town teenager, a product of the club’s academy, netted the Cobblers’ second goal in extra-time, and then also slotted a crucial penalty to set up Abdul Osman’s moment of glory as the Reds were dumped out of the Carling Cup.
“It’s a great night for the fans, and we were phenomenal,” said Rothwell lad Jacobs, who only made his League debut for Town on the opening day of the season at Torquay United.
“Our all-round performance was amazing and we deserved it.
“We just went there to enjoy the night, we knew it was going to be an exeptional Liverpool side. We still had to put a performance in, and we did that.
“To score in front of The Kop twice was brilliant, and it’s been a phenomenal night for all of the players.”
Town had also won a penalty shootout at Championship side Reading in the previous round, and Jacobs said: “When it comes to the big occasions we just step up, and I don’t know why.
“It’s all a dream. When you think I was playing at Nuneaton on loan last season in front of 20 people at Bashley.
“Then this week I’m at Anfield in front of more than 20,000 and scoring twice, it was one of those nights.”
On his cool penalty success, he added: “From the Reading game I changed the side I was shooting to.
“I was a bit nervous as well going fourth because it was all square, but thankfully it went in.”
BOSS SAMPSON CELEBRATES IN STYLE
‘I’m going to do a Mourinho!’
BOSS Ian Sampson hailed the Cobblers’ breathtaking Carling Cup win over Premier League giants Liverpool as possibly ‘the biggest result in the club’s history’.
The five-times European Champions were humbled in their own backyard, as goals from Billy McKay and Michael Jacobs ensured the match ended 2-2 after extra-time.
Town then won the penalty shootout 4-2, with Abdul Osman hitting the winner, and Sampson beamed: “I think that was maybe the biggest result in the club’s history. Liverpool put some fringe players in, but so what? They are all international players that cost a lot of money and are on big wages, and it was fantastic.
“I am chuffed to bits. I am delighted for everybody associated with the club.
“When that last penalty went in, I said to Tim Flowers ‘I’m going to do a Mourinho!’. So I ran down the touchline, because if he can do it why can’t I?
“I am delighted with the performance and it is on a par with winning at Wembley in 1997. The players should be so proud of their performance, spirit was tremendous.
“I was disappointed it went to penalties because I felt we deserved to win in normal time, but the players who stepped up deserve tremendous credit and they showed real character to take a penalty in front of The Kop.
"Northampton have never won here before, and it might never happen again, so this is a night to savour and enjoy every last minute of.
“The difference between a club like Liverpool and Northampton is vast, but there have been cup upsets in the past and I’m just absolutely thrilled for everyone that we managed to pull it off.
“We tried to pass the ball and I think we dominated the game for long periods. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
LIVERPOOL BOSS (AND MEDIA) UNIMPRESSED BY REDS...
‘Liverpool FC has reached its most depressing low’
The following day’s editorial in the Liverpool Echo did not hold back following Liverpool’s defeat at the hands of League Two Cobblers.
‘Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic,’ it read. ‘The abomination of a story that is the modern day Liverpool Football Club has reached its most depressing low.
‘Worcester City in 1959 is widely regarded as the most cataclysmic result in Liverpool’s 118-year history but last night’s 22,577 hardy souls saw Northampton Town achieve a result that must rank alongside it... Shameful’.
Wow. They weren’t happy were they?
And neither was beleaguered boss Roy Hodgson, who had only been at the helm since the previous summer, and was finding himself under increasing pressure.
“We were playing lower league opponents. Whatever happens, if it doesn’t result in a win it’s very negative,” said Hodgson.
“It’s a setback for the club, one of many we are facing at the moment.”
“When you’ve got a squad with players who have come here for big money, this was a chance for them to show they’re great players - unfortunately, and full credit to Northampton, we weren’t good enough to beat them.
“When it goes to penalties and you are at home and in front of the Kop your hope is that at least the players will have the composure and confidence to win the penalty shoot-out, but we didn’t
“All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologise to everyone; the fans came expecting to see us win and I expected us to win but it wasn’t to be.
“These players have to accept responsibility.
“I accept responsibility for changing a lot of players in the team, I did it because I honestly thought the players I put on the field were good enough to win the game and they weren’t.”
REACTION OF THE SPOT-KICK AND GOAL HEROES
‘It was the greatest night of my life’
PENALTY shootout hero Abdul Osdman says his moment of magic in front of The Kop was ‘the greatest night of my life’.
Speaking in to 2016 to the Daily Record when he was a Partick Thistle player, Osman declared: “It was the greatest night of my life scoring the winner at Anfield.
“Liverpool weren’t at full strength but to go there and win any game is tough.
“As I was hitting the penalty I just thought ‘put it in the back of the net.’ I was nervous but I kept my cool and put it away.
“Liverpool’s players were distraught but it shows what can be done if you play at your best and get a bit of luck, which you always need regardless of who you are playing against.
“I don’t talk about it much to the boys here but sometimes I post it on Instagram and old team-mates will say ‘It’s gone now, leave it out!’ But it will always live with me.”
It was also a special night for Billy McKay, who netted Town’s first goal.
“I am absolutely buzzing,” said the Corby-born striker. “I have scored at Anfield, we are just buzzing and it is brilliant.
“The fans were brilliant, and they gave great support.
“Hopefully now we’ll get a good draw in the next round and they can do the same there. We thought we had won it in extra-time, but it went to penalties and we knew we had a good chance.
“It’s the best moment of my career so far, and it will stick in my mind for the rest of my life.”
SO, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?...
THE Cobblers were drawn at Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town in the next round, and despite taking the lead through a stunning Liam Davis strike, they were well beaten, going down 3-1.
Promotion from League Two was the priority, and things were looking promising as Town thrashed Crewe Alexandra 6-2 on February 1 to put themselves firmly in the frame.
But 14 winless matches later (nine of them draws), that dream was over, and Anfield hero Ian Sampson was sacked by chairman David Cardoza, to be replaced by Gary Johnson.
The change had little effect, and in the end, Town needed a 2-0 win over Stevenage on the penultimate day of the season to secure their Football League safety, and they eventually finished 16th, five points above the drop zone.
Johnson himself would be sacked by the following November.
And what of Liverpool?
Roy Hodgson continued to struggle, and was sacked in January, 2011, to be replaced by Kenny Dalglish. The Reds would go on to finish sixth in the Premier League.
But Hodgson certainly managed to bounce back as, after a spell with West Brom, he was named England manager and led his country at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, and also the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Imagine what would have happened to him if he had managed to beat the Cobblers???!!