Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Bolton Wanderers

United's record against Greater Manchester clubs

Manchester United face Rochdale in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night in what is the first meeting with our neighbours from the north of the region since 1986.

Greater Manchester is one of England's football hotbeds, with seven clubs from our area, including United, currently playing in the Premier League and Football League. We’ve never faced Salford City in a competitive match, but we do have previous against ex-league members Bury and Stockport County.

Our rivalry with Manchester City is well-known, but what's our record like against the rest of the clubs from the region?

Let’s take a look as we recall a memorable showdown with each:


The rivalry with Wanderers has subsided since their relegation seven years ago, but our mutual history goes back to 1892 and takes in showdowns across two divisions and both cup competitions, including the 1958 FA Cup Final defeat just months after the Munich Air Disaster. In the mid-2000s, Bolton were a strong Premier League outfit, qualifying for Europe in 2005 and 2007. In the latter campaign, however, the Trotters were destroyed by a resurgent Reds at Old Trafford, with Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ji-Sung Park at their clinical, counter-attacking best. A brace from the Korean and a goal of the season contender from Rooney put us three goals up within the first 25 minutes, with Ronaldo at the centre of everything. Rooney added another in the second half with a crashing volley and, despite a late Gary Speed consolation, we maintained our six-point lead at the top of the Premier League and went on to regain the title after a four-year gap.

Overall record: P121 W54 D25 L42

Wayne Rooney scores against Bolton
Wayne Rooney fires home his second goal against Bolton in 2007.


United v Bury was a common occurrence on fixture lists until the 1930s, with the Shakers top-flight regulars. After they were relegated to the third tier prior to World War II, meetings with our neighbours became rare – a third round League Cup triumph at Old Trafford in 1998, with current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the scoresheet, being our last prior to Bury’s expulsion from the Football League. On that occasion, Neil Warnock’s visiting side frustrated a youthful United side for long spells and forced extra time at Old Trafford. Penalties looked like being on the cards until the Norwegian struck. Ole’s fellow countryman Erik Nevland then netted his only goal for the Reds to seal the win.

Overall record: P44 W23 D8 L13


United haven’t played Oldham since a 4-1 FA Cup semi-final replay victory in 1994, the same year in which the Latics were relegated from the Premier League. Another semi-final triumph, from four seasons previously, is more fondly remembered, however, as it paved the way for Sir Alex Ferguson’s first trophy at the club. Held across the city at Maine Road, it was a six-goal thriller that saw both teams come from behind. Earl Barrett gave the-then Division Two side an early lead, before goals from Bryan Robson and Neil Webb turned the game on its head. Ian Marshall’s 81st minute equaliser ushered in extra time, during which Danny Wallace put us ahead until Roger Palmer struck to send the game to a replay. United emerged victorious from that game, also staged at Maine Road, and would go on to beat Palace in the showpiece event in another helter-skelter showdown.

Overall record: P44 W21 D12 L11


The only time we've ever played tomorrow’s opponents was in the third round of the FA Cup in 1985/86. Ron Atkinson’s Reds had memorably won the trophy at Wembley the previous May, with Norman Whiteside’s extra-time goal seeing off champions Everton and we got our title defence off to the perfect start, dispatching The Dale 2-0 at Old Trafford. Frank Stapleton and Mark Hughes scored the goals, but there was to be no trip to the national stadium later that year as we would go on to lose to West Ham in a fifth round replay.

Overall record: P1 W1 D0 L0

Mark Hughes last gasp equaliser against Oldham Athletic in FA Cup semi final
Mark Hughes struck a last-gasp equaliser against the Latics in the 1994 FA Cup semi-final.


As with Bury, meetings with the Hatters have been few and far between since the war. Older Reds, however, may recall a second round League Cup tie in 1978. County, then in the Fourth Division and managed by City legend Mike Summerbee, were in dire financial straits and the game had to be switched to Old Trafford from Edgeley Park. Nevertheless, Stockport looked like causing a major upset as goals from Alan Thompson and Garry Park helped overturn Joe Jordan’s opener. With Gordon McQueen then seeing red for kicking Derek Loadwick, Dave Sexton's men were heading for an embarrassing exit until, in injury-time, Sammy McIlroy bundled home a free-kick to level the scores. The visitors were headed for a much-deserved replay until the referee awarded United a dubious penalty, which Jimmy Greenhoff thumped home.

Overall record: P19 W10 D2 L7

Manchester United v Wigan 2008
United players celebrate winning the title in front of the away end at the DW Stadium in 2008.


Our first meeting with Wigan came as recently as 2005, when Paul Jewell’s side were promoted to the Premier League. Later that season, we defeated the Latics 4-0 in the League Cup Final in Cardiff, but many Reds will recall a visit to the DW Stadium on the last day of the 2007/08 season as one of their best away trips. We went into the game level on points with title rivals Chelsea and needed a victory to guarantee a 17th championship. A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave us a narrow half-time lead, but, with the Blues 1-0 up against Bolton at Stamford Bridge, the pressure was still on. Enter Ryan Giggs who, after being introduced as a substitute to draw level with Sir Bobby Charlton’s appearance record, struck with 10 minutes to go to send the away supporters wild.

Overall record: P19 W18 D0 L1

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