This weekend, we welcome Manchester United to Rodney Parade in what promises to be one of the most historic afternoons in the club’s history.
For many fans, big FA Cup ties are a generational experience, but for Newport County fans, this is the second time in six years we have welcomed a Premier League giant to the FA Cup in the Fourth Round.
On January 27th 2018, exactly six years to this Saturday, we hosted Tottenham Hotspur at Rodney Parade. It was an FA Cup classic, with a late Kane goal being needed to save Spurs and force a replay in London.
The eleven men that lined up that afternoon all etched their names in Newport County folklore. Six years later, and ahead of another giant fourth-round clash, let’s look at where they are now.
Watch the match highlights HERE.
Our goalkeeper against Tottenham in 2018 is one of two men from the starting 11 that day who is still under contract at Rodney Parade.
Joe’s spectacular performances during the 2017/18 season, including a thrilling display against Spurs and his subsequent appearances throughout 18/19, earned a move down the road to Championship Cardiff City. A lot of Joe’s time at the Cardiff City stadium was spent on loan, with the keeper having spells at AFC Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers.
He would return to Rodney Parade in 2021, trading the goalkeeper position with our current stopper Nick Towsend. He is currently on loan at Yeovil Town, where his performances between the sticks are helping guide The Glovers to promotion from the National League South.
Another man whose face you can still see around Rodney Parade is former defender David Pipe. Pipe was an integral part of our 2017/18 campaign and was an absolute rock at the back when we welcomed Tottenham to Rodney Parade.
Pipey was a dominant force for us at the back, keeping a pair of international strikers in Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente at bay for 80+ minutes.
Pipe would hang up his boots at the end of the 18/19 campaign and can now be spotted around the ground as our kit-man.
Of the eleven men who lined up for Newport County against Tottenham that day, we don’t think any of them would mind us saying that Ben White has gone on to achieve the most. His loan spell at Newport may have only been brief, but his impact was certainly felt.
After leaving Rodney Parade, he would return to his parent club, Brighton, before going on loan to Peterborough and Leeds, respectively.
He would then break into the first team at Brighton in the 2020/21 campaign, playing 36 games for the Seagulls in his debut season in the Premier League. Such was the impressive nature of his performances he was snapped up by Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in 2021 and has been a regular part of the Gunners’ Premier League title challenges since.
He also has four England caps to his name, including a call-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Mickey Demetriou is a man who requires no introduction. Our former captain was an instrumental presence at the back for us, not just in our tie against Tottenham but in the 300+ appearances he made for us over the course of seven seasons at Rodney Parade.
Mickey left the club in the last summer transfer window, signing a deal with Crewe Alexandra, where he has been helping the Railway Men chase promotion to League One.
Speaking of players batting for promotion elsewhere, former Exile Dan Butler is competing at the top end of League One with Stevenage as Steve Evans’s side continues in the quest for an unlikely double promotion.
Butler spent three seasons at Rodney Parade and was on electric form when Tottenham visited Rodney Parade. He would go on to get his own FA Cup moment the following season when he fired in a stunner in our 4-0 win over Wrexham.
The popular defender left the club for Peterborough in 2019, playing an integral role in guiding Posh to promotion to the Championship in his second season at the club. He would leave in 2023 to join Stevenage.
Robbie Willmott is another man who is fondly remembered among the Newport fanbase. The dangerous midfielder made nearly 300 appearances for us in his two spells at the club.
After returning in 2017, he cemented his position in Michael Flynn’s starting eleven. He played a key role in our FA Cup run in 2018, creating havoc on the wings against Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker-Peters when we welcomed Tottenham.
He would stay at Rodney Parade for another five seasons after that, with loan spells at Exter and Walsall in between. He finally left South Wales at the end of the 22/23 season, signing for Woking. He is currently on loan at National League South side, Weston Super Mare.
Ben Tozer lined up for Wrexham at Rodney Parade last weekend. Unfortunately for him, he was on the wrong end of the result.
He is currently plying his trade at Wrexham as they battle for promotion towards the top end of League Two, having signed for the North Wales club in 2021.
Tozer may have received a mixed reception upon his return to Rodney Parade, but fans still have fond memories of his defensive display against a strong Tottenham side, with him being instrumental in keeping the Premier League team at bay.
He would leave us at the end of the 2018 season, heading to Cheltenham, where he played a key role in helping The Robins seal promotion to League One. He was then signed by Wrexham, dropping down two leagues in a bid to help them rise up the divisions.
Former captain Joss Labadie was a massive presence in the Newport team when we welcomed Tottenham to Rodney Parade, helping us to dominate what was a very physical midfield battle and going toe to toe with international football stars like Moussa Sissoko and Mousa Dembélé.
Labadie is a much-loved player among Newport fans, lining up for the team in both play-off finals in 2019 and 2021 before leaving the club in 2021. The midfielder headed to the Midlands, signing for Walsall with former Exiles boss Michael Flynn. He captained the Saddlers for the 21/22 season. He would stick at The Bescot for two years before leaving at the end of the 22/23 campaign.
He can now be found playing at National League Solihull Moors.
When Scot Bennett takes to the field on Sunday afternoon, he will be the only player to have lined up for us against Premier League opposition in the FA Cup Fourth Round on more than one occasion.
Bennett is still loving life at Rodney Parade, playing an integral role in Graham Coughlan’s plans this season and is likely to have earned himself a start in one of the biggest matches in the club’s history this weekend.
Frank Nouble was only at Rodney Parade for one season, but he certainly made his presence felt. The powerful striker made 52 appearances for us, hitting the net ten times. He is a man known for his huge physical presence, and that was on display when Spurs were in town.
He bullied the Spurs backline, letting them know they weren’t playing in the Premier League that afternoon. His partnership with Amond caused havoc for their defenders all afternoon and was pivotal in us securing a replay.
Since leaving Newport, he has played for Plymouth, Colchester, Leyton Orient, Torquay United, and Yeovil. He has been a key part of Yeovil’s dominant run in the National League South so far this season, scoring nine times in 27 appearances.
No one loved an FA Cup afternoon at Rodney Parade quite like Padraig Amond. The Irish striker was the man who scored that iconic goal against Spurs, causing one of the wildest celebrations in recent memory at Rodney Parade.
A delightful ball from Willmott was met at the back post by Amond as he towered above Kieran Trippier to head the ball past Michael Vorm in the Tottenham goal.
Amond would stick around in South Wales for five seasons before leaving the club in 2022. He would spend the next eighteen months at Woking and has help the Surrey club as they battle to stay in the National League.
This past Tuesday, the club confirmed he had been released from his contract and that he would be moving back to Ireland to be near his family.
Substitute: Matthew Dolan
Matthew Dolan was given a substitute appearance in the game, coming on for Joss Labadie in the 84th minute. His time in the game was limited, but he was still part of an extremely iconic day in the club’s history.
Dolan was another long-serving Exile, making over 200 appearances in six seasons. He left the club at the end of last season and is now playing for Hartlepool United in the National League.
Substitute: Shawn McCoulsky
Bristol City loanee Shawn McCoulsky was only at Newport for a season, but he was still lucky enough to be a part of the team that took on Tottenham in the FA Cup, coming on for Amond in the 74th minute.
After returning to Bristol City, he went on loan to Southend United the following season before being released and joining Forest Green. From there, he was loaned to Bromley and Halifax before joining Colchester.
His time in Essex didn’t work out, and he looks to have finally settled in Berkshire at Maidenhead United in the National League.