Running each Monday for the last few weeks was a weekly series of profile articles on some of the earliest figures behind the development of Manchester City. The people featured were:
Lawrence Furniss, John Allison, Joshua Parlby, Walter Chew, William Sumner, Tom Maley, St Mark’s community leaders, Billy Meredith, John Chapman, William Beastow and James Moores.
I’ve been obsessed with the origins of football in Manchester for decades now and I’d like to share as much of that research with subscribers as possible. I’m keen to write and include profiles later this year on other True Blue figures associated with Manchester City or its predecessor clubs. If you’d like to nominate a person for the series then please use either the comments area below or email Gary@GJFootballArchive.com with the name and reasons. These can be any official, player or manager from the history of the club. I can’t promise I’ll feature everyone suggested but I’ll do my best.
I am passionate about ensuring the history of football in Manchester is properly recorded and recognised. In the 1980s I first started researching the early years of football in the region, focusing initially on City. I spent many, many hours every week in libraries and other locations trying to piece together the club’s story, particularly its formative years in West Gorton, Gorton and Ardwick. The depth of research tackled then has continued throughout my adult life and still goes on.
Back in the 80s I contacted various churches, local history groups and more in the desperate hope they had something – anything – of interest. From a St Mark’s perspective this included contact with Emmanuel Church in West Gorton (who took over from St Mark’s as the local church when St Mark’s was demolished; sadly in the early 1990s they told me all St Mark’s records had either been destroyed or had been passed on to Manchester Cathedral) and later with Manchester Cathedral and various religious figures. I’ve also spent considerable time researching Masonic archives trying to piece together the facts of some early figures (for example William Beastow was an important figure both at St Mark’s and within the local Masonic community).
In the early 1990s I also tracked down the son of the 1950s editor of the St Mark’s parish magazine as in a feature the former editor had written he discussed the original parish magazine, published in the 1880s, and explained that he had copies of every issue in front of him. That simple comment in a 1950s magazine was enough for me to try and track down the editor. I was convinced the original parish magazines from the 1880s would hold clues as to the development of the football club. Sadly, the original editor had died but I did locate his son. Despite considerable effort searching for anything that might prove useful his son came back to me with the news that the magazine had been disposed of when his father either moved or died. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens a lot.
Anyway, these True Blue profiles are only one small glimpse into those early years. If you’d like to read nominate someone from MCFC’s past to feature then please let me know and I’ll try and share as much as I can from my archive of material, researched continuously since the mid-1980s. Thanks.