100 Years Ago Today: Hyde Road’s Last

Today (28 April) in 1923 Hyde Road staged its last League game as Manchester City drew 0-0 with Newcastle United.

The match was watched by a crowd of around 20,000.  On the same date Wembley Stadium, built by the same people who were building Maine Road, hosted its first FA Cup final and, because of the extraordinary scenes, very little space was given over to the City game in the national ‘papers.  Instead they concentrated on Bolton’s performance and the exploits of Billy, the white horse, in clearing the Wembley pitch. 

Three months after the last Hyde Road League match, on 18 August, the last ever game, a practice match, was staged on the pitch.  Afterwards the goal posts and a few turnstiles were taken from the old ground and erected at Maine Road – about 6 were still at Maine Road in 2003 when it was demolished. Attempts were made to keep one of the oldest (from 1896) and re-erect it in a public area at the new stadium. Sadly, the day before it was to be removed the external wall was smashed and the turnstile was stolen.

One of the Hyde Road stand roofs was dismantled and sold to Halifax Town to be re-erected at the Shay. 

The Shay had opened approximately twelve months before Hyde Road’s last League match, and a stand had already been constructed.  When this stand was extended it coincided with the demolition of City’s ground.  Basically, it appears that the metalwork from one of City’s multi-span roofs was dismantled and re-erected along the touchline at the Shay.  It was linked to the existing roof, and formed one traditional style roof.  The roof still exists at the Shay today, although during the early 1990s it was re-clad.

The front stanchions look suspiciously like those at Hyde Road, while my investigations in the late 1990s highlighted that the metalwork matched that of similar roofing at a factory in Sale.  That factory’s roof was also a former stand roof from Hyde Road.  Both the Shay roof and that in Sale were so similar that it seems likely they had previously been erected at Hyde Road.

The Sale factory was dismantled and sections of the roof given to Manchester City for possible re-use in a City museum.  Sadly, by 2002 the metalwork had vanished from Maine Road and its whereabouts unknown.

A page from Charles Thurrell’s copy of Hyde Road’s last league game match programme v Newcastle, 28 April 1923
Charles Thurrell’s copy of Hyde Road’s last league game match programme v Newcastle, 28 April 1923

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