Farewell To Maine Road – Part One

As promised a couple of days ago subscribers to my website will be able to download a PDF of the original Farewell To Maine Road book (which retailed at £25) in sections posted each week for the next few weeks, starting today with the Introduction and Chapter One. Here goes:

Subscribe to get access – Monthly

If you would like to read the book and download a PDF of it then you can subscribe now at £3 per month or £20 a year. Monthly subscribers access everything posted to the site since 1 October 2022. All subscribers get everything else posted during their subscription too. You could always try a monthly subscription to see what you think (cancel any time).

Subscribe to get access – Annual

As well as Farewell To Maine Road annual subscribers get access to everything posted since the site was created in December 2020 (that’s 100s of articles, videos, history talks and PDFs of two other books: Manchester A Football History and my first book From Maine Men To Banana Citizens).

Next week I’ll be posting the second section of this 320 page, fully illustrated & detailed book for subscribers to enjoy.

You can see the contents pages to see what’s included in this book, published in 2003, and read the Introduction here:

The book has been out of print since 2004 with every copy sold within about six months of publication. Since then I’ve been keen to bring it up to date with stories about the site and the Etihad but that’s not been possible as no publisher has been prepared to invest in the way that Polar Publishing did to ensure it was the right quality.

Copies occasionally appear in second hand book shops or at online retailers but these often sell for ridiculous sums of money. The last time I checked there was one for about £100 here:

When it was published in 2003 apparently, I commented (though I can’t remember saying this, mind you it was 20 years ago): ‘On 320 beautifully illustrated A4 size pages this book tells the story of Maine Road from conception, right through to its final days as a sporting venue. With excellent photographs – including rare illustrations of the stadium during construction never previously published and images from every era – this has been a very interesting book to research, write and compile. I’ve also tried to ensure the views of ordinary fans are included, and some of the most powerful Maine Road moments are captured by the fans who saw them happen.’

In a review, Hugh Ryden wrote in King of the Kippax: ‘The architecture, the moving memories, the reproduction of rare photos and memorabilia and its extensive quotations, make FTMR a must.’

Another King of the Kippax regular Steve Worthington wrote: ‘Following on in the winning formula of his epic “Manchester The Greatest City”, the highly acclaimed author and Manchester City Football Club Historian Gary James has rolled up his sleeves once more and has produced yet another fabulous football book for all to treasure and enjoy. “Farewell to Maine Road” is not only a must for all Manchester City supporters, it is also an essential for all football fans who possess a genuine interest and passion for the history of our great British past time. It catalogues the birth, evolution and ultimate decline of what was once England’s premier and revolutionary provincial football stadium; Maine Road, Moss Side, Manchester M14. Soon to be demolished into oblivion, Maine Road is vividly remembered in all its former glory in this classic portal to the past. Beautifully written with the knowledge and passion you would expect from a lifelong Moss Side Pilgrim, the book provides a definitive literate and graphic illustration of Maine Road’s long and varied history. It contains a rich tapestry of previously unpublished photographs, one of which, a unique atmospheric shot of the famous ‘Ballet on Ice’ (a famous Manchester City V Spurs clash in the late sixties), is arguably worth the cost of the book on it’s own. Having consumed and digested every morsel of information contained within, it is difficult for me to imagine how much painstaking work and dedication it must take to produce and compile a book of such quality. Whilst they continue to produce triumphs such as this, the marriage of Gary James and Polar Publishing is truly one made in a Sky Blue Heaven. This 320-page masterpiece has pushed the boundaries of football publications to a new and higher level and has already prompted tears of nostalgia in my eyes. But don’t take my word for it, sign up a copy and see for yourself, you’ll not be disappointed.’

The publicity blurb said: ‘The only officially approved history of Maine Road is the perfect book for any supporter of City; Maine Road attendee; or general football enthusiast. 

The book details the history of the stadium focussing on its development, and on the key games and events which have made Maine Road such a famous and important venue. Using first hand accounts, as told by supporters, players, administrators, and the media this book has been written and designed to the same high quality used in the highly acclaimed Manchester: The Greatest City. With special features on all the big City matches, international games, FA Cup semi-finals, League Cup finals, Rugby finals, concerts, religious meetings, and even on United’s use of the stadium during the forties and for European Cup games in the fifties. In addition both City’s former ground Hyde Road and future venue the City of Manchester Stadium have been covered to provide the complete history of City’s three homes. 

‘As with earlier works by Gary James & Polar Publishing this book is destined to be regarded as the definitive history of Maine Road & Manchester City’s other grounds.’

My publisher, Julian Baskcomb, commented: ‘Gary James is the appropriate man to write this work after a lifetime’s research on the club and its stadium. As a boy Gary was a regular in the Platt Lane Stand; then at the age of 16 he bought his own season ticket for the Kippax Stand and has been a season ticket holder ever since. He is also a respected journalist with articles for a wide range of publications including The Times and has recently managed the development of Manchester City’s new museum.’


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