IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Fionan Fagan (interviewed September 2004)

Versatile winger Fionan ‘Paddy’ Fagan joined the Blues at Christmas 1953 and went on to score 35 goals in 164 League and Cup appearances during a seven year City career.  Gary James discussed his career with him in September 2004

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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Frank Carrodus (interviewed September 2004)

Midfielder Frank Carrodus joined the Blues in November 1969.  Over the course of the following five years Frank made a total of 37 appearances plus ten as substitute before joining Aston Villa in July 1974.  Gary James caught up with him last week at the City Social in September 2004 to discuss his career.

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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Roy Little (interviewed August 2004)

Roy Little was a key member of the exciting FA Cup final sides of 1955 and 1956.  Born in Manchester in 1931, Roy made his City debut in 1953 and went on to play 186 League and FA Cup games for the Blues.  Gary James caught up with him in August 2004

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The Italian Job: A Manchester Corinthian’s Journey

Today women’s football in England is recognised as a significant sport with a professional national league, together with a supporting pyramid beneath that. There are many issues within the game of course, but it is in a more prominent position than only a decade ago and its profile is considerably higher than it was in the 1970s. At the start of that decade the FA ban preventing women’s games from taking place on FA approved grounds was still in place and teams like Manchester Corinthians, established in 1949, continued to fight for their right to play on an equal footing with the men.

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Dr Gary James is writing a detailed history of women and football in Manchester. If you played an active part in developing women’s football prior to the FA ban then please get in touch via the Manchester FA or follow Gary on twitter: @garyjameswriter. His new book, “Manchester City Women: An Oral History” is available at £16.95.

Christmas at Manchester City

In the modern era the thought of playing League football on Christmas Day is totally unacceptable, but in years gone by games were played on consecutive days, including Christmas Day, and these were often the best attended matches of the winter.  

The last Christmas Day game featuring Manchester City took place in 1957 when the Blues were defeated 2-1 at Burnley.  The City team for that landmark game was:  Trautmann, Leivers, Little, Barnes, Ewing, Warhurst, Barlow, Kirkman, Johnstone, Hayes, and Fagan.  Fionan Fagan was the last City player to score on Christmas Day

The following day City defeated Burnley 4-1 at Maine Road in front of a crowd of 47,285.  The only change to the line up was Ron Phoenix, who replaced Bobby Johnstone. 

The First Noel

The first League game ever played by City on Christmas Day was at Christmas 1896 against Newton Heath (present day Manchester United).  The game was played at Bank Street, Clayton (roughly across the road from the Etihad, the site of the BMX centre behind the present Velodrome) and was attended by 18,000 – a figure described by the Athletic News as being huge for Newton Heath:  “The crowd was an enormous one and I never saw so many lads at a football match.  They were really the cause of the encroaching in the first half, for they were continually creeping under the rails, and as a natural consequence their elders were bound to follow if they were to get a glimpse of the game.”  

Fans streamed on to the pitch on several occasions and the game was almost abandoned at half time:  “Mr. J. Parlby, one of the League Management Committee, told the crowd point blank that if they did not keep beyond the touchline, the game could not proceed, and the Newton Heath Club would have to suffer the consequences.”

Parlby, was actually a City director, and his words may have been influenced by the fact Newton Heath were the better side that day!  The game ended 2-1 to the Heathens.

The two sides met on two further occasions on Christmas Day, the last (1902) ended 1-1 at Clayton before 40,000 with Billy Meredith scoring for the Blues.

Highest Christmas Crowd

City tended to be away from home on Christmas Day, but the best Maine Road crowd on the 25th was 56,750 in 1930 when City faced Arsenal.  The following day a mere 17,624 attended the return game at Highbury.

The previous year a crowd reported as 70,000 watched Aston Villa beat City 2-1 on Boxing Day at Maine Road.  This is the highest Christmas crowd at a City League game.

Christmas Thriller

Perhaps the most entertaining – if disappointing – game ever played by the Blues on Christmas Day was the 6-5 defeat by Bury at Gigg Lane in 1925.  

Debuts

The following players made their Manchester City League debuts on Christmas Day:

1946 – Peter Robinson (V. Plymouth Argyle)

1933 – Frank Swift (V. Derby County)

1902 – Johnny Mahon (V. Manchester United)

1909 – George Wynn (V. Bradford Park Avenue)

Welcome to Gary James’ Football Archive

Hello and welcome to this site. Over the coming weeks I intent to publish here articles and other material on football.

Ever since my first book was published in April 1989 I’ve been keen to research the history of football, bringing evidence of the sport’s development while also trying to write in an engaging manner.

Over time I intend to bring to publish a mix of new material, out of print past material and some of the research and writing I’m often asked about. Hopefully, there’ll be plenty to interest you.

Thanks for reading and, if you like the page, please feel free to let others know (if you don’t you can still tell others of course!)

Best wishes,

Gary James

About Gary James

Gary James is a Honorary Research Fellow at De Montfort University. He has written extensively on football, with his current research focusing on female participation and involvement in the sport. Since the 1990s, he has gathered oral testimony from females directors, administrative staff, ‘tea-ladies’, supporters, players, players’ wives, managers’ wives, media personnel, broadcasters, athletes and others with an interest in the game.

In 2021 Gary’s biography of former England international Peter Barnes will be published. 

HISTORICAL/FACTUAL

From Maine Men To Banana Citizens (1989), Temple Press

The Pride of Manchester (with Steve Cawley, 1991), ACL & Polar

Manchester: The Greatest City (1997 & 2002), Polar Publishing

Farewell To Maine Road (2003), Polar Publishing

Manchester City Hall Of Fame (2005), Hamlyn

Manchester City The Complete Record (2006), Breedon Books

Manchester City: 125 Years Of Football (2006 & 2007), At Heart Publications

Manchester: A Football History (2008 & 2010), James Ward

The Big Book Of City (2009), James Ward

The Big Book of United (2011), James Ward

Manchester: The City Years (2012), James Ward

Manchester City Folklore (2018), Conker Editions

The Emergence of Footballing Cultures: Manchester 1840-1919 (2019 & 2020), Manchester University Press

Manchester City Women: An Oral History (2019), James Ward

FICTION

Atkinson For England (with Mark Brown, 2001), Empire

BIOGRAPHY

Football With A Smile: The Authorised Biography of Joe Mercer, OBE (1993 & 1994), ACL & Polar

Joe Mercer, OBE: Football With A Smile (2010), James Ward

TELEVISION

The History Of Football (2007), Channel M