The Manchester Derby

It’s the Manchester Derby today (7th March 2021) at the Etihad Stadium. As Martin Tyler always says ‘and it’s liiiive’ on SKY TV at 4.30pm. While you’re waiting for the game why not have a read of all the Manchester derby articles already posted on this site? 

There are articles about the first derbies, the first competitive derby, the first League derby, League Cup semi finals in the 60s/70s and 2010s, rare film of derbies and so much more. Here’s a quick link to some of the material: 

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-derbies/

On This Day 1963: The 1st FA Cup Tie

On this day (6th March) in 1963, due to an exceptionally snowy winter, both Manchester City’s and Manchester United’s first appearances in the FA Cup that season occurred. The games had been delayed until this date due to the poor weather.  

For the record, the Blues won away at Walsall 1-0 in the 3rd round (Alex Harley scored).  7 days later they beat Bury (1-0 at Maine Road, 41,575 crowd) in the 4th round and then lose to Norwich (2-1 at Maine Road on 16th March) in round 5.

The Reds defeated Huddersfield 5-0 at Old Trafford (Law 3, Giles & Quixall) before 47,703. They also defeated Aston Villa (1-0 on 11th March at Old Trafford), Chelsea (2-1 on 16th March at Old Trafford), Coventry (3-1 on 30th March), Southampton (1-0 at Villa Park on 27th April) and Leicester City 3-1 in the final at Wembley on 25th May.

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This was a brief sample of the site. If you would like to read the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and listen to a frank interview from John Bond) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Guest Blog – Steve Bolton: The Pioneering Manchester Ladies Part Two

Today’s guest blog follows on from last week’s guest blog in which Steve Bolton talked of the Manchester Ladies (who also went under the name Wythenshawe Ladies, City of Manchester Ladies, Manchester City Ladies the 1940s & 1950s) and their early years. Today is part two of Steve’s research into this pioneering women’s club (part one can be viewed here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/?p=1863 ).

Over the last few years much has been written about pioneering women’s football teams and Steve’s research is certainly adding to that. I’m sure anyone reading this already knows about my book on Manchester City Women (available here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/shop/ ) and about the other articles on this blog discussing other leading women’s clubs, including the Manchester Corinthians (see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/womens-football-2/ ). 

If you played for a women’s team in the Manchester region during the 1940s to 1960s then please get in touch. I’m writing a detailed history of women and football in Manchester and your information may help both mine and Steve Bolton’s research. 

If you played an active part in developing women’s football prior to the FA ban then please get in touch by emailing gary@GJFootballArchive.com or follow me on twitter: @garyjameswriter or facebook.com/garyjames4 

The First ‘Manchester Derbies’

Back in 1881-82 the two teams that would eventually become Manchester City and Manchester United met for the first time with the second fixture occurring on this sate (4th March 1882). To mark this anniversary – and with the Premier League derby occurring this weekend) here’s a free article on those first two derby matches. Both were friendlies of course!

The First Time

Back in 1881-82 the two teams that would eventually become Manchester City and Manchester United met for the first time. This was only a year after the first reported games played by the clubs, then known as St Mark’s (MCFC) and Newton Heath (MUFC). The first St Mark’s game to make it into print was against Macclesfield Baptists on 12th November 1880 while Newton Heath’s earliest known game came seven days later against Bolton Wanderers’ 2nd team.

On the anniversary weekend of St. Mark’s first reported game, 12th November 1881, Newton Heath and West Gorton (St Mark’s) met for the first time.  The game, played at North Road, Newton Heath, attracted an attendance of around 3,000 (according to details recorded many years later – I’m dubious about the number but we have nothing contemporary that’s accurate so we’ll go with that).  

The ‘Heathens’, who went on to become Manchester United in 1902, defeated West Gorton (St. Mark’s) 3-0 in what was described as a ‘pleasant game’.  I wonder what the reporter would make of 21st Century derby matches!  Two goals were scored in the first half, one being an own goal by one of West Gorton’s ‘backs’.  It is not reported who scored the goal, all the ‘Ashton Reporter’ match report says is that the player was “attempting to stop a shot by E. Thomas”.  

One of the significant aspects of the way this game was reported which has created some confusion over the years concerns the St. Mark’s name.  It was recorded as West Gorton (St. Mark’s) as opposed to St.Mark’s (West Gorton) and that change has caused some to suggest that the church were unhappy in some way with the club.  There was a suggestion that the club was attracting players from outside of the parish and that was an issue, but none of this now appears to be correct.  The church appeared to be happy with the way the side was developing and, if anything, the selection of Kirkmanshulme Cricket ground actually meant the team were playing fairly close to the St. Mark’s rectory.  The move potentially increased the opportunity for spreading the church’s work and that may be why the person sending in the match reports to the local newspaper changed the emphasis.

The Return Match

The return match took place at the Kirkmanshulme Cricket ground (West Gorton’s home) on 4th March 1882. On the image above this is the cricket ground to the right of Tank Row (and left of Belle Vue Zoo).  

West Gorton (St Mark’s) gained revenge for the 3-0 defeat in their first encounter, as they overturned Newton Heath 2-1. The Gortonians had managed to take the lead, via Charles Beastow, as early as the eighth minute, and then had to hold off the Heathens who had been awarded a couple of consecutive corners.  The second actually lead to West Gorton’s second goal.  James Collinge obtained possession in front of the West Gorton goal then proceeded to run the full length of the pitch, before sending the ball flying between the Heathens’ posts amid loud cheering.  

The score remained 2-0 until late in the game when, according to reports, the Heathens baffled the home ‘keeper Edward Kitchen by performing several good passes before the ball entered the goal.  Exactly how baffled Kitchen was we don’t know, but we do know that this game was well attended.

Years later the attendance that day was reported as ‘around 5,000’, although it would be unfair and ridiculous to suggest that this was the actual attendance.  It seems incredible that around a sixth of Gorton’s population would have been able to attend a game which, at that point, was not regarded as a ‘derby’ or an important fixture whatsoever.  Nevertheless. it does provide an indication that football in West Gorton was becoming popular.

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This has been a sample of the material on http://www.GJFootballArchive.com If you would like to read all the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Premier League World – International Women’s Day

To commemorate International Women’s Day I’ve been involved with a couple of things. One is Steve Bolton’s Guest Blog on a Manchester women’s team from the 1940s & 1950s – part two is available on Friday; part one is available here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/26/guest-blog-steve-bolton-the-pioneering-manchester-ladies-part-one/

The other item is an episode of the TV show Premier League World. If you have access to the Premier League World then the current episode (broadcast in UK on 3rd March at 11pm) includes the piece. Episode 38 focuses on women and football.

I helped the programme with a feature on the Manchester City Women’s team. This is a positive piece on the history of the club and includes interviews with myself, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Gareth Taylor.

If you’ve got Amazon Prime then you can also download it now. It’s episode 38 and the piece starts after 18 minutes:

Premier League World is available around the globe so please check your own TV listings. Here in the UK the show will appear on Amazon Prime, Sky Sports and BT Sport with the following times for Sky & BT:

BT Sport 3                                      Thursday            10:30pm

BT Sport 1                                      Friday                  3pm

BT Sport 1                                      Sunday               8:30am

BT Sport 1                                      Monday              12pm

BT Sport 1                                      Tuesday              12:30am

Sky Sports Premier League          Today                  11pm

Sky Sports Mix                              Today                  11pm

Sky Sports Premier League         Thursday            5pm

Sky Sports Premier League         Friday                  3pm

Sky Sports Premier League         Saturday             8am

The feature is the last one shown in the programme, so please keep watching to the end. The piece starts after about 18 minutes).

The book that we flick through is my book on the team: Manchester City Women: An Oral History. It tells the story of the club from its birth and can be bought here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/shop/

To find out more about the history of City Women have a look at:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/24/manchester-citys-womens-team-the-relaunch/

And:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/07/establishing-women-in-sports-history-manchester-city-football-club/

Check out other material on women’s football here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/womens-football-2/

A Year On – Criticism of MCFC Fans in the Media

In the build up to Manchester City’s League Cup final against Aston Villa last year (2020) I was somewhat deflated by the way in which some in the media were critical of City fans. There wasn’t any one thing in particular that prompted this but it was something that had been growing for some time. It was all connected with the general stereotyping of City fans and the language being used by some to write negatively about them. I decided to write a lengthy piece on how I felt about this and I published it on my Facebook and twitter accounts the day after the League Cup final (the final was on 1st March 2020).

Sadly, one year on and little has changed. Ah well! So for those who missed it last year here is the piece:

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If you would like to read other in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) and listen to my 1995 interview with John Bond, then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

On This Day – The Last Fans Wembley Trip?

A year ago today (1st March 2020) I like thousands of other Manchester City and Aston Villa supporters travelled to Wembley for the League Cup final. 82,145 were there that day and now it seems so unlikely that we’ll have anywhere near that figure at a game for some time.

It was the last time I attended a live game of football (I missed the Manchester Derby the week after) although none of us believed that at the time. I enjoyed Wembley that day – as I do every trip (well, at least I do beforehand. 2013 FAC final was not so great, nor one or two semi-finals in recent years!) – and I hope that one day we can all be there again for a major final.

The game itself saw City race to a 2-0 lead within thirty minutes with Rodri (20) and Aguero (30) netting. Villa pulled a goal back 4 minutes before half time and it was a tense match. City did enough to win the game 2-1 of course, becoming the last (and only) team in England to win a major competition in front of a crowd that season.

It’s been a strange year since then for us all and it’s been a difficult year for many of us. I hope that life can return to normal and that football crowds of this size and scale get a chance to gather once more. Here’s hoping.

Delia’s Day

On this day (28th February) in 2005 goals from Robbie Fowler (2) and Antoine Sibierski gave Manchester City a 3-2 victory at Norwich City, but the most newsworthy part of the night came when Norwich’s Delia Smith went on to the pitch at half time to encourage the home fans to make a bit of noise.  

She memorably called out: “A message for the best football supporters in the world: We need a twelfth man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be having you! Come on!”

A lot of people in the media both then and in the years that have followed, criticised Delia but the truth is that she was exhibiting the type of passion and fervour for her club that many of us want to see. Maybe the manner was a bit too much but how great would it be if those in charge of our clubs could demonstrate similar passion?

A Special relationship

As West Ham visit the Etihad Stadium today (27th February 2021) to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Premier League I thought I’d take a look at the special relationship between the fans of the two clubs.

Similarities

Both City and West Ham fans have a shared understanding of football history, status and achievements with supporters aware of their club’s traditions, rivalries and shared history. The two clubs’ roots are very much based around hardworking working class areas of their cities with the supporters of both the Hammers and the Blues coming traditionally from the working classes. In recent years an analysis of the original shareholders at the majority of Football League clubs identified that by 1900 City’s shareholders came mostly from the working class – a larger percentage than at any club other than West Ham who had a slightly higher percentage. This demonstrates that those who owned both City and West Ham were representative of the fans on the terraces and that these clubs were similarly organised and run. As a result of this both clubs were representative of their communities in ways in which their nearest local rivals were not at the time.

Both clubs have enjoyed stylish, attractive football over the years with a belief that the game should be an entertainment. The roots of this go back decades at both clubs with West Ham’s Ted Fenton and Ron Greenwood influencing men such as Malcolm Allison and John Bond who managed the Blues. 

Recently, City fans have been delighted to see Manuel Pellegrini and Pablo Zabaleta become Hammers following a line that includes other popular Blues such as Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley.

Attendances

The support both clubs have received has varied at times but what is abundantly clear is that they have remained the most loyal in the country regardless of League status. West Ham, like City, have never been the worst supported club in their division (both United and Arsenal have!) and West Ham’s attendances over the decades have been fairly consistent, never dipping below 16,000. Recent years have of course seen both City and West Ham eclipse previous record average attendances thanks to the larger capacity of their current homes.

Successes and Struggles

Although West Ham did not become a League side until 1919 (City joined the League as Ardwick in 1892), the Hammers didn’t waste much time in progressing, reaching Division One and their first FA Cup final in 1923. The 1960s was a glorious period for West Ham – as it was with City – winning their first European trophy, the ECWC, in 1965. City won the same trophy in 1970 meaning that the Hammers were the second English team to win a major UEFA trophy and City were the fourth (For those wondering – the Fairs Cup was not a UEFA tournament and its entry requirements were not based on performance at times).

Of course both teams have had periods of struggle, ensuring that when success is achieved the fans of both clubs do not take this for granted. The great Malcolm Allison, a former Hammer & Blue, once told me in an interview that it’s important to “celebrate each success as if it’s your first, because it could well be your last.” Although he was perceived as a boastful character at times his philosophy, gained through his experiences at West Ham as a player, is one both sets of fans seem to agree with.

Celebrating the title – 2014

We must not forget how gracious and sporting the majority of West Ham fans were in 2014 when City became champions of England, securing their first ever league and cup double. That day the Blues beat the Hammers 2-0 with goals from Nasri (39) and Kompany (49). Manuel Pellegrini’s City were applauded and congratulated extensively that day – something that hasn’t happened with the fans of some other clubs when City have won the title.

The “You’ll be back” Game

The biggest demonstration of the special relationship between the fans of the two clubs came in May 1987. City were relegated after a 2-0 defeat at West Ham.  At the end of the game City supporters and West Ham fans climbed over the fences and onto the pitch. Some thought that the two sets of supporters were about to confront each other, but the fans knew differently. The Hammers began chanting “You’ll be back” and both groups swapped scarves and souvenirs on the pitch. It was the kind of moment that should have been widely reported in the media but at the time focus tended to be on hooliganism and confrontation rather than the positives of football support. City had been relegated, but their supporters did not seek revenge.  The West Ham fans could have ridiculed, but they didn’t.  If only those condemning football fans at the time could have seen the two sets of loyal supporters genuinely appreciating and understanding each other.

The relationship between the fans of the two clubs is not something that is widely discussed or promoted but it is something that has endured. City fans have never forgotten the ‘You’ll be back’ game and in recent years, as others have unfairly mocked both sets of fans, the supporters of both the Blues and the Hammers seem to understand and respect each other. Inevitably, there will always be banter during a game but outside of the match the mutual recognition and respect always seems to win through.

To many West Ham are the City of the South – a proud football club with a great history and heritage, combined with a loyal and passionate fanbase.

Want To Read More Like This?

If you would like to read more like this and all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 250+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

While you’re here why not check out the frank audio interview with former WHU player and MCFC boss John Bond? Taster clip here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/24/liverpool-1-mcfc-3-john-bonds-views-on-liverpools-reaction/

Brian Clough’s Last

On this day (27th February) in 1993 Manchester City defeated Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground in the Premier League.  The scorers were David White and Garry Flitcroft.  The win in this first Premier League season was important to City of course but this game was also the last time Brian Clough managed a side against City.  

Look carefully at the above photo – clearly that’s David White, but look at the Forest player to the left of the image. Yes, it’s Roy Keane.

I did the last recorded interview with Peter Swales back in 1995-96 and I asked him about Brian Clough and the England job. Swales had been the boss of the FA Selection Committee for many years and Clough never seemed to be given the chance to manage England. Swales responded to my question about Clough by saying words to the effect of ‘We could’ve had Cloughie at England – and at City – bit he’d have wanted to run the whole thing. And that was my job.’

In the interview Swales explained that Clough had wanted the City job in 1983 (when Billy McNeill was appointed).