Inaccuracies and Myths

Over the last couple of years, usually when there’s a Manchester Derby, a number of myths, inaccuracies and twisting of the facts occurs. It’s usually just fan banter. I don’t normally get involved and try to ensure that whatever I post is factually based and something that is true. However, this week a number of supposed facts about the relationship between City and United have been posted that someone has claimed are ‘facts’ I’ve promoted in my work. So, to allow everyone to see the truth and what I have actually stated I’ve included below the supposed facts as they have been posted by others and then followed that with the truth based on years of research, triangulation etc. First of all the supposed ‘facts’…

This image has been posted outlining ways in which Manchester City are supposed to have helped United. Many of these are inaccurate, complete fabrications or exaggerated and I’d like to state quite clearly the following image does not reflect my views (apart from the bit I’ve added saying: ‘Not to be quoted – Inaccurate’).

This image is not my work and is not to be quoted as it contains inaccuracies.

So, now for the facts…

Starting from the top… 1931 – Nowhere do I say in my writing that City provided United with kit. I have never found any evidence whatsoever to say this is true. I do quote a City fan in my work who talks about how United fans gave themselves the nickname Rags in the 1930s because their kit looked ragged, but that’s a fan story and does not correlate with any evidence of City providing any kit to the Reds. 

In any case United are known to have worn blue before 1931 and at no time, based on years of research by lots of people, did City give United kit. After World War Two City asked fans to help City get kit via fan clothing rations, but that’s not connected with United or 1931. I think (but don’t know, so don’t misquote this) that United may have done the same.

Next the stuff about 1945. I am mystified as to where all that stuff has come from about players going from City to United to help with construction? That’s definitely not something from any book or article I’ve written and no research I’m aware of (certainly not by me) has ever claimed this. I’d love to know what evidence has been found for this. If it’s there then great, but evidence and triangulation are definitely needed when supposed ‘facts’ like these are written. 

Also, Old Trafford was bombed in 1941 not 1945 and United used Maine Rd for about 8 years.

Next the first point about 1958… Again I’d love to know where all that stuff about wages, transport & equipment costs has come from. I’ve never written that. City offered to help United in whatever way they could but to say City covered the costs of all that is a massive exaggeration. 

On the second point about 1958… United did continue to play in the European Cup after Munich so that’s wrong for a start. UEFA did not offer City a place in the competition that City turned down. What happened was that UEFA said if United couldn’t play on then it would be right for City, as a Manchester club, to continue on United’s behalf. The FA said that they would choose a team not UEFA and that it would be Wolves (as they had been second in League). City said they would help United however possible to ensure they played on – that was their aim. Bert Trautmann offered translation services etc. 

The problem is that whenever City’s help for United is exaggerated (or anything like this either way) it makes it easier for others to challenge and then the genuine, real facts get lost. City have helped United a lot over the last 125 years and the facts do not need exaggerating. In my books I talk of City’s cash donations in the early years of the last century which are all properly documented and recorded; of the two clubs working together in an act that was widely perceived by the media as protecting United and killing off the threat from Manchester Central; of the close-relationship between the clubs at times; of the offer to use Maine Road in 1941 (they did offer but that fact gets lost with all that inaccurate stuff); of the offer to use Maine Road again in 1956; of the close relationship and support in 1958… You can read the facts of all this in Manchester A Football History and also in various articles on this site. In fact the whole Manchester A Football History is available to download for annual subscribers here:

Sorry to have gone on about this but facts, evidence and triangulation are important. These are essential to my work and so when someone tells me that a load of inaccurate information is being circulated as fact and that it’s come directly from my work then I have to explain. Banter between rival fans is one thing but please don’t exaggerate or twist stories and claim that I’ve said they are facts when I haven’t.

A Million on the Streets of Manchester

On this day (May 1st) in 1934 Manchester City, who had won the FA Cup for the second time in their history, took part in an incredible home coming parade.

Deservedly Manchester took time out to celebrate and what seemed like the whole of Manchester lined the city’s streets.  The authoritative Pathe News claimed there were over a million on the streets.  The film company was not known for exaggeration and if that figure is accurate – and their footage suggests it is – then this remains the largest homecoming in Mancunian football history (It was claimed in 1999 that 700,000 people had welcomed Manchester United’s treble winning team through the streets).  

Various speeches were made into a microphone set up on the Town Hall steps (the BBC were broadcasting this live on radio), and the players and officials were given a civic reception. Mancunians enjoyed the success and wanted more.  

In Albert Square Mancunians sang their celebratory songs including “Who Said City Couldn’t Play” – the earliest known recording of a City specific song:

Who Said City Couldn’t Play,

City Couldn’t Play, City Couldn’t Play,

Who Said City Couldn’t Play,

City Couldn’t Play football?

You can hear a recording of the song and read more about it here:

Who Said City Couldn’t Play?

The 1933-4 League programme still had two games left for the Blues.  On 2nd May – the day after the parade – City suffered a 3-2 defeat at Liverpool, and then on 5th May City demolished Wolves 4-0 at Maine Road. Before the game City staff, assisted by a couple of police officers, carried the trophy around the ground on some kind of wooden board.  The fans were delighted.

During a week of FA Cup celebrations an illuminated bus journeyed around the city covered in City’s colours.  On the front above the bus number, ‘City 2 1’, was the Manchester coat of arms.  On the side the message ‘Welcome to the victors’ proudly illuminated next to a picture of the FA Cup and a drawing of Sam Cowan.  

You can see film of this illuminated ‘Victory Bus’, preserved by the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, here (the bus can be seen after 5 mins 38 seconds but other scenes connected with the homecoming can be viewed after about 3 minutes):

https://www.nwfa.mmu.ac.uk/viewVideo.php?token=2495agw5666w7h114804aP5nxZYm4638b49Hq2dw

You can view Pathe’s coverage of the homecoming here (the commentary is a bit cringeworthy but listen out for comment about a million people on the streets; the scenes certainly suggest there was too):

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European Semi Finals

Tonight Manchester City take on Paris Saint Germain in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi-final. The Blues won the first leg 2-1 and are hopeful of reaching their first Champions League final. It would not of course be their first two-legged semi-final win in Europe – that came way back in 1970. 

You can read about that 1970 ECWC semi-final here:

Manchester United were the first of the region’s sides to compete in European competition and they reached a European Cup semi-final in 1956-57. They’d played their earlier rounds at Maine Road, where they’d attracted significant attendances (including their current record home European crowd) but they moved the semi-final to Old Trafford. Here for subscribers is the story of that campaign:

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80 Years Ago Today The Bombing of Old Trafford

On  this day (11th March) in 1941 Old Trafford was hit by bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe.  The highly industrialised Trafford Park had been the target and by daybreak the news of damage to Old Trafford was circulating around Manchester, although the Manchester Guardian and other newspapers did not mention the ground by name.  Due to the wartime situation the newspaper did not want to give away too much information and reported:  “Slight damage was done to dwelling-houses in one or two working class districts and slight outbreaks of fire were reported from a football ground and a training institute.”

The ‘slight damage’ saw a bomb hit United’s Main Stand.  The stand was almost completely wrecked, while the pitch was scorched by the blast.  Manchester City contacted United and offered the use of Maine Road immediately and the first home United match to be staged at City’s ground was the 5th April meeting with Blackpool in the North Regional League.  The Seasiders’ won 3-2 before a crowd of around 2,000. 

Further wartime matches followed over the course of the next four years with United paying the Blues an annual rent of £5,000 plus a share of the gate receipts.  Initially City were to use United’s training ground, The Cliff, for reserve fixtures, but both sides also used Old Trafford at times.

After the war United were granted £4,800 to help cover the costs of tidying up the venue, and then a further £17,478 was given to help rebuild the Main Stand and damaged terracing.  This allowed the redevelopment of Old Trafford to commence and between 1945 and 1949 the Main Stand was rebuilt as was the terracing at the Popular Side (United Road).

This was a brief section from Manchester A Football History. The entire book (including images) is now free to download for subscribers to this site. See: https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-a-football-history/page/4/ or subscribe below.

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Manchester A Football History part 35

This is the final part of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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An Audio Interview About Manchester’s Early Football History

I did several interviews about Manchester’s early football history a few years back. Most of these seemed to revolve around the story of Hulme Athenaeum. This is one of those interviews which I hope subscribers will be interested in. Sadly, I cannot recognise which radio station I did this interview for, nor can I find the exact date I did it (I’m guessing it was about 2015).

I hope subscribers enjoy it. If you do I’ll post more like this over the coming months. I’ve lots of interviews (of me and by me interviewing fans, players, managers etc.) which I’d like subscribers to listen to – if they enjoy them of course!

Anyway, here goes…

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Manchester A Football History part 34

This is the thirty-third chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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Manchester A Football History part 33

This is the thirty-second chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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Manchester A Football History part 32

This is the thirty-first chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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If you would like to read this piece and all the other in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe below. 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 200+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Manchester A Football History part 31

This is the thirtieth chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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