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:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this and all other content when you subscribe today.

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. You can read about the FA Cup win here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/?p=2672

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:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/04/25/who-said-city-couldnt-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):

This has been a taster of the material on this site. Subscribers have access to over 300 articles and posts, with many more scheduled over the coming weeks. Posted already for subscribers are exclusive audio interviews I have performed with Malcolm Allison, John Bond and George Graham (more to follow); the entire Manchester A Football History book (now out of print) and various other long read articles. It costs £20 a year (that’s about £1.67 a month) or £3 per month if you want to sign up a month at a time. Whichever subscription is taken out subscribers get full access to everything posted for as long as they are subscribers. You can subscriber here:

Subscribe to get access

Subscriptions cost £20 a year or £3 a month

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.

Subscribe to get access

This is a sample of the in-depth material available on this site on Manchester’s clubs, players & grounds. If you would like to read all the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) 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 270+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

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…

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to listen to this interview or would like to read the in-depth articles on this site 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 200+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

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

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

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

Subscribe to get access

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

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Manchester A Football History part 30

This is the twenty-ninth 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

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.