Maine Road

On this day (August 25) in 1923 Maine Road staged its first game. Two decades later it staged the first World Cup match in England and the decade after that the first European Cup game in England. It still holds the record provincial crowd and the record for a League game, and for eighty years it was the home of Manchester City. Here’s a look at the life of Maine Road.

Here for subscribers is a 2,000 word piece on City’s former home. It corrects a few myths (the ‘Wembley of the North – pah! It was better than that when it opened!).

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Hyde Road’s Last City Victory!

On this day (April 2) in 1923 Manchester City won a first team game at Hyde Road for the last time. They defeated Sunderland 1-0 with a goal from Horace Barnes after about thirty minutes. The above is a report of that goal (I love the way these things used to be described – ‘the linesmen drew the attention of the referee…’).

It was a controversial game which angered City’s Hyde Road fans, as this section of the report shows:

Also worth bearing in mind that this was the 3rd game in four days – what would today’s managers make of that! Even in the 1980s I remember games being played on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.

In the other games City had lost 2-0 at Sunderland (March 30) and beaten Chelsea 3-0 (March 31)at Hyde Road.

The gate receipts at Sunderland on Good Friday we’re said to be quite substantial from a 35,000 crowd. So substantial that the Roger Park offices were broken into that night BUT, fortunately for Sunderland, the takings had already been taken from the ground (presumably by staff not fans!).

After this last win at Hyde Rd two further top flight games were played there – a 1-1 with Nottingham Forest and a 0-0 with Newcastle United. Neither of which attracted particularly significant crowds and there was no great ‘Farewell To Hyde Road’ commemoration (if I’d have been around I’d have tried to write a book on the old place). Maybe fans felt the move still wouldn’t happen as Maine Road was some way off completion?

Interesting note:  Maine Road’s last victory was against Sunderland on 21/4/2003 and again there were two further home games to come after it!