A National Record – 84,569

“I think Brook played in every position for the Club – he certainly went in nets once – and was a very good player.  When the goal went in it was marvellous.  Nirvana.  On the final whistle I didn’t need to use my feet to leave I was wedged in a solid wall of human flesh and swept through the exit gate like a surfboarder.” Supporter Denis Houlston talking in 2003 about Eric Brook’s goal in the 1934 FA Cup tie with Stoke which was watched by 84,569.

It has virtually slipped out of living memory but in 1934 the largest footballing crowd ever assembled on a club ground witnessed a game that still, almost 90 years later, remains etched in the record books.  84,569 paid to watch City face Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-final at Maine Road in March 1934 – a crowd that surpassed Manchester’s previous best (also a national record at the time) by around 8,000 (set in 1924 when Cardiff faced City in another FA Cup quarter-final). Here for subscribers is a long read on the day when 84,569 gathered for a football match in Manchester:

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If you would like to read 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 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

The story of City’s game against Sheffield Wednesday (Hillsborough’s record crowd) can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/17/hillsboroughs-record-crowd-swfc-v-mcfc/

City’s record League crowd can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/23/manchester-citys-record-league-crowd/

Hillsborough’s Record Crowd: SWFC v MCFC

On 17th February 1934 a remarkable crowd, with thousands travelling from Manchester, watched a thrilling FA Cup tie between Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City. Subscribers to this blog can read the story of that game, including photographs.

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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.

The Day Manchester City Chose To Wear Scarlet!

With City playing Everton this week (17th February 2021) here for subscribers is an in-depth piece on the time the Blues chose to wear scarlet in a crucial match with the Toffees.

Here is the story of the game:

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If you would like to read this in-depth article and all the others on this site (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 230+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Who Said City Couldn’t Play?

Over the years several Manchester City fans have asked me about an old City song that I’ve played at various talks and events I’ve staged. The song, ‘Who Said City Couldn’t Play’, was based on a popular tune of the period and was sung by fans in the 1930s, possibly even the 1920s.

Research has shown that it was sung extensively in 1934 during City’s FA Cup run and it survived into the post war period. Many older supporters, including my father, remember people singing it at games during the forties and fifties.

It is the earliest chant style City song that I’ve tracked down, though I do know that City fans did sing music hall song on the terraces from the 1890s onwards.

At the 1934 homecoming the brass band leading the procession played the tune over and over again, proving that this was a well known and popular City chant.

I think there must have been a couple of verses but sadly these haven’t survived. I also wonder who the people were who said that City couldn’t play? Was it rival fans or, more likely, a couple of journalists who had criticised the club in the 1920s or early 30s? Perhaps it was tied in with the 1925-26 season when the club reached Wembley but was also relegated in the same season.

Over a million people, according to several reports, were on the streets to welcome City back in 1934. It was an incredible celebration and ‘Who Said City Couldn’t Play?’ was central to those celebrations. It was sung by all ages and by men and women. It wasn’t simply a small group of fans.

Here’s a low quality recording I tracked down years ago of fans singing it in 1934. This is from a few-recordings I managed to uncover. It’s not the full song but should give fans an idea of what it was like. Enjoy! Maybe one day we’ll all be able to gather at a football match again and sing songs like this.

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If you would like to read everything else on this site then please subscribe. I’m not employed by anyone and do not take advertising on this site, so every subscription directly helps my research and writing. 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. Why not sign up for a month, see what’s here and then cancel if you don’t think it’s appropriate for you? Each subscriber gets full access to the 200+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks. The entire Manchester A Football History is being posted by the end of February 2021, so subscribers will get all of that too!

MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE – SEASON 1933-34

The Matches

City were keen to improve on their 1932-3 League position of 16th in Division One and managed to open the season with only 3 defeats in the first 15 matches.  The best result of this period was a 4-1 victory over Sunderland at the start of November.

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Manchester City Hall of Fame: Eric Brook’s significant game

City 1 Stoke City 0

FA Cup 6th round

3rd March 1934

Goalscorer: Brook

City Team: Swift, Barnett, Dale, Busby, Cowan, Bray, Toseland, Marshall, Tilson, Herd, Brook 

Attendance: 84,569

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