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:

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The 1934 FA Cup Final

Manchester City had reached their second consecutive FA Cup final in 1934. They were to face Portsmouth at Wembley on April 28 1934.

Here for subscribers is a long read on City’s preparations for the final and the game itself:

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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.

Here for subscribers is more information on the song and a recording of fans singing it back in the 1930s…

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If you would like to access everything 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 300+ articles posted so far. The entire Manchester A Football History is already live, so subscribers get all of that too!

European Tours

These days pre-season tours are an expected part of a football club’s activities but that’s not always been the case. Pre-1939 it was highly unusual for English teams to travel for friendlies before a season, but some clubs did enjoy post-season tours. The idea was that a trip to mainland Europe was a reward for first team players after an arduous season. Here for subscribers to my site is a brief overview of some of Manchester City’s European tour firsts.

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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 250+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

City Voices – Memories of the 1920s-50s

Previously I’ve posted about the City Voices project capturing the stories and memories of Manchester City fans (if you’ve missed the story take a look at: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/06/city-voices-project/ ). The idea is to capture the experiences of Blues from all over the globe regardless of age, gender, ethnicity etc. Basically, if you’re a City fan I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been capturing the stories of City fans since the early 1990s and always love hearing individual’s memories and stories. Back in 2002 I interviewed a female supporter called Fran Parker. At the time she was in her early 80s and she was able to talk to me about attending Maine Road in the 1920s to 1950s plus a few memories from the 1990s (for example, she talked about the sadness she felt when Paul Lake swallowed his tongue and how she feared for his life). I loved the fact that she was still attending games and still felt as enthusiastic in 2002 as she had in 1932.

For me it’s the experience of football that needs capturing. The media capture the games and the key moments but supporter views are often ignored or misunderstood. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about here’s a brief trailer of the interview I did with Fran. She does talk about goals, but it’s details like how she felt when Eric Brook scored in the 84,569 game; her umbrella and Dave Ewing stories that are different.

Anyway, have a listen:

If you would like to complete the City Voices questionnaire then please download it here and email it to me at gary@GJFootballArchive-com

https://gjfootballarchive.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/city-voices-modelconsent.docx

One important point to note is that I am keen to hear from fans of all ages based in Manchester, the United Kingdom and around the world. The greater the number that respond the better the archive of fans’ stories will become.

As for Fran Parker’s interview… Over the coming months http://www.GJFootballArchive.com will develop to include some of my interviews (my John Bond interview from 1995 has already been posted). IF you would like to subscribe then see below:

Subscribe to get access to all the content 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 270+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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.

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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