The Pride of Manchester?

As we build up to the Manchester derby this weekend the usual questions of who represents Manchester best crops up, as does the ‘you’re not from Manchester’ argument. People also talk about Manchester history and so on, so I thought I’d write a few thoughts here to hopefully help anyone with their Manchester geography, history etc. Some fans will love this; some may hate it, but either way it’s all factual. Here goes….

On the question of history: The earliest recorded game for Manchester United (as Newton Heath) is in November 1880 (against Bolton Wanderer’s 2nd team) while the earliest recorded game for Manchester City (as St Mark’s West Gorton) was one week earlier than United’s game. Much is made of the 1878 formation date but that’s a bit of a red herring. There is no evidence of football participation by the Heathens until November 1880. From 1878 Newton Heath did play cricket and perform athletics. Similarly, St Mark’s are known to have played cricket from the 1860s but this does not mean the club should trace its history of football activity to 1867 (or any other date prior to 1880). I go into a lot more detail on all of this in The Emergence of Footballing Cultures: Manchester 1840-1919 but subscribers can also read the evidence & more via the following link:

Of course City was the first of the two clubs to take on the Manchester name, doing so in 1894. That year Newton Heath also tried to reform as Manchester but were prevented from doing so as there was already a Manchester FC in existence (the rugby club). Again you can read the evidence and facts in the Emergence of Footballing Cultures:

Also on the question of history… Manchester City were the first to find national success when they won the Second Division title in 1899 (also becoming the first Manchester side to earn promotion). City were also the first Manchester team to win a major trophy when they won the FA Cup in 1904. United were the first team to win the League with their first national success coming in 1908. United were the first to win a European trophy, winning the European Cup at Wembley in 1968, while City’s first European trophy (the European Cup Winners’ Cup) came in 1970 at Vienna. Both successes of course predate the first UEFA-tournament successes of Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and so many other perceived European giants (note: The Fairs Cup was not a UEFA tournament).

On representing the city of Manchester the point is often made, usually by City fans, that United ‘don’t come from Manchester’, so here’s a bit about geography: It is true that Old Trafford is not in the city of Manchester and that it’s in the borough of Trafford (not Salford as some say). United have been based there since 1910. Of course Trafford is within Greater Manchester, just as Bolton, Wigan, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and the city of Salford are. Prior to 1910 United played in Clayton and Newton Heath. At the time of their formation Newton Heath was not a part of Manchester. It was added to the city in 1890.

Similarly, West Gorton, where Manchester City was first founded as St Mark’s (West Gorton) was not part of the city of Manchester until 1890. Neither club was based in the city of Manchester at time of formation. City’s roots included various moves and name changes, with them settling in Ardwick in 1887. Ardwick had been incorporated into Manchester in 1838, meaning that from 1887 the Blues were based within the city of Manchester. The club moved to Maine Road in 1923 and their current home in 2003, both of which were within the city of Manchester by the time of the club’s move. Whichever way you look at it City have been based in the city of Manchester since 1887 while Newton Heath/United were based in the city of Manchester from 1890 to 1910. So for those who would like the maths that’s 135 years v 20 years.

In terms of first blood in the Manchester derby… Newton Heath beat Ardwick in the first derby in a first team competition that still counts today. That was the FA Cup in 1890-91 and you can read about that here:

Ultimately, all of these are merely bragging rights for particular views but I thought I’d post the facts because, all too often the facts get misreported and myths profligate.

Denis Law and United’s Relegation

Over the years there has been a lot of discussion on Denis Law and his backheeled goal for Manchester City v Manchester United at Old Trafford in April 1974. If you’re a Blue you tend to say it relegated United; if you’re a Red you tend to say ‘absolutely not! It made no difference.’ So, for this feature I decided to focus on the facts, emotion and mood of the era to paint an accurate picture of that day and the significance or not of that goal. Hopefully, Blues & Reds alike will gain a good understanding of it all. I include quotes from some of the interviews I’ve performed in the past. This article will be free to read until 27th September then it’s available to subscribers only. Here goes…

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The Manchester Derby

Prior to this weekend’s meeting between the men’s teams of Manchester City and United there have been 187 derbies. This weekend’s will be the 188th (people often miss the first derby!) Here’s the breakdown of those games and links to articles:

Played 187 City Won: 57 United Won: 77 Drawn: 53

The first derby was a FA Cup tie in 1891-92. This is often overlooked these days but was a full-bloodied competitive FA Cup tie so always has to be included in records etc. The details of that game can be read here:

My website carries a lot of content about derby games, as well as plenty on City and United, so have a look and see whether there’s anything of interest. This link is a search of Manchester derby content:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-derbies/

Fergie’s Flops

On this day (23rd September) in 1989

Attendance: 43,246; City 5 United 1

Ferguson’s £9m side are destroyed in the most one-sided Manchester derby in years by Machin’s bargain basement Blues.  By the 36thminute City race to a remarkable three goal lead and, despite a magnificent goal from Hughes, they are rampant. “Fergie Out” cry the United fans as the fifth enters the net.

A Manchester Derby Record Crowd

On this day (20 September) in 1947 a crowd of approximately 78,000 witnessed the first post-war Manchester derby.  A tense match ended goalless before the derby’s record crowd on a club ground. This attendance remained the highest for a Manchester derby until the 2011 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium. The return fixture, also played at Maine Road, was watched by 71,690. Subscribers can read the story of the 1947 game (background, match report, statistics etc.) below:

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6-5 in your Central League Derby!

I was recently asked by Brendan Gahan if I ‘had any details of a Central League derby at Maine Rd that finished 6-5 to City. I think it was either 66/67 or 67/ 68, there was a decent crowd of around 20,000.’ We’ll, I do. The answer is…

The game was played on 15 April 1968 and was watched by 2,503 (not quite the 20,000 remembered). City’s scorers were Mundy, Clay, Jones (2), Cunliffe and Bingham. The City starting 11 included Ricky Hatton’s father Ray: Dowd, Hutton, Woods, Jeffries, Booth, Mundy, Glennon, Clay, Jones, Cunliffe & Bingham.According to the programme (provided by Dave Masey) the half time score had been 5-4 to City and the United scorers were Herd 3 and Gowling 2.

I have statistics for most Manchester City Central League games (and first team of course) into the 2000s. If you’re a subscriber to my site and have a query get in touch and I’ll see if I can answer your query. Thanks.

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Manchester’s 1920s Derby Day Rivals

Here’s an interesting clip from this day (9 September) in 1977 featuring two Manchester football fans. This was shown on the BBC north west regional news programme on the eve of the Manchester Derby and originally would’ve included a voiceover which, sadly, has not survived.

The BBC’s David Davies talks with Nellie Walker, a supporter of Manchester City since the mid 1920s and Charlie Swinchatt, who had supported Manchester United since that time too.

The derby the following day ended in a 3-1 City win with Brian Kidd netting a couple. You can view highlights here:

The Great Billy Meredith

101 years ago today the great Billy Meredith returned to Manchester City from Manchester United. This was the third time the legendary Welsh player had joined the Blues – a club he continued to watch and support until his death in 1958. I discussed his life and career with his daughter Winifred (who was 98 at the time) and his grandson Ian Pringle many years ago and they both talked fondly and passionately about his Manchester City connections.

Here for subscribers is a detailed profile of Billy Meredith I wrote about 17 years ago. It appeared in my Hall Of Fame book. Enjoy….

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Eleven Years On: 2011 FA Cup

Had we all been allowed to attend matches last season I would have marked the tenth anniversary of Manchester City’s 2011 FA Cup success with a programme feature. Sadly, Covid prevented that and now, a year on, I want to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of that FA Cup success. How time flies!

There are so many angles to that first major success of the modern era for Manchester City and it is impossible to cover them all here. Elsewhere on this website I talk about the 2011 FA Cup run, especially that semi-final win over Manchester United. If you’ve not heard it have a listen to this:

Today I’ll focus on the final itself…

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