Video Talk on History of Football in Manchester

I didn’t realise this was available but here’s film of a talk plus Q&A I did about the early history of football in Manchester. It’s of interest to anyone keen on the origins of football or any of the Manchester clubs… Indeed the social history of Manchester. It lasts about 55 minutes and was part of the promotional work connected with my book ‘The Emergence of Footballing Cultures: Manchester 1840-1919’, published by Manchester University Press.

Here’s the recording:

If you are interested in the book then that can be bought direct from Manchester University Press or via usual retailers, such as Amazon:

You can find a list of my other books here:

Where Were You?

On this day (January 20) in 1900 the attendance stats (see image) seen here were published in various newspapers. Of course, as a historian who researches these sorts of things it does not surprise me at all that Manchester City were the best supported club at this stage. However, I can understand why some may have been surprised back then. City had only just been promoted for the first time the previous season.

In the end Manchester’s Blues ended the season as the third best supported club with an average of 16,000 (League champions Aston Villa attracted 19,825 and 5th placed Newcastle 16,725). City ended the season 7th in the top division.

For those wondering Newton Heath (Manchester United) averaged 6,225 and were the 16th best supported club. Liverpool averaged 11,325 and were 5th best supported club.

On This Day: Christmas at Manchester City

Had your Christmas dinner yet? If not then spare a thought for those days when professional football in England would take place on Christmas Day. In the modern era the thought of playing League football on Christmas Day is totally unacceptable, but in years gone by games were played on consecutive days over Christmas, including Christmas Day, and these were often the best attended matches of the winter.  

The last Christmas Day game featuring Manchester City took place in 1957 when the Blues were defeated 2-1 at Burnley.  The City team for that landmark game was:  Trautmann, Leivers, Little, Barnes, Ewing, Warhurst, Barlow, Kirkman, Johnstone, Hayes, and Fagan.  Fionan Fagan was the last City player to score on Christmas Day

The following day City defeated Burnley 4-1 at Maine Road in front of a crowd of 47,285.  The only change to the line up was Ron Phoenix, who replaced Bobby Johnstone. 

The First Noel

The first League game ever played by City on Christmas Day was at Christmas 1896 against Newton Heath (present day Manchester United).  The game was played at Bank Street, Clayton (roughly across the road from the Etihad, the site of the BMX centre behind the present Velodrome) and was attended by 18,000 – a figure described by the Athletic News as being huge for Newton Heath:  “The crowd was an enormous one and I never saw so many lads at a football match.  They were really the cause of the encroaching in the first half, for they were continually creeping under the rails, and as a natural consequence their elders were bound to follow if they were to get a glimpse of the game.”  

Fans streamed on to the pitch on several occasions and the game was almost abandoned at half time:  “Mr. J. Parlby, one of the League Management Committee, told the crowd point blank that if they did not keep beyond the touchline, the game could not proceed, and the Newton Heath Club would have to suffer the consequences.”

Parlby, was actually a City director, and his words may have been influenced by the fact Newton Heath were the better side that day!  The game ended 2-1 to the Heathens.

The two sides met on two further occasions on Christmas Day, the last (1902) ended 1-1 at Clayton before 40,000 with Billy Meredith scoring for the Blues.

Highest Christmas Crowd

City tended to be away from home on Christmas Day, but the best Maine Road crowd on the 25th was 56,750 in 1930 when City faced Arsenal.  The following day a mere 17,624 attended the return game at Highbury.

The previous year a crowd reported as 70,000 watched Aston Villa beat City 2-1 on Boxing Day at Maine Road.  This is the highest Christmas crowd at a City League game.

Christmas Thriller

Perhaps the most entertaining – if disappointing – game ever played by the Blues on Christmas Day was the 6-5 defeat by Bury at Gigg Lane in 1925.  

Debuts

The following players made their Manchester City League debuts on Christmas Day:

1946 – Peter Robinson (V. Plymouth Argyle)

1933 – Frank Swift (V. Derby County)

1902 – Johnny Mahon (V. Manchester United)

1909 – George Wynn (V. Bradford Park Avenue)

The First ‘Manchester Derbies’

Back in 1881-82 the two teams that would eventually become Manchester City and Manchester United met for the first time with the first fixture occurring on this sate (12th November 1881). To mark this anniversary here’s a free article on the first two derby matches. Both were friendlies of course!

The First Time

Back in 1881-82 the two teams that would eventually become Manchester City and Manchester United met for the first time. This was only a year after the first reported games played by the clubs, then known as St Mark’s (MCFC) and Newton Heath (MUFC). The first St Mark’s game to make it into print was against Macclesfield Baptists on 12th November 1880 while Newton Heath’s earliest known game came seven days later against Bolton Wanderers’ 2nd team.

On the anniversary weekend of St. Mark’s first reported game, 12th November 1881, Newton Heath and West Gorton (St Mark’s) met for the first time.  The game, played at North Road, Newton Heath, attracted an attendance of around 3,000 (according to details recorded many years later – I’m dubious about the number but we have nothing contemporary that’s accurate so we’ll go with that).  

The ‘Heathens’, who went on to become Manchester United in 1902, defeated West Gorton (St. Mark’s) 3-0 in what was described as a ‘pleasant game’.  I wonder what the reporter would make of 21st Century derby matches!  Two goals were scored in the first half, one being an own goal by one of West Gorton’s ‘backs’.  It is not reported who scored the goal, all the ‘Ashton Reporter’ match report says is that the player was “attempting to stop a shot by E. Thomas”.  

One of the significant aspects of the way this game was reported which has created some confusion over the years concerns the St. Mark’s name.  It was recorded as West Gorton (St. Mark’s) as opposed to St.Mark’s (West Gorton) and that change has caused some to suggest that the church were unhappy in some way with the club.  There was a suggestion that the club was attracting players from outside of the parish and that was an issue, but none of this now appears to be correct.  The church appeared to be happy with the way the side was developing and, if anything, the selection of Kirkmanshulme Cricket ground actually meant the team were playing fairly close to the St. Mark’s rectory.  The move potentially increased the opportunity for spreading the church’s work and that may be why the person sending in the match reports to the local newspaper changed the emphasis.

The Return Match

The return match took place at the Kirkmanshulme Cricket ground (West Gorton’s home) on 4th March 1882. On the image above this is the cricket ground to the right of Tank Row (and left of Belle Vue Zoo).  

West Gorton (St Mark’s) gained revenge for the 3-0 defeat in their first encounter, as they overturned Newton Heath 2-1. The Gortonians had managed to take the lead, via Charles Beastow, as early as the eighth minute, and then had to hold off the Heathens who had been awarded a couple of consecutive corners.  The second actually lead to West Gorton’s second goal.  James Collinge obtained possession in front of the West Gorton goal then proceeded to run the full length of the pitch, before sending the ball flying between the Heathens’ posts amid loud cheering.  

The score remained 2-0 until late in the game when, according to reports, the Heathens baffled the home ‘keeper Edward Kitchen by performing several good passes before the ball entered the goal.  Exactly how baffled Kitchen was we don’t know, but we do know that this game was well attended.

Years later the attendance that day was reported as ‘around 5,000’, although it would be unfair and ridiculous to suggest that this was the actual attendance.  It seems incredible that around a sixth of Gorton’s population would have been able to attend a game which, at that point, was not regarded as a ‘derby’ or an important fixture whatsoever.  Nevertheless. it does provide an indication that football in West Gorton was becoming popular.

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Manchester A Football History part 5

This is the fourth chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). Subscribers get full access to this; every earlier chapter; every upcoming chapter; and all other material on http://www.GJFootballArchive.com for as long as they subscribe.

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

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Manchester’s Footballing Pioneers, 1863–1904: A Collective Biography

ABSTRACT: Association football had become a prominent part of Manchester’s sporting landscape by 1904 when Manchester achieved its first national success. Its journey had been difficult, relying on the efforts of several key individuals whose relentless determination to widen the sport’s participation ensured the game succeeded. This paper provides an analysis of three pioneering figures, John Nall, Fitzroy Norris, and Joshua Parlby, who took the game from its formalized inception in the region through to its first national successes, considering their class, experience, shared history, and connections, while analyzing what these narratives add to the wider origins of football debate. The author concludes that football’s emergence depended primarily on the activities of key individuals from varying backgrounds who provided the energy, enthusiasm, and organizational structures necessary, while relying on cross-class connections, to establish the game within a region.

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FA Cup success, football infrastructure and the establishment of Manchester’s footballing identity

ABSTRACT: Contemporary Manchester is recognized internationally as a footballing city, with both Manchester United and Manchester City acknowledged as prominent clubs. However, the city has not always been a force in the game, nor has the game always been important across Manchester’s social spectrum. This paper examines how Manchester first became established as a footballing city, identify- ing that success in the FA Cup in 1904 stimulated interest in the game and con- siders how the legacy of that victory enabled the game to develop in terms of participation and spectating. It also considers the social mix of attendees at pro- fessional games in the city, and closes by concluding that footballing success generated increased interest and was the catalyst for improvement in the infra- structure for both participation and attendance, enabling Manchester’s footballing identity to become established.

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The Second Manchester Derby In The League – 1894-95

DERBY: 2

DATE 5th January 1895

DIVISION Two

VENUE Clayton

ATTENDANCE 12,000

NEWTON HEATH 4 (Clarkin 2, Donaldson, Smith)

MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Sharples)

Newton Heath: William DOUGLAS, John McCARTNEY, Fred ERENTZ, Harry STONES, James McNAUGHT, William STEWART, John CLARKIN, Robert DONALDSON, James DOW, Richard SMITH, James PETERS. Manager: Alf Albut

Manchester City: Charlie WILLIAMS, John WALKER, David ROBSON, Harry SMITH, Robert JONES, John McBRIDE, Billy MEREDITH, Pat FINNERHAN, Sandy ROWAN, William McREDDlE, James SHARPLES. Manager: Joshua Parlby

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The First Manchester Derby In The League – 1894

SEASON 1894-1895

DERBY: 1

DATE 3rd November 1894

DIVISION Two

VENUE Hyde Road

ATTENDANCE 14,000

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Meredith 2)

NEWTON HEATH 5 (Smith 4, Clarkin)

Manchester City: George HUTCHINSON, Harry SMITH, John WALKER, George MANN, Joseph NASH, Fred DYER, Billy MEREDITH, Pat FINNERHAN, Sandy ROWAN, James SHARPLES, Bob MILARVIE. Manager: Joshua Parlby

Newton Heath: William DOUGLAS, John McCARTNEY, Fred ERENTZ, George PERRINS, James McNAUGHT, William DAVIDSON, John CLARKIN, Robert DONALDSON, James DOW, Richard SMITH, James PETERS. Manager: Alf Albut

BACKGROUND

Both sides had joined the Football League in 1892 when Ardwick (Manchester City) entered the newly formed Second Division and Newton Heath (Manchester United) joined the enlarged First Division. At the end of this first season Newton Heath finished bottom of the First Division and Ardwick in fifth place in Division Two. Newton Heath survived in the top flight by succeeding in the Test matches that were used to decide promotion and relegation in the early years of the League. The 1893-94 season saw Ardwick finish 13th out of 15 teams in the Second Division, whereas Newton Heath were again bottom of the First Division. This time the Heathens were unsuccessful in the Test matches and were relegated, joining Ardwick in Division Two. During the close season Ardwick had been reformed as Manchester City and were determined to make an impact. A number of new players had been signed by City secretary Joshua Parlby, including William ‘Billy’ Meredith. The derby was to be Meredith’s home debut. Prior to the derby, City had won only four games out of eleven in the League, although they had scored thirty goals including four in their previous game – a 5-4 defeat at Newcastle United! Newton Heath had lost only once in the League at Burton, and so entered the match as very much the team in form.

BEFORE THE GAME

            P          W         D          L           F          A          Pts

NH        7          3          3          1          17        11        9

CITY      11        4          1          6          30        30        9

MATCH VERDICT

This was the first ever League match between the Manchester clubs. It proved to be an exciting game of end to end attacking football leading to a conclusive victory for Newton Heath. Smith, Newton’s inside left was in irresistible form and set up derby history by scoring most goals in a single match. City were well beaten on the day, finding the Heathens’ defence and McNaught in particular, difficult to break down. Some consolation came from the goalscoring home debut of the legendary Billy Meredith, who was to give both clubs such wonderful service. For goal hero Smith this match marked the high point of a splendid first season for the club. His record four goals were part of 17 strikes in 29 games. During this season and the next, he remained a consistent marksman for the Heathens, but thereafter, lost form and his team place, before leaving the club in 1900. “The Umpire” sports newspaper of the day described the build-up to the first ever League derby and recorded the first derby goal as follows: “This League match was looked upon as the local Derby in Association football, and in spite of the dull and threatening weather the much-improved ground at Hyde Road presented an animated spectacle. When play started the weather was still dull, but the crowd rolled in fast, until probably over 10,000 were present. The City played towards the hotel end, and the sun coming out strongly was much against them early on. The excitement was intense as Meredith raced away and centred finely but the defence was equal to it and sternly repelled. At the other end the home side were not equally fortunate, as after Hutchinson had placed a beauty over the bar, Smith headed past him and opened the scoring for Newton after thirteen minutes play”.“The Umpire” then summarised the first ever League derby in the following terms: ”Although some allowance must be made on account of Smith (Harry) being hurt, it must be admitted that on the day the winners were the better team. Their combination was excellent and hardly a fault could be found with any of the players. Douglas made amends for his somewhat poor form of the previous week and, judging by the cheers with which he was greeted, he is still a great favourite on the Ardwick ground. All the backs played finely, but the highly finished display of McNaught is deserving of special mention. Dow played about his best game so far this season, one good feature being his unselfishness. Donaldson played as hard as ever, although he is not quite so unselfish as he might be. On the City side Hutchinson had little chance with any of the goals scored against him, albeit he gave one the appearance of being far from safe. Walker however, played very finely, but Dyer was by no means brilliant at half, in which position Mann was about the most conspicuous. The winning half-backs were clearly too good for the opposing forwards, but the play of the young Welsh player, Meredith and Finnerhan, was far superior to that of any other”.

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The First Competitive Manchester Derby (Season 1891-1892)

DATE 3rd October 1891

COMPETITION FA Cup 1st Rd (Qualifying)

VENUE North Road

ATTENDANCE 10,000

NEWTON HEATH 5 (Sneddon, Doughty, Farman 2, Edge)

ARDWICK 1 (Pearson)

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