Stephen Preston

Mancunian Stephen Preston was, apparently, playing football near the New Inn, Ancoats, when United official Fred Palmer was walking by.  Palmer stopped to watch and was impressed with centre-forward Preston.  The player was signed up and on 7th September 1901 he made his mark with two goals on his debut against Gainsborough Trinity.

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Tom Leigh

After a career that had seen him play for Burton Swifts and New Brighton Tower Tom Leigh joined Newton Heath in March 1900.  He made his debut in snowy conditions at Bank Street against Barnsley on 17th March 1900.  He scored in a 3-0 win (Joe Cassidy netted twice) before a crowd of about 6,000.

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Henry Boyd

The first player to pass the twenty goals a season mark for the Heathens in the League, Scotsman Henry Boyd arrived at Bank Street in January 1897.  Previously he had developed a decent reputation at West Bromwich Albion and Royal Arsenal.

He made his Newton Heath debut on 6th February 1897 against Loughborough Town a memorable one as he scored one of the Heathens goals in a 6-0 victory.  He ended his first season with five goals from ten appearances but it was the following season when he really made his mark.

Boyd’s hat-tricks in the opening two games of the 1897-98 season set the standard, and he ended the campaign with 22 goals from 30 games (he was an ever-present) overshadowing hero Joe Cassidy who had netted 14.

Despite the positives behind the scenes there were a few issues with the Club’s new goalscoring star.  He missed training at the start of 1898-99 and was suspended for a week as a result.  The story goes that he was so appalled at the suspension that he went missing with the Club only learning of his whereabouts when he sent officials a telegram from Glasgow.  Further suspensions followed and he was placed on the transfer list.

In August 1899 he became a Falkirk player.  His last season at Bank Street had seen him make 12 appearances and score five goals.  His last goal came in the 2-0 defeat of Small Heath on 25th February 1899.

Leading Newton Heath League Scorer in: 1897-1898 – 22 goals, 30 appearances 

Joe Cassidy

Joe Cassidy was a ‘strong and burly’ forward who had provided Newton Heath with much needed attacking options during the final weeks of the 1892-93 season and the subsequent Test Matches, helping to prolong the club’s First Division status for one more season.  His initial stay at Newton Heath was fairly brief – he arrived in March 1893 and had moved to Celtic in May – but after a successful time in Glasgow he returned to the Heathens in March 1895.  On his second debut for the Club he netted both goals as the Heathens beat Grimsby Town 2-0 and ended that season with 8 goals from 8 games.

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Richard Smith

Halliwell-born Dick Smith joined Newton Heath during the summer of 1894 from Heywood Central and made his League debut on 8th September 1894 at Burton Wanderers.  Seven days later he netted his first – and second – goal for the Heathens as Crewe were torn apart during a 6-1 Bank Street victory.  

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Robert Donaldson

After playing for Airdrieonians and Blackburn Rovers, Bob Donaldson arrived at Newton Heath prior to the 1891-92 Alliance season and was an immediate success.  He was an ever-present in his first season and also topped the Club’s goalscoring charts as the Heathens finished second in the competition.

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William Sharpe

William Sharpe’s first Alliance League goal came in Newton Heath’s 3-1 defeat of Grimsby Town on 18th October 1890 but this was not a particularly great season for strikers.  Sharpe netted six goals that season and ended up leading goalscorer.

The following season he only managed 3 Alliance fixtures and wasn’t really seen much in a footballing context again until he appeared for Oldham County in 1896.  He had a spell at Oldham Athletic in 1901. 

Leading Newton Heath League Scorer in: 1890-1891 – 6 goals, 20 appearances (Alliance League)

William Stewart

Willie Stewart was Newton Heath’s record goalscorer for the 1889-1890 season, netting ten goals in 19 games.  In fact Stewart scored in the Club’s first Alliance game when Sunderland Albion were defeated 4-1 at North Road on 21st September 1889.  Stewart had joined the Heathens a few weeks earlier from Warwick County.

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