The Second Manchester Derby In The League – 1894-95


DATE 5th January 1895


VENUE Clayton


NEWTON HEATH 4 (Clarkin 2, Donaldson, Smith)


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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Inaccuracies and Myths

Over the last couple of years, usually when there’s a Manchester Derby, a number of myths, inaccuracies and twisting of the facts occurs. It’s usually just fan banter. I don’t normally get involved and try to ensure that whatever I post is factually based and something that is true. However, this week a number of supposed facts about the relationship between City and United have been posted that someone has claimed are ‘facts’ I’ve promoted in my work. So, to allow everyone to see the truth and what I have actually stated I’ve included below the supposed facts as they have been posted by others and then followed that with the truth based on years of research, triangulation etc. First of all the supposed ‘facts’…

This image has been posted outlining ways in which Manchester City are supposed to have helped United. Many of these are inaccurate, complete fabrications or exaggerated and I’d like to state quite clearly the following image does not reflect my views (apart from the bit I’ve added saying: ‘Not to be quoted – Inaccurate’).

This image is not my work and is not to be quoted as it contains inaccuracies.

So, now for the facts…

Starting from the top… 1931 – Nowhere do I say in my writing that City provided United with kit. I have never found any evidence whatsoever to say this is true. I do quote a City fan in my work who talks about how United fans gave themselves the nickname Rags in the 1930s because their kit looked ragged, but that’s a fan story and does not correlate with any evidence of City providing any kit to the Reds. 

In any case United are known to have worn blue before 1931 and at no time, based on years of research by lots of people, did City give United kit. After World War Two City asked fans to help City get kit via fan clothing rations, but that’s not connected with United or 1931. I think (but don’t know, so don’t misquote this) that United may have done the same.

Next the stuff about 1945. I am mystified as to where all that stuff has come from about players going from City to United to help with construction? That’s definitely not something from any book or article I’ve written and no research I’m aware of (certainly not by me) has ever claimed this. I’d love to know what evidence has been found for this. If it’s there then great, but evidence and triangulation are definitely needed when supposed ‘facts’ like these are written. 

Also, Old Trafford was bombed in 1941 not 1945 and United used Maine Rd for about 8 years.

Next the first point about 1958… Again I’d love to know where all that stuff about wages, transport & equipment costs has come from. I’ve never written that. City offered to help United in whatever way they could but to say City covered the costs of all that is a massive exaggeration. 

On the second point about 1958… United did continue to play in the European Cup after Munich so that’s wrong for a start. UEFA did not offer City a place in the competition that City turned down. What happened was that UEFA said if United couldn’t play on then it would be right for City, as a Manchester club, to continue on United’s behalf. The FA said that they would choose a team not UEFA and that it would be Wolves (as they had been second in League). City said they would help United however possible to ensure they played on – that was their aim. Bert Trautmann offered translation services etc. 

The problem is that whenever City’s help for United is exaggerated (or anything like this either way) it makes it easier for others to challenge and then the genuine, real facts get lost. City have helped United a lot over the last 125 years and the facts do not need exaggerating. In my books I talk of City’s cash donations in the early years of the last century which are all properly documented and recorded; of the two clubs working together in an act that was widely perceived by the media as protecting United and killing off the threat from Manchester Central; of the close-relationship between the clubs at times; of the offer to use Maine Road in 1941 (they did offer but that fact gets lost with all that inaccurate stuff); of the offer to use Maine Road again in 1956; of the close relationship and support in 1958… You can read the facts of all this in Manchester A Football History and also in various articles on this site. In fact the whole Manchester A Football History is available to download for annual subscribers here:

Sorry to have gone on about this but facts, evidence and triangulation are important. These are essential to my work and so when someone tells me that a load of inaccurate information is being circulated as fact and that it’s come directly from my work then I have to explain. Banter between rival fans is one thing but please don’t exaggerate or twist stories and claim that I’ve said they are facts when I haven’t.

A Dominant Derby Performance

On this day (4 October) in 1930 the Manchester derby ended City 4 United 1. It was
the Reds’ ninth straight defeat of the season and they were relegated at the end of it.  The Athletic News claimed:  “City obviously grew sympathetic and declined to rub it in.” That’s the kind of wording they could have used again to describe the October 2022 derby when City were leading 6-1! Here’s the detailed story of that day:

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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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On This Day: An All-Manchester FAC Tie (Story and Film)

On this day (29th January) in 1955 –goals from Joe Hayes and Don Revie give Manchester City a 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the FAC in front of 74,723. Here’s the story and film of that game (some great footage here!).

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On This Day – A FA Cup Manchester Derby (Story And Film)

On this day (24th January) in 1970 Manchester City and Manchester United met for the fourth of five meetings that season. This game was in the FA Cup and the following article tells the story of that game and includes highlights of the match.

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On This Day – The Story And Film of A Maine Road Manchester Derby

On this day (21st January) in 1967 the Blues played the Reds in the first Maine Road derby following City’s promotion in 1966. City had lost the Old Trafford derby 1-0 in September 1966 but had high hopes they could get something out of the return match.

The following article provides the background story to the Maine Road derby, a report, and film of the scenes around Maine Road that day (Mercer, Allison & Busby all appear; plus there’s film of fans outside the ground and then trying to climb into the Main Stand from the area behind the then still open Main Stand/Scoreboard End corner).

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The 2009-10 Manchester League Cup Semi-finals

On this day (19th January) in 2010 it was the first leg of the all-Manchester League Cup semi final… Back in 1991, together with Steve Cawley, I published The Pride Of Manchester (the history of the Manchester Derby). Ever since then there’s been a desire to update the book to include recent seasons. A few years ago Steve and I did start the process of updating the book but, sadly, we could not find a publisher prepared to produce the book. So, as we’re about to see another League Cup semi-final between City and United, I’ve decided to post here the text we wrote for the 2009-10 League Cup semi-finals. Both legs are covered in this piece which is available to anyone who subscribes to this site (£3 per month or £20 per year – about £1.67 per month – for that subscribers get full access to all posts published so far plus all new posts for the period of their subscription).

Here goes…

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A Writing Flashback!

Recently, I’ve been sorting through some of the items my mum has kept over the years and I rediscovered my old Brother typewriter. My mum died during 2020 and it has been extremely tough at times for my dad and the family in general. I know a lot of people have experienced great sadness over the last year and my thoughts are with everyone who has suffered a tragedy during this time. It’s been a tough year. 

I thought I’d got rid of the typewriter many, many years ago and so seeing it brought back many memories. It reminded me of some of my earliest writing on football and so I thought I’d share on my blog the story of this typewriter. 

I bought this typewriter with the royalties from my first book – I can’t remember exactly how much it cost but I know I just about earned enough to pay for it. My first book was ‘From Maine Men To Banana Citizens’ (a pictorial history of Manchester City) which was published in April 1989. I’d handwritten that book! Fortunately, as it was a pictorial history there actually wasn’t much writing – just captions really.

As I’d handwritten the captions and posted them to the publisher there were times when they misread my writing. I had written the captions in capitals mainly, but my writing in whatever style is awful (at primary school my headteacher – an obsessed MUFC fan – used to tell me my writing was like a ‘drunken spider walking across the page’). Words like ‘the’ would occasionally read as ‘one’ to those unfamiliar with my poor writing. 

In From Maine Men to Banana Citizens some of my writing was misread and wasn’t picked up in the review process and so I know there are a few ‘one’s where ‘the’s should be (if you’ve got the book see if you can spot any!).

Once the book was published and I spotted these I knew I needed to get a typewriter. Once I’d received my royalties I bought my electric Brother typewriter. I bought a Brother typewriter because they were Manchester City’s sponsors at the time and I wanted my money to go to a company that supported people I approved of (and some think sponsorship doesn’t influence).

I was still living at my parents back then and I used the typewriter to write my sections of my second book The Pride of Manchester (co-written with Steve Cawley). This book told the story of the Manchester derby and we could every friendly and competitive game from 1880 through to publication in 1991. As the book was really a game by game story of the derby I would type a page or so at a time and the typewriter meant it wasn’t too laborious – the laborious aspect was the in-depth research. 

The book was published in 1991 by which time I was already researching and writing my third book – Football With A Smile: The Authorised Biography of Joe Mercer, OBE. I soon realised that due to the volume of writing each chapter needed and the amount of times I’d changed the flow/tone of each chapter that using a typewriter was proving to be time consuming. I decided that I needed to buy something different. My Pride Of Manchester co-author Steve owned an Amstrad PCW and this seemed to offer more flexibility.

I then used the royalties from my second book to buy an Amstrad PCW like Steve’s. It cost me about the same amount my typewriter had cost and my royalties had once again been spent – I soon realised that it was nigh on impossible to make money from writing about football!

The Amstrad PCW did make my writing life easier (until of course I could afford a PC – from the combined royalties of my Joe Mercer book AND my fourth book, Manchester The Greatest City, published in 1997!) although I had a problem with a damaged Amstrad disk which meant I lost the entire first chapter of the Mercer book. I’d been crafting it for weeks trying to get it right and then my own stupidity meant the disk became damaged. I couldn’t bear to start again – and I hadn’t backed it up (first major lesson!) – and so I wrote the rest of the book before I came back to chapter one. When I did write the new chapter one I knew (and still know) that it is not as good as the one I lost.

When I moved out of my parents’ house I took my Amstrad PCW as I was still writing the Mercer book but I must have left behind the Brother typewriter. I don’t remember ever seeing it after that until I rediscovered it the other week, almost 30 years after I last used it.

When Covid allows I’ll take the Brother typewriter to a charity shop and, hopefully, it will find a new life for itself. It served its purpose back in 1989-91 but maybe there’s still a bit of life left in it.

Who knows how many Amstrads, PCs, Apple products and so on I’ve been through since I bought my brother. Most are long gone, but somehow the Brother survived.

On This Day in 2010 – A Manchester Derby Semi-Final

On this day (19th January) in 2010 Manchester City played Manchester United in the League Cup Semi-Final first leg. The story of that game and indeed the second leg was written up a couple of years ago for an update of my 1991 book The Pride Of Manchester (co-written with Steve Cawley).

Sadly, that book was never updated, though Steve and I put considerable effort into creating all the content. So, for subscribers to I have already posted the story of those games here:

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