The Sporting Broads: A Family’s Journey from Pedestrianism to Football

By the time professional football came to prominence as the leading working class sporting activity in the late nineteenth century the sport of pedestrianism was in decline. Pedestrians and trainers had to find alternative means of income and, for some, football provided a new focus for their skills, crafted through experience and passed on through familial and community links. This paper considers the life of Jimmy Broad, a competitor in pedestrian challenges, who went on to establish a career as a successful football trainer, and highlights how his career adapted. It also provides commentary on the training techniques utilized by Broad and goes on to outline the careers of his sons, one of whom also became a football trainer. The story of the Broads is of importance to those studying sport’s development during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and provides an understanding of one of the influential figures behind Manchester’s first footballing success. It adds to the research into athletic entrepreneurs which has seen the construction of individual biographies to aid understanding of sport’s development. 

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40 Years Ago Today: Trevor Francis Debut

I feel old today as 40 Years ago today (September 5, 1981) I attended my first away game. That day my parents told me we were going to Stoke v Manchester City. The reason why? It was to be the debut of new City striker Trevor Francis. This was perceived as a huge transfer at the time (don’t be fooled into thinking major transfers have only come in recent years!) and part of manager John Bond’s plan to challenge for the League title – and for a while it looked as if they would!

Here for subscribers is a piece on that day and what followed with quotes from interviews I’ve performed with Trevor Francis and Peter Swales who tell the story of that time. There are also contemporary match reports too:

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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/

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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Manchester City Season – 1997-98

Manager

Frank Clark had been appointed manager during the previous season, but was replaced by popular former Blue Joe Royle in February 1998.

League Overview

1997-98 was expected to see an end to the troubles and misery of the previous seasons.  It was anticipated Frank Clark would develop a side capable of seeking promotion.  The Blues had struggled to find form under each of the managers appointed since the dismissal of Brian Horton in 1995 and Chairman Francis Lee was facing much criticism.  Everyone recognised that the 1997-8 season had to see improvement. 

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Manchester City Season – 1996-97

Previous Season

The Blues were relegated from the Premier League at the end of 1995-96.

Manager

The season started with Alan Ball as manager, but ended with Frank Clark.   In between Steve Coppell had been appointed (7 October) but resigned (8 November) while Asa Hartford and Phil Neal both had long spells – or at least longer than Coppell’s permanent period – as caretaker managers.

If you would like to read the full article and other pieces like this 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 100+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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