Royal Reactions (part one)

I’m sure we’ve all been watching some of the television coverage following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. With so much air time to fill we’ve often had angles put forward and debated for a few minutes or hours on TV and radio. So I thought it was time I put one (or two – part two will go into detail about royal visits to Manchester City) of my own on my website. Here goes… Someone asked me the other day about how Manchester City reacted in terms of performance in the days/weeks/months after a monarch’s death. So, if you’ve been desperate to find out, or are more likely to think ‘go on then, I’ll stick with it a bit longer’, here’s the answer:

Since Manchester City was established in the 19th Century there have been two British Queens and now five Kings. Detailed below are a few snippets from each of their reigns which may or may not be of interest. I’ll start with Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria was on the throne throughout the birth of League football until her death in January 1901. These were the years when professional football developed and Victoria died only 9 years after the club had joined the League as Ardwick.

Major Trophies Won: No major trophies were won by City during Victoria’s reign but they did win the Second Division title in 1899 – the first national success of either Manchester club. The last complete season of her life saw City compete in the top flight for the first time. the first game after her death was a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

King Edward VII was on the throne from January 1901 through to May 1910. He died in the close season as City were about to go on tour to Germany and Denmark. During Edward’s life City won the FA Cup in 1904 (Manchester’s first major trophy) and were runners up in the League that season.

King George V was the first monarch to visit a Manchester City game when he attended a 1920 League game between City and Liverpool at Hyde Road. During his reign City won the FA Cup in 1934 and George was present for that final. City had also appeared in two other finals and had finished 2nd in the League in 1920. He died in January 1936 and the following weekend’s FA Cup games went ahead as scheduled. Over 65,000 watched City defeat Luton 2-1 at Maine Road.

King Edward VIII was only on the throne for about nine months and abdicated in December 1936. City had finished ninth in the only season completed during his reign but the 1936-37 was to be a spectacular one, though the part of the season before his abdication was not so great for the Blues.

King George VI became King on the abdication of his brother and City were to go on an incredible run shortly afterwards. A couple of defeats came within a fortnight of him taking on the role but other than those City were undefeated for the rest of the season. An incredible run of 22 games unbeaten brought City the League title in 1937.

As the Duke of York George had attended the 1933 FA Cup final and had also attended a game at Maine Road that year too. George died in February 1952. The following weekend’s games were not postponed and City drew a goalless match with Blackpool.

Queen Elizabeth II became Queen in 1952 and during her reign City have found major success time and time again. Within 3 years of her becoming Queen she attended Wembley to watch City face Newcastle in the 1955 FAC final. Newcastle won that (their last major domestic trophy) but the year after she was at Wembley again to see City beat Birmingham in the Trautmann Final. Since then City have found major glory in the League and in Europe. Their trophy haul under Elizabeth includes:

1 European Cup Winners’ Cup

7 League titles

4 FA Cups

8 League Cups

City have won 1 trophy approximately every 3.5 years of her reign. When she died games were postponed the following weekend.

King Charles III – Of course it’s too early to say what success arrives during his reign.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly odd football article. There’ll be a second part published next week. Watch this space. While you’re here why not explore the rest of the website. Thanks

Weaver

On this day (8 August) in 1998 Nicky Weaver made his Manchester City debut at home to Blackpool.  City won their first match in the third tier of English football 3-0.  The attendance was 32,134. Here for subscribers is a profile of Weaver:

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How Low Can You Go?

On this day (8 August) in 1998 Manchester City began their season at the lowest level (3rd tier) they had ever played in. If you fancy remembering those dark days here’s a clip of the opening League fixture V Blackpool. The Blues won the match 3-0 in front of a capacity crowd – we thought it would all be okay but the following months it all started to… well, you know the rest! Here’s the clip:

Football Funeral Cards: 1948 FA Cup Final

Recently this card was shown to me. It’s a memorial card commemorating Manchester United’s victory over Blackpool in the FA Cup final. The football funeral card business was huge at one point and, in the days of football half-half friendship scarves, was a somewhat macabre way of providing a souvenir of a game. I’ve written a lot on these in recent years and here’s an article I posted a short while ago:

It’s great to see the 1948 card pictured above and it adds to the view that these continued into the 1950s. People have written that the trend for doing football memorial cards died out after World War One but in my article I explain how it continued for decades. It was also a prominent activity with a variety of people profiting from it. Manchester was one of a number of centres for the activity and cards were printed in the city for distribution at games across England.

Peter Doherty – A Legend with Glentoran, Blackpool, City, Derby and Ireland

In 2019 I wrote this profile of Peter Doherty – a man who well into the 1970s was described as the greatest Manchester City player of all time. Of course, views change and other heroes have come and sadly gone since then, but it is clear that Doherty was the leading player of his generation.

Subscribers to my site can read the article below:

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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 my 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 250+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Jimmy Armfield – Blackpool and England Legend

In 2019 I wrote the following profile of Jimmy Armfield, the Denton born England international. Subscribers to this website can read the article below:

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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 listen to a frank interview from 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 250+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.