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’).
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.