On this day (9 March) in 1904 Manchester City took a major step forward in their quest for their first major trophy when they won 3-1 at Middlesbrough in the FAC quarter-final replay. The goalscorers were Billy Gillespie, George Livingstone and Sandy Turnbull.
Subscribers can read all about Tom Maley, City’s manager at the time, here:
‘The punishment was the largest ever inflicted, wiping out an entire team, its directors and one of the most charismatic managers of the period.’
‘The League met and representatives of each club voted in favour of the punishment meted out to us being enforced. And while their representatives were passing this pious resolution most of them had other representatives busy trying to persuade the “villains whose punishment had been so well deserved” to sign for them under conditions very much better in most cases than the ones we had been ruled by at Hyde Road.’
These quotes are connected with investigations into Manchester City over 100 years ago when the FA considered the Blues to be a ‘nouveau riche’ club despite incredible support etc. Back then certain clubs who were regarded as the aristocracy of football (that included Aston Villa and Everton back then) were somewhat dissatisfied that Manchester City had come from foundation as MCFC in 1894 to FA Cup winners and League runners up within a decade. Lots of investigations followed with some determined to kill off this challenger. This all sound familiar? Well 118 years ago the largest punishment ever inflicted, wiping out an entire team, its directors and one of the most charismatic managers of the period was imposed on the club.
Below for subscribers is a 4,500 word article written on the topic by me. This is an academic piece, focusing on the facts and was written for an academic publication, not something club specific. The article considers the investigation, the ban and its long terms impact on Manchester football, where Manchester City’s first golden era came to an end but Manchester United’s first golden era followed. A truly transformational period in Manchester’s football story and essential reading for anyone looking at precedents or wanting to understand how football in the city was shaped.
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It’s Manchester City v Arsenal on Friday. The first FA Cup tie between these clubs came in 1904 and was part of Manchester’s first major trophy winning campaign. The two sides met at Arsenal in the second round of the competition. Back then City were a top flight team while Woolwich Arsenal were in the Second Division and some reports talked of the Gunners being envious of Manchester City and their status (how often do modern interpretations of a club’s status forget the game’s full history hey?). Arsenal had defeated Fulham 1-0 in the previous round.
The Blues defeated the Gunners 2-0 with goals from Sandy Turnbull and Frank Booth, prompting the Manchester Evening News to print a cartoon of Billy Meredith leapfrogging over the Gunners while Tom Maley, dressed in kilt, watches.
Outside-left Frank Booth, one of the scorers, had joined City in April 1902 making his first appearance for the Club in a friendly with Celtic on 1 September 1902. That friendly appearance brought a little bad luck to the player as fairly early on in the match he accidentally collided with Celtic’s Right-back Hugh Watson causing him to leave the field for twenty minutes or so. When he returned however he seemed more determined than ever to prove what he was capable of and, when a chance came his way, he scored what was described as a “very fine” goal to give City a 1-0 victory.
Throughout Booth’s career prior to the Arsenal game he had been rather unlucky with injuries and, at times, must have seriously considered concentrating on a life outside of the sport. He was a hatter by trade, coming from the local hatting areas surrounding the towns of Hyde and Denton, and had only completed his apprenticeship in 1903. Nevertheless a career in football had to be more appealing than life in one of the large hatting factories of east Manchester.
Here’s a brief cutting mentioning the game. Note also the difficulties being experienced by Second Division Manchester United (again, how often do modern day commentators on the game’s history forget the full history?).
After the tie with Arsenal at Plumstead, George Robey, a very famous Music Hall comedian with a love of football, took the City team to visit the capital’s top Music Halls. Such light relief was needed in the City camp as the realisation was now dawning that the Blues might seriously be contenders for the League and Cup double that at this point in history had only been achieved by Preston (1889) and Aston Villa (1897).
For a side (indeed a city) whose only national success so far had been to win the Second Division, this must have felt like an impossible dream but, as the season progressed it became increasingly possible.
You can read about what happened next here:
The next FA Cup meeting between the teams didn’t come until 1932 when they met in at the semi-final stage.
You can read all about that here:
Since 1932 the sides have met in the competition on 17/2/1971 at Maine Road (a 2-1 Arsenal win); the 2017 semi-final (2-1 aet for Arsenal); and again in the 2020 semi played on 18 July 2020 (a 2-0 Arsenal win).
The links between the blue and the red half of Manchester are many, although there are some who will quickly deny the others mere existence. Fortunately, there are others who will embrace those historic, and often welcome links between the two bitter rivals, history being more important than the colour of a football shirt.
The links, as I said, are many, but if only three were to be listed, it is arguable that these would be, in no particular order, Sir Matt Busby, Billy Meredith and Denis Law for self-explanatory reasons. There is, however, one man who should nudge all three of those legendary figures out of the way, a man from the distant past, but one whose place in the history of both City and United is assured, but sadly, often forgotten. His name? John Ernest Mangnall.
Born in Bolton in January 1866, Mangnall also stakes a claim in the history of his local club, and that of near neighbours Burnley, a proud Lancastrian, but it is in Cottonopolis that he comes to the fore and more so during his time with Manchester United.
But for the meantime, let’s push Ernest Mangnall’s footballing credentials to the side [his given first name being lost in the mists of time] and look at the man from a much different sporting angle.
It might be said that football, a game that he played with the same enthusiasm that he carried forward into his managerial positions, was not even his first love, as he was more than a keen cyclist, being a member of various clubs, entering races and most notably cycling between John O’Groats and Lands End, at a time when bicycles were certainly not built for comfort.
Having cut his managerial teeth with Burnley, although he had helped steer Bolton along the way from the boardroom, as a director, he found is way to the dull, dreary surroundings of Clayton in 1903, with many possibly correct in thinking he was a glutton for punishment, as United were little more than a struggling side and had been rescued from what could easily have been oblivion by J.H. Davies. They had also recently changed their name from Newton Heath to Manchester United.
Appointed in place of James West, who had resigned as secretary, Mangnall embraced the role of the man not simply answered the mail and carried out other menial tasks, but took on the running of the club as a whole. Purchasing postage stamps of players made little difference.
Slowly Mangnall began to blend a team together and following a handful of near but not quite near enough finishes, he guided United out of the Second Division and into the top flight at the end of the 1905-06 season where, thanks to his now neighbours City finding themselves in a spot of bother, he ‘stole’ Burgess, Meredith, Bannister and Sandy Turnbull from his rivals and with the likes of Charlie Roberts and Dick Duckworth already at United, he had a more than capable team at his finger tips, creating a team that gave Manchester United their first domestic trophies with the League championship in 1908 and the FA Cup in 1909. The former was also won in 1911, plus success in the FA Charity Shield in 1908 and 1911.
Not only was he instrumental in building a strong United team on the field, he was more than involved in dragging the club away from its slum like home at Clayton and moving to pastures new at Old Trafford.
But all good things come to an end at some point or other and having perhaps achieved as much as he could at Old Trafford, Mangnall made the surprise move across town and joined neighbours City in August 1912. What the club and manager hoped to achieve failed to materialise, but as he had done with United, he played a major part in City’s move to Maine Road.
So, that is the career of Ernest Mangnall in a nutshell, but if you want to learn more about that man then his biography is available now from Empire Publications, 229 Ayres Road, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0NL UK Tel: 0161 872 3319 or 1 Newton Street, Manchester M1 1HW – telephone 0161 872 3319.
As something of a postscript.
I created ‘The Manchester United Graves Society’ a couple of years or so back, whereby I am trying to locate the burial places [or cremation details] of as many former players and officials as possible and to date have found over 500. One of the early finds was John Ernest Mangnall, who died at Lytham St Annes in January 1932, and is buried in the Lytham Park Cemetery.
Upon obtaining a photograph of his grave, I was saddened to find that the headstone was broken and the grave in general was in need of some TLC. So, enquiries were made with the cemetery as regards to any red tape that would cause problems in restoring the grave to its former glory and thankfully there were none. To be honest, they were more than delighted that someone wanted to carry out restoration work on the grave.
Funds were raised, a stone mason contacted and the work was carried out. Photos of before and after are shown here.
Should anyone want to visit the grave, it can be found at – A – 512 C/E. Go in the main gate and head up to your right.
St. George’s Day always marks the anniversary of Manchester City’s first FA Cup success. In fact the 1904 FA Cup win was the first major trophy success by any of the Manchester teams and has been recognised as the point when Manchester became a footballing city.
Subscribers to my site can read the following article highlighting the key people, moments and fan related material from that success:
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Liverpool and Manchester United meet this weekend (17th January 2021) in the Premier League. It’s a game that throughout the modern era has been played between two major clubs, hoping for success. This has not always been the case of course and in 1914-15 a notorious game between the two teams was deemed to be fixed.
Why and how has been debated for years but here, for the benefit of subscribers to http://www.GJFootballArchive.com I spell out the full story of the game and the investigations that followed. Some of what follows is astounding, but it’s all factually correct and based on contemporary material and detailed research.
The following article contains over 4,000 words plus a photograph from the game.
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