Your Ad Here

Friday, April 13, 2007


After 12 unhappy seasons in the second division 1906 was the year that United finally claimed their place again in the top flight. One of the seasons finest results in the Clubs young history was a Cup tie win over the mighty Aston Villa, Villa had won the League Championship in 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899 and 1900 they had also won the FA Cup in years 1887, 1895, 1897 and 1905.

Everyone had Villa as hot favorites to hammer the 2nd div. United, but before a record crowd of over 40,000 (gate receipts 1,460 pound) United proceeded to hammer the Villa team 5-1 on the mud bath Clayton pitch. United's joy was short lived though Woolwich Arsenal beat them in the next round 3-2.

Promotion was clinched with a 3-1 victory over Leeds City (yes they were called City back then) and United finished the season out in style by trouncing Burton United 6-0 at Clayton.

When the final whistle blew the crowd invaded the pitch and carried the team shoulder high from the field. Ernest Mangnall addressed the cheering fans and promised them that this was only the beginning, He was right!

Your Ad Here

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Manchester United's manager Ernest Magnall was building a side that looked better than anything the fans had seen so far, 20 year old Charlie Roberts was to be proved a great buy, Magnall had signed him from Grimsby for the grand total of 400 pounds, he was sturdily built and extremely fast, it was reorted that he could run the hundred yards in 11 seconds. This was the time that the world record stood at 9.6 seconds!

Vittorio Pozzo the Italian national team coach was reported to be a huge fan of Roberts and took back to Italy a lasting memory of the player after he visited Clayton to watch him play. Pozzo went on to create one of the finest pre war teams ever to play the game, he had stated publicly that Roberts had been his inspiration.

Strangely enough, the English team selectors didn't seem to agree and Roberts only played for England 3 times, it was believed that his image as somewhat of a rebel contributed to him being ignored this way. Roberts wore his shorts short, this was a time when the FA had ruled that all shorts were to cover the knee, he had also been a pioneer in the Players Union becoming its chairman and later becoming a leader in the "outcasts" (to be explained later).

On Boxing Day 1904 United entertained Liverpool at Clayton, 40,000 fans showed up for the game and United defeated the Merseysiders 3-1. It was a high point in the season though, Liverpool took their revenge 4 months later and hammered United 4-0 at Anfield to finish the season at the top of the table and again deny United the promotion they desperately desired.

Your Ad Here


The name of Newton Heath was not liked by all, they had left their home in Newton Heath 9 years previously, and following the reorganisation of the Club many called for a name change.

Manchester Central was suggested, but it was decided that it sounded too much like a railway station, also suggested and rejected was Manchester Celtic, then a Mr Louis Rocca hit upon the name Manchester United. The name had been suggested before but had not met much support, but this time it stuck and on Saturday 26th April 1902 Newton Heath became Manchester United.

This must have pleased many of the visiting teams and supporters who for years had been showing up for games at the old Newton Heath only to find a dilapidated and empty pitch, and then had to dash across town to arrive minutes before the kickoff.

Manchester United's manager in 1902 was a Mr James West, under him they had begun the season very poorly with two defeats and a draw, on Monday 28th Sept he resigned his position and Mr Ernest Magnall became the new United manager.

Magnall joined the club from Burnley where he had served as secretary. He would go on to become United's first "great" manager. The new manager had been born in Bolton and was well known in sporting circles in the North west, he eas known in particular for his love of cycling, and during his youth had actually cycled the length of Great Britain from John O Groats to Lands end, he could often be spotted riding his bike to the ground.

With United's financial status at last secure Magnall proved himself a shrewd buyer in the transfer market, he brought goalie Harry Moger to United, along with Alex Bell, Dick Duckworth, and a great centre halve in Charlie Roberts.

His greatest coup however was bringing the great Billy Meredith across from Man City, other Man City rebels quickly followed Meredith's path and United stole away Herbert Burgess, Sandy Turnbull, and Jimmy Bannister from their rivals. Meredith and Roberts at the time were considered the most talented players in the land.

Your Ad Here

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Newton Heath at the turn of the century were indeed at their lowest ebb, after a decade in the Fottball league all they had to show was two years in the top flight (both years finishing at the bottom) and eight years in the second.

It was decided by the directors that new players had to be bought, but there were no funds available so a Bazzar was arranged by the club to attempt to raise cash. The event was to start on Wednesday 27th Feb and run for 4 days, the Manchester Evening News reported that the Northern military and Bess-o'th-barn Brass bands would be playing.

The Bazzar ended on Saturday evening but after paying off the cost of renting the hall it was found that the event had hardly been a success and the funds needed still had not been found.

The Club's fortunes then took a strange twist, Harry Stafford the Newton Heath captain owned a St Bernard dog, he had taken the dog to the Bazzar and tied a collecting box around its neck, the dog escaped from the hall and was found wandering the City by a Pub landord, who showed it to a Mr Henry Davies who was then a managing director of the Manchester Brewers. Davies took a fancy to the dog and immediatley bought it off the landord. Feeling guilty Davies decided to trace the dog's owner and soon found out that it belonged to the Newton captain, after meeting with Stafford the businessman decided to help and made a financial contribution to the club, and made further promises of help for the future. Stafford did not forget that promise!

Your Ad Here


The start to the 20th century held little relief for the Heathens who had acheived little in recent years and were languishing in the shadow of their rivals Manchester City who had been recently promoted to the 1st div.

The team at that time did see a few changes with Frank Barrett in goal Harry Stafford and Fred Erentz at the fullback positions, Morgan Griffiths and Carwright were regular choices for the halve back line while up front Bryant, Jackson and Cassidy were the regulars.

The club had forged strong links to Wales at the time and boasted seven Welsh internationals in the lineup, many of them arriving in Manchester looking for work on the railroad.

Although rich in Welsh International talent the Club had not a single English International on the books (Billy Bryant was picked to represent the Football League).

Your Ad Here

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Was to be known for the infamous riots between Celtic and Rangers, after a Scottish Cup final replay the fans tried to burn down the ground and trouble continued for several hours in the streets of Glasgow with 81 policemen having to be treated in hospital. There was also trouble at Everton's Goodison Park after the ref had abandoned a game.

Newton Heath had their own problems with a "scandal" behind the scenes when two players (Boyd and Cunnigham) were suspended by the club for their extracurricular activities. The two players were have said to have been drinking, the Athletic News reported:

"If men who are paid good wages don't think it's worth their while to keep themselves in condition they are better off out of the team."

The week following these suspensions it was the fans turn, after the Heathens took a 2-1 defeat at New Brighton Tower a group of supporters took action by surrounding the ref as he walked off the field jeering and booing him, the situation could have been worse if it hadn't been for several Club officials and Policemen who escorted the poor ref to dressing room safety. By all reports the ref had been very poor and the youths had been provoked by the dubious refereeing.
The result of the game seriously dented any hopes of Newton Heath's promotion chances for that year.

Your Ad Here


As 1898 drew to a close Newton Heath and across town rivals Man City were the top two teams in the 2nd div, with a team called "New Brighton Tower" in third. On boxing day the two teams faced each other the Heathens coming off a 9-0 thrashing of Darwen while City were also coming off a big win against Blackpool (4-2).

Confidence was high but it was City who came out the victors making short work of their neighbors in a 4-0 thrashing, Newton never recovered from this and finished the season in 3rd place 3 points behind Glossop North End and 6 points behind City who won the title and promotion to the first.

Once more they had challenged for promotion only to fall by the wayside. In five seasons in the second division they had never finished lower than sixth.