When British rail began breaking up their steam trains in the 1950 s the nameplates of their famous football class engine were polished and presented to the football club whose name it bore. It was a gesture in public relations; a gift from mother to child for without railways there would have bee no Newton Heath.
The team started in the yards of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The date that L&Y railway football club was formed was not known, as the club does not enter history until 1878. By then its name was changed to Newton Heath, it got its name from the main depot of the railway in Manchester.
Newton heath could only join the league in 1892 when the 1st division was extended by three clubs, and the 2nd division was formed. The 3 clubs that joined the 1st division were Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and, of course Newton Heath.
The stars Players were mostly Welshman. They came to Manchester for railway work. Newton Heath in their Green & Gold began their league career badly, and then got worse. Their 1st game against was Blackburn lost 4-3. They only collected 4 points from their 1st six matches. The 1st victory was a brilliant one. Newton Heath thrashed Wolverhamptons 10-1; this record still stands at the club.
The excitement did not last long; the club ended their season being last in league. They were lucky not to be relegated as they had beaten 2nd division champions Small Heath 6-3.
The next season was an even worse season for Newton Heath. They lost 22 of their 30 league games and they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool and were relegated.
One of their best supporters was George Lawton. He was an accountant at the walker and Humphries brewery. He would cycle to and the game whatever the weather. One day when George was on the way to a game he was cycling madly as he was late. He crashed into a Horse. When he looked up he saw that the driver on the horse was his boss John H Davies. Mr. Davies asked
Where he was off to and George replied:”to a football game . Davies had never been to a football game and was amazed at the enthusiasm.
Gold and piracy
The club got a new secretary six years later; his name was W.H. Albut. He was known among the great entrepreneurs at the club.
There was a great improvement in the clubs performances; they had twice been put up for promotion to the 1st division but had failed to win the promotion. This meant that support started to fall away.
In 1902 crisis point was reached, the club owed
R26 700 and the creditors filed for bankruptcy.
Newton Heath was doomed.
A club meeting was called in 1902 and Davies had announced that he would takeover the club. Davies was announced as president of the club and Stafford as the chairman. Due to the takeover people thought that the club should also get a new name and so Newton Heath became Manchester united. The club had also been given a new kit; red shirts with white shorts.
United s rivals Manchester City were caught in an
FA (football association), they been caught with illegal payments. The punishment was severe; all players found guilty were put up for transfer. United s manager Mangall, bought city s best players. Sandy Turnbull, Herbert Burgess, Jim Bannister and Billy Meredith. This is how overnight Man utd became one of the greatest clubs in history.
The Golden Era
Thirteen of United s 1st fourteen games were won, and by the end of the season they were placed 1st. That was the start of the Golden Era for United.
United s strength can be shown in the amount of goals which were scored. S. Turnbull scored 25 goals, J. Turnbull
Scored 10,Meredith 10 and wall 19.
United played in the FA final cup f or the 1st time in 1909. Sixty-seven thousand people watched as they played against Bristol City at the Crystal Palace.
Right up to the kick off there was doubt about the fitness of Sandy Turnbull. However when the team was asked if they should put him in the team, they agreed that he must play.
During the game Halold Halse hit the crossbar and Sandy was there to put the rebound in.
He chose a site at Old Trafford. He approved the building plans and paid all costs about nine million rands-from his own pocket.
The opening of the new stadium was on the 19 February
Liverpool beat them 4-3.
They won their 2nd championship that season, but this time it was a bigger challenge. They were beaten 4-2 by Villa. Villa had two games left and drew one of them. United s fans then had to cheer Liverpool who on the last day beat Villa 4-1, while Old Trafford cheered United to a 5-1 victory over Sunderland.
This is the begging of a great club. A club which would change the face of English football. A team which would make legends, and a team which would survive many tragedies and still be the greatest football club in the world.
Biography: the man utd story