Manchester Central F.C.

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Manchester Central
Full name Manchester Central Football Club
Founded 1928 / 2015
Dissolved 1932 / Present
Ground Belle Vue, Manchester
Ground Capacity 34,000
Manager James McMahon

Manchester Central were a short lived professional football club based in Manchester.


The team was formed in 1928 by Manchester City Director, John Ayrton and the owner of Belle Vue, John Iles. Ayrton created Manchester Central because he felt East Manchester needed a League side.[1] City had moved out of the area in 1923, but had initially considered moving to Belle Vue.[2]

The club played at the Belle Vue Athletics stadium, more commonly known as the Speedway Stadium. One of the coaches was Billy Meredith, the Welsh international and former Manchester City and Manchester United player. Their manager was James McMahon.[3]

Players meeting Chairman before 1st practice match at Belle Vue in 1928

The club joined the Lancashire Combination in its first year finishing seventh in the twenty team competition. This led to an immediate application to join the Football League for the 1929–30 season; this bid failed.

The 1929–30 season, the club finished as runners up in the Combination and the reserves played in the Cheshire County League, the only other reserve teams in that league being from Football League clubs. After a successful season another application for League status was made and failed again.

The 1930–31 season was less successful finishing seventh in the Combination and the reserves bottom. A further application for League status failed with Chester gaining membership. This led to withdrawal from the Combination and focus solely on the Cheshire County League. After Wigan Borough had to resign from the Football League in October 1931, Central applied to take their place. This was initially accepted by the leaders of Division Three (North), but a formal complaint was made jointly by First Division Manchester City and Second Division Manchester United.[4] They believed that a third Manchester side would seriously damage Manchester United, who were struggling for support and finance. The Football League backed the existing Manchester League sides and Central were denied. The Manchester clubs, in particular United, received significantly bad media coverage as a result and this act damaged their image and support further.[5]

At the end of the season Central resigned from the Cheshire County League and became defunct, realising their ambitions would be unfulfilled.

Central were an ambitious side and attracted many significant crowds, such as 8,500 for the visit of Wrexham during 1929–30.[6] They also signed international players, such as Welsh international Bert Gray.

New club[edit]

MCR Central FC
Full name Manchester Central Football Club
Founded 2015
Ground Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester
Ground Capacity 6,500
Manager Paul McGuire
u21 Team 2015

A club of the same name was formed in 2015 under its original name Manchester Central.[7] It plays competitive football at The Manchester Regional Arena and Ten Acres Lane and has subsequently joined the non-league pyramid.

In July 2015 the club associated to the Manchester County FA. An opening AGM was held and club officers were elected in. In August, the U18s team gained successfully entry into the Lancashire Floodlit league, whilst the U21s gained successful entry into the Cheshire U21 League.

In August 2015, the club played its first official league fixture, with the U21s away to Irlam Town FC. After several failed attempts at various venues, a suitable home ground was sourced at Manchester Regional Arena, this location was chosen after a working agreement was forged with Eastland’s Trust. The ground was also chosen by the club due to its ground grading capability of reaching the higher divisions of the football pyramid.[8]

Manchester Central are now a part of The Manchester Football League and are proud to be supporting 125 years of the prestigious league. In the 2016/2017 season Manchester Central finished 5th in division one. Missing out on the promotion play offs by 1 point to Atherton Town. Bolton County, subsequently won the play off final and therefore got promoted into the Premier Division alongside Champions Prestwich Heys Reserves and a very strong Heyside FC.

In the 2017/2018 season they entered their first county cup fixture in over 8 decades. They were drawn away to Wythenshawe Town FC with the tie played at Ericstan Park Stadium - Although Central dominated throughout, they could only win on penalties 5-6 to send them through to the second round. The second round draw proved to be generous to Central and they received a 'bye' into the quarter finals of the cup.

Common myths[edit]

It is widely believed that Manchester Central was considered as a new name for Newton Heath in 1902 but there is no factual evidence from the period to suggest this is true – all comments come from later histories, while detailed records and media reports from the period make no reference whatsoever to this idea. In fact it seems highly improbable as Manchester Central was already the name of another soccer side competing in the Manchester region during the 1890s. This first Manchester Central played at Alexandra Park and ceased to exist around the turn of the century. The directors of Newton Heath would not have selected that name for fear of confusion.[9]

Due to this myth about the Central name being almost chosen by Newton Heath when they reformed as Manchester United, the name Manchester Central was considered as a name for F.C. United of Manchester.


  1. ^ James 2008, pp. 162–166
  2. ^ James 2003
  3. ^ James 2008, p. 159
  4. ^ James 2008, pp. 162–166
  5. ^ James 2008, chapter 12
  6. ^ James 2008, pp. 159–160
  7. ^ "Manchester Central Football Club"
  8. ^ "Manchester Central Football Club"
  9. ^ James 2008, pp. 92–95

Further reading[edit]