Manchester Central F.C.

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

Manchester Central were a short-lived English professional football club based in Manchester that existed between 1928 and 1932.

History[edit]

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.

Common myths[edit]

It is widely believed that Manchester Central was considered as a new name for Newton Heath F.C. prior to them becoming Manchester United 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.[7]

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.

References[edit]

Notes
  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. ^ James 2008, pp. 92–95
Bibliography
  • James, Gary (2003), Farewell To Maine Road, Polar Publishing, ISBN 1899538194
  • James, Gary (2008), Manchester – A Football History, James Ward, ISBN 978-0-9558127-0-5

Further reading[edit]