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Season 2013/14

Gary James blog: Every date matters

  • 14 June 2014 17:15
  • Posted by @garyjameswriter

Gary James has been writing about the Blues for over 25 years. Here’s the first of a new series of blogs by the Manchester football historian….

For anyone interested in the history of the Blues, the current period has been absolutely outstanding with the club building on its successes year after year, setting new records and landmark moments along the way. 


There’s much to be proud of with MCFC today and history – positive history that is  – is being made every day.  


Alongside this though, it’s always worth pausing to think about the past. The easiest way is by looking at ‘on this day’ moments because sometimes you can be amazed at what crops up.


Jun 14, on the face of it, is nothing remarkable from a domestic footballing viewpoint leaps out, but when you dig a little you can see that on 14 June 1947 City finished the 1946-47 season with a 5-1 win at Maine Road over Newport County.  You read correctly. 14 June.


The winter had been a tough one with many games called off and so the season was extended, making this the latest finish ever experienced by the Blues.


Dig further still and the match was also remarkable as George Smith scored all five City goals and Roy Clarke – who remained involved with the club right through until his death in 2006 - made his debut.


Clarke’s next game would see him enter the record books as the first man to play consecutive games in three different divisions – the Third with Cardiff before joining City; his City debut in Division Two; and then the First Division at the start of 1947-48 as City had been promoted.


But it was 14 June 1947 when Clarke first appeared in a blue shirt and started his long association with Manchester.


Today’s date also throws up a report of the City AGM in 1904 in which it was revealed the Blues had made a record profit following their first FA Cup success.


More significantly though the club had given £100 to the widow of Di Jones. Jones died following an accident at a public practice match and, as with the news of Marc Vivien Foe’s death in 2003, Jones’ death shocked everyone connected with the club and beyond.


He was one of City’s star men and the donation of £100 was equivalent to about a year’s wage for Jones at the time of his death.


The Club had provided other support to the Jones family the previous year but the donation of £100 came at a time when employers rarely considered the well-being of their staff. 


City’s act, though it may seem appropriate today, was a generous one for the period.


So what does all this mean? Okay, so none of this is directly relevant to City today, but it does show that by picking a date, even one that appears fairly mundane, we can learn a little about how football developed and how the club treated its family.


Over the next few months I’ll dig out a few more tasters from City’s past.


Gary is a member of the Sports & Leisure History Group at MMU and is a ‘must-follow’ for City fans: Twitter: @garyjameswriter and

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