Update #12 : United Teams through the ages (Manchester United 1904 - 1905)

Here we go with another history update.

Manchester United’s manager Mangnall was building a side that looked better than anything the fans had seen so far. The 20 year old Charlie Roberts proved a great buy ( see previous update for more information ), signed from Grimsby for the grand total of 450 pounds. He was sturdily built and extremely fast, it was reported 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 although 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. They finished on the third spot again with only five defeats out of 34 matches played and 81 goals scored.

The rivalry between Liverpool and United stretches back to the clubs earliest days, when Liverpool relegated Newton Heath in the 1894 test match. Even in 1904 the press followed the tie closely. Williams, Roberts and Arkesden were the scorers in Uniteds 3-1 triumph.

Athletic News Article detailing the Boxing Day Fixture 1904

The 1904–05 season was Manchester United’s 13th season in the Football League. United finished 3rd in the Second Division. The Reds also competed in the FA Cup, but failed to get past the Intermediate Round stage, losing to Fulham.

Season Statistics 1904-1905

Chairman :John Henry Davies
Manager : Ernest Mangnall
Second Division : 3rd
FA Cup : Intermediate Round
Top goalscorer League : Jack Peddie (17)
All : Jack Peddie (17)
Highest home attendance : 40,000 vs Liverpool (24 December 1904)
Lowest home attendance : 4,000 vs Blackpool (24 April 1905)
Average home attendance : 15,000

Top goal scorer this season (as in 1902-03) Jack Peddie or John “Jack” Hope Peddie

The rare photograph below is a Handbill Advertising the English League Match for Bristol City v Manchester United 1905. Note the A 2.30 kick off, remember this was the time for winter kick offs until the coming of floodlights. Maine Road had floodlights before United did.

Advertising for league match versus Bristol City

Finally one more treat from this season a rare Baines card c 1908-10. The United player shown has a remarkable likeness to George Wall who made 316 appearences for United and scored 98 times between 1905-1915. England International. Signed from Barnsley for £175!!!. A great United player and he went to Man United and he won the lot! League Championship in 1908/1911, English Cup 1909, Charity Shield, Manchester Senior Cup. Continued to play into his 40’s an early United true LEGEND.


A rare Baines card believed to be George Wall

To be continued …