Update #5 : United Teams through the ages (Newton Heath 1897 - 1898)

Here’s the next history update …

As the 1898 season drew to a close Newton Heath and across town rivals Man City were the top two teams in the 2nd division, with a team called “New Brighton Tower” in third. On Boxing day the two teams faced each other, the Heathens coming off a 9-0 thrashing of Darwen while City were also coming off a big win against Blackpool (4-2). Confidence was high but it was City who came out the victors making short work of their neighbours in a 4-0 win. Newton never recovered from this and finished the season in 3rd place, 3 points behind Glossop North End and 6 points behind City who won the title and promotion to the first. Once more they had challenged for promotion only to fall by the wayside. In five seasons in the second they had never finished lower than sixth.

Newton Heath Team 1897-1898

The 1897–98 season was Newton Heath’s sixth season in the Football League and their fourth in the Second Division. They finished fourth in the league, which was not enough to earn them a chance for promotion back to the First Division. In the FA Cup, the Heathens were knocked out by Liverpool in the Second Round, after beating Walsall in the First Round.

The club also entered teams in the Lancashire and Manchester Senior Cups in 1897–98. They reached the semi-finals of the Manchester Senior Cup before being beaten 2–1 by Manchester City in a replay, but they went two better in the Lancashire Senior Cup, beating Blackburn Rovers 2–1 in the final.

Sadly, City knocked Newton Heath down the stairs in their Boxing Day match

The Heathens battled until the end finishing their season with a run of seven games undefeated. Boyd was the clubs top scorer (below) breaking up streaks by Cassidy and he did not miss a match all season. Bryant was the only other player to reach double figures. It is he who achieved the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick against Spurs in the FA cup and still ending up on the losing side.

Indeed, the season was a frustrating one for the club. Once more they had challenged for promotion only to fall by the wayside. In five seasons in the second division they had never finished lower than sixth place.

Season Statistics 1897 - 1898

Secretary: A. H. Albut
Second Division: 4th
FA Cup: Second Round
Top goalscorer League: Henry Boyd (22)
All: Henry Boyd (22)
Highest home attendance: 20,000 vs Manchester City (16 October 1897)
Lowest home attendance: 2,000 vs Loughborough (29 March 1898)
Average home attendance: 6,647

Henry Boyd was born in Pollokshaws, near Glasgow, but spent most of his career in England. He started out at Sunderland Albion and Burnley before joining West Bromwich Albion in 1892. After two years of sparing appearances for the Baggies he moved south to join Second Division Woolwich Arsenal in 1894. He made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Grimsby Town on 10 September 1894, and scoring another seven goals in the next four matches.

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Top Goal Scorer 1897-1898 Henry Boyd

Newton Heath signed him for £45 in January 1897; Boyd spent two and a half years with Newton Heath, scoring three hat-tricks in the 1897–98 season that he spent with the club, as he racked up 22 goals in total. However the following season, 1898–99, he only played five times (but still scored five goals), and in August 1899 he left Newton Heath for Falkirk. In all he scored 35 goals in 62 games for the Bank Street club, which makes him one of their most prolific forwards in terms of goals per game.

Chairman Davies kicks off at Bank Street Grounds at Clayton probably vs Notts County first home league match in Division 1. Drew 0-0 Attendance estimated around 20,000. Players nearest to the camera are Peddie, Sagar and Blackstock.

Below is a letter from the office of the superintendent of the carriage works, Frederick Attock. Attock is generally regarded to be the founder of Newton Heath LYR Football Club, latterly Manchester United.

Newton Heath Carriage and Wagon Works - Form front

To be continued …