The start to the 20th century held little relief for the Heathens who had acheived little in recent years and were languishing in the shadow of their rivals Man City who had been recently promoted to the 1st division. The team at that time did see a few changes with Frank Barrett in goal, Harry Stafford and Fred Erentz at the fullback positions, Morgan Griffiths and Carwright were regular choices as centre back, while up front Bryant, Jackson and Cassidy were the regulars. The club had forged strong links Wales at the time and boasted seven Welsh internationals in the line-up, many of them arriving in Manchester looking for work on the railroad. Although rich in Welsh international talent the Club had not a single English International on the books (Billy Bryant was picked to represent the Football League). But even with a solid team and a lot of Welsh internationals Newton Heath could not get the promotion they so desperately needed. For the third time in a row they finished fourth in the second division.
The players are: back, left to right: Stafford, Whitehouse (gk), Erentz. Middle: Billy Morgan, Griffiths, Cartwright. Front: Alf Schofield, Hugh Morgan, Leigh, Jackson, Fisher.
The 1899–1900 season was Newton Heath’s eighth season in the Football League and their sixth in the Second Division. They finished fourth in the league, which was not enough to earn promotion back to the First Division. In the FA Cup, the Heathens were knocked out in the First Round Qualifying by South Shore.
The club also entered teams in the Lancashire and Manchester Senior Cups in 1899–1900, but little progress was made in either competition. The club received a bye to the third round of the Manchester Senior Cup, but lost 5–0 to Bury. It was a similar story in the Lancashire Cup, as they beat Bolton Wanderers 3–2 in the first round before losing 1–0 to Southport Central in the second round.
Season Statistics 1899-1900
Secretary : A. H. Albut
Second Division : 4th
FA Cup : First Round Qualifying
Top goalscorer League: Joe Cassidy (16)
All: Joe Cassidy (16)
Highest home attendance : 12,000 vs Small Heath (17 February 1900), 12,000 vs Grimsby Town (3 March 1900)
Lowest home attendance: 5,000 vs eight different opponents
Average home attendance: 6,059
It must come as no surprise that our man Joe Cassidy is once again top scorer in this season
Newton Heath kicked off the 20th Century with a league fixture at Clayton against Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers. But it was not a portentious initiation to the new age as they lost 2-1. Bolton were later promoted, while the Heathens once more finished in fourth place and again missed out on promotion
Above the Sunday Chronicle write up of the game versus Bolton Wanderers 7th January 1900 (you will need to concentrate to make out the text)
After eight years in the football league they had achieved little and were languishing in the shadow of their close neighbours Manchester City, recently promoted to the first division. It would eventually improve, but, unfortunately, not before it got worse. There were a few notable changes in the line-up. Frank Barret remained in goal with Harry Stafford and Fred Erentz shielding him. Morgan, Griffiths and Cartwright were automatic choices for the half-back line up while up front Bryant (below), Jackson and Cassidy (below) were the regulars. The closing years of the 19th century had seen Newton Heath wave goodbye to two fine players in James McNaught and John Peden, later dubbed the first George Best, and was said to delight in weaving his way down the wing and, by all accounts, was just as tempermental and awkward as his successor. There were no England players prior to 1900, but Billy Bryant did play for the Football League against the Irish League inh 1897. One signing in 1900 proved to be inspired, Liverpudlian Alf Schofield, who came from Everton where he had played only a handful of games. He remained with United until 1907, when, after 179 games, he was succeeded on the right wing by Billy Meredith. More about him in future updates.
Above (not a great picture) Billy Bryant and Joe Cassidy started the 20th Century by causing the Bolton goalkeeper ‘further trouble’, but failed to score and the game was lost when Barret conceded a soft goal.
Now we have seen out the 19th Century see below for a poster which sums up the 19th century honours list.
Below is another treat which is an original Newton Heath Baines Card. The one below is of Jack Powell who played for Newton Heath between 1886-1891. This is an original Sharpe’s Card c 1890 depicting him as captain of Newton Heath.
Here is a team photograph from the cup winning team that Powell was in after beating Royton in the Manchester Cup
Manchester Senior Cup Winners 1889-1890
Powell is reputed to be the first ever Welshman to play for an English club at a professional level. At the turn of the 19th century these cards stopped being produced.
Jack Powell Newton Heath & Wales
To be continued …