Written by John White
Carryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club
Northern Ireland’s No.1 Branch & the Home of Irish Reds
Following on from yesterday’s story about how a St Bernard dog helped to save Manchester United, Click Here, John gives us a further insight into how some other animals played a part in the history of Newton Heath FC.
In season 1894-95, morale within Newton Heath FC began to drop as the on-field performances were off-colour resulting in fewer fans turning up for home games.
But thankfully in Mr Albut, the club had a very shrewd secretary who employed various ruses to drum up support for the club.
One of his money making schemes was to place an advertisement in the local press inviting fans to come along and listen to the “Bank Street canary” sing prior to home games.
Intrigued fans turned up at the ground and paid in only to find out that the canary was in fact a goose which was corralled in a pen in one corner of the ground being fattened up for Mr Albut’s Christmas dinner.
It was also around this time that the club adopted its first ever mascot, a goat which the players brought back to the pub with them after home games and filled the poor creature with ale until the intoxicated animal fell over.
Albut would try almost anything to raise money and on another occasion after he had heard about a rival club’s star player complaining that he had not received his wages he pulled off a huge publicity stunt.
Newton Heath FC had recently received a writ from one of the club’s debtors and Albut persuaded the player to be photographed serving the writ on his club which led to the club releasing him.
Albut then signed the player and £10 was added to the next home gate when the fans turned up to see the new recruit. Things were so bad at times that a club director had his house sold over his head to pay the club’s debts thereby avoiding bankruptcy and the grasp of the Official Receiver.
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