Written by John White
Carryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club
Ireland’s Red Army
On this day in United’s history, 12 September 1925, Maine Road hosted its first ever Manchester Derby.
The First Division fixture ended 1-1 with Clatworthy Rennox scoring United’s first ever goal at Maine Road. United finished rock bottom of the First Division in season 1921-22 and were relegated to the Second Division (City finished in 10th place if the First Division).
Old Trafford hosted Second Division football for the next three seasons and in season 1924-25, we finished runners-up in the table to Champions Leicester City and won promotion back into the top- flight of English football.
During our sojourn in the Second Division our neighbours played First Division football at their Hyde Road ground up until the end of season 1922-23. At the start of the 1923-24 season, City were in a new home, Maine Road in the Moss Side area of Manchester. Plans to build Maine Road were first announced in May 1922, following a decision by Manchester City to vacate Hyde Road which did not have room for expansion and its main stand had been severely damaged by a fire in 1920.
Manchester City played their home games at Maine Road in the Moss Side area of Manchester from 1923 to 2003. However, what the blue quarter of the Red city of Manchester will not want United fans to know is that the actual Maine Road was originally called “Dog Kennel Lane,” and their ground was built on a former brickworks.
Dog Kennel Lane was then renamed Maine Road in the late 19th century after Maine Law gained international recognition and was the inspiration behind the formation of the United Kingdom Alliance. Maine Law was passed in Maine, USA in 1851 and was one of the first pieces of legislation associated with the temperance movement in America.
The United Kingdom Alliance was a Temperance Movement which was founded in Manchester on 20 July 1852. The movement’s aim was to ban alcohol and as it owned land on Dog Kennel Lane, it asked the local Authority to rename it Maine Road and their request was accepted. Maine Road was unbelievably nicknamed “The Wembley of the North.” I say unbelievably because if like me you ever had the misfortune to watch us play in it, then you will understand exactly what I mean.
I went to see United play at Maine Road twice, the first time was on 17 April 1985 when we beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final replay with goals from Bryan Robson and Mark Hughes. The second occasion was the last ever Manchester Derby at Maine Road, a 3-1 Premier League defeat on 9 November 2002 (scorer: Solskjaer). I thought it was a badly run-down ground.
During the construction of Maine Road in 1922, the site was believed to be the subject of a Gypsy Curse. The story goes that local officials evicted a gypsy camp from the immediate area in the early 1920s. I suppose the latter is an acceptable reason why the Blues only ever lifted two English First Division Championships (they never won the Premier League during their time on Moss Side) in the 80 years they played there.
City have been on the ascendency for a decade now and since Sir Alex retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, they have put us in the shade, hopefully not for too much longer. But, to play on the name of their former home, City were not always the Top Dogs in Manchester and during Sir Alex’s 26½ year reign at Old Trafford, he kept his noisy neighbours firmly tight lipped.
Fergie’s United played City 39 times in the First Division/Premier League with United winning 20, drawing 10 and losing just 9. They also met 8 times in the League Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield with The Boss coming out on top yet again with 6 wins to 2 defeats.
The Boss’s 500th competitive game in charge of Manchester United was a Manchester Derby at Old Trafford on 18th February 1996. United were trailing the runaway leaders, Newcastle United, in the Premier League but this was a 5th Round FA Cup tie. Goals from Eric Cantona, a penalty in the 39th minute, and a Lee Sharpe goal 11 minutes from time booked United a place in Round 6 of the world’s most famous cup competition. But more importantly it kept United’s youthful side on course for the club’s second Double which they duly achieved to prove Alan Hansen wrong because quite obviously you can win things with kids.
The first meeting between the two sides took place on 12 November 1881, when West Gorton St. Marks (later changed their name to Ardwick FC then to Manchester City) hosted Newton Heath (we became Manchester United in 1902). The Heathens won 3–0 and was described by the Ashton Reporter as “a pleasant game.”
The first competitive Manchester Derby took place in season 1894-95 when both clubs were in the English Second Division.
Saturday 3 November 1894 Manchester City 2-5 Newton Heath
Saturday 5 January 1895 Newton Heath 4-1 Manchester City
• League Wins – 62
• FA Cup wins – 6
• League Cup wins – 3
• Charity/Community Shield wins – 2
• League Wins – 47
• FA Cup wins – 3
• League Cup wins – 3
• Charity/Community Shield wins – 0
• United wins – 73
• Blues wins – 53
• Draws – 52
Wayne Rooney is the top goal scorer in the Manchester Derby, having scored 11 times against The Blues including his quite spectacular overhead bicycle kick in our 2-1 Premier League win at Old Trafford on 12th February 2011.
“I knew Nani was going to cross it so I was getting ready for an header, then it took a little deflection and come behind me. I never really had time to think and just tried the overhead and thankfully it went in the top corner,”
said Wayne after the game.
Did You Know That?
The Etihad Stadium, formerly known as The City of Manchester Stadium, was constructed to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games and cost £112 million to build. City got their hands on the “rent book” for the stadium in the summer of 2003 and are now in their 16th season as tenants hence the United fans nicknaming it “The Council House.”
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