Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not Enough121 years ago City beat United in a Cup Final, no history? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough 121 years ago City beat United in a Cup Final, no history? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

121 years ago City beat United in a Cup Final, no history?


Ok so technically it wasn’t Manchester City against Manchester United but it was both their previous incarnations with Ardwick AFC (City) beating Newton Heath (later United) 1-0 in the Manchester Senior Cup on this day 121 years ago. And they say we have no history!

For many sides in the Manchester area this was an important competition. For Ardwick and Newton Heath it was more important competition probably than even the FA Cup. For Ardwick to reach the final was a major landmark for the team who were still relatively young. 

The competition itself had only been established seven years earlier and three years in a new trophy was commissioned at an expense of 60 Guineas (1.05 pounds or $1.67 in todays money). That trophy is still contested today with the Manchester City reserves picking it up in 2010, 2007, 2005 and 2001. In the 1970’s it changed from senior teams into amateur and non league sides. From 1980 through to 1998 the competition wasn’t held but was reintroduced as a reserve team competition for the six professional clubs.  

It was actually the City secretary-manager Lawrence Furniss who was the visionary behind the development of Ardwick’s progression and later development into Manchester City and he saw the Manchester Cup as a significant first step.

Furniss is one major player in the reason Manchester City is even a club right now. He started off in the congregation of St Marks and played for the church team. A knee injury cut short his career but the loss on the field was a big gain off it in footballs backroom. For example he was a key player in the development and move to first Hyde and then Maine Road. With the fans at the time insisting that the latter ground be named after Mr Furniss in recognition of what he had done. 

In 1899 he became the Secretary-Manager of Ardwick and his leadership took the club to a whole other level. First, only to years after he took charge, Ardwick had won the Manchester Cup. The winning of this then allowed them to join the Football Alliance League (effectively a Division 2). Furniss had his heart set on being introduced into the higher league (Football League) but that wasn’t the case. He didn’t have to wait long though as his first season in the Alliance League got him promotion to the top division. This made him, at least up until Peter Reid came along 100 years later, the clubs youngest League manager. 

Back to the match though and Ardwick actually won the game early on with what was described in the local paper of the time as a ‘long shot’ after seven minutes from David Weir. Ardwick did have the ball in the back of the net again shortly after the opening goal but it was disallowed. I know what you are thinking, Howard Webbs great-great-grandfather? Nope, it was a free kick delivered directly into the net, the only problem was it was actually an ‘indirect’ freekick. Maybe they were hoping for a touch or maybe the rules were just so new that players had forgotten. Who knows however, I remember the introduction of the backpass being funny as goalkeepers automatically picked up the ball in the early seasons. 

Ardwicks nickname at the time was the ‘Brewerymen’ back then and funnily enough Newton Heath still had eyes on the evil side, nicknamed the ‘Heathens’. Now as United, they are the Red Devils. Ardwick would retain the trophy the following season, this time against Bolton. It was then that it was decided that the club could go one of two ways, either they would continue to play local sides for local trophies or go bigger. Opinions were split but in the end it was decided that the City needed a club to represent them as a whole and so the end of the 1893-94 season Ardwick was no more and Manchester City rose from the ashes and the rest is history.

PA Cityboy

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