1949/50 SEASON REVIEW
The new season saw City announce record profits of £21,382 from the previous season and also neighbours United would finish their tenancy at Maine Road as they moved back to a patched up Old Trafford after the the damage caused during the war. On August 6th 1949 City signed full back Roy Little from non-league Greenwood Victoria. City had a goalkeeping crisis and although Frank Swift had announced his retirement from football, he was persuaded to return for the first game of the season, and despite letting in three goals City drew 3-3 against Aston Villa at Maine Road. Swift was replaced by 19 year old rookie Ron Powell who arrived at Maine Road from non-league football the previous season, he made a n excellent debut as City drew 1-1 with League Champions, Portsmouth at Fratton Park. City then lost 3-1 at Charlton and back at Maine Road they beat Portsmouth 1-0, however against rivals United at Old Trafford they lost 2-1, and could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Everton , and so with just one win in the first six games City invested £10,000 in bringing in Ronnie Turnbull from Sunderland, the forward scored on his debut as the Blues beat Fulham 2-0 at Maine Road. Turnbull scored in his next game as well, but City were beaten 4-2 at Newcastle . The board then sold Billy Linacre to Middlesbrough for £12,000. City’s form was a matter of concern for the fans as over 57,000 saw Blackpool win 3-0 at Maine Road, and the Blues failed to score in two further games, drawing 0-0 at Middlesbrough and losing 3-0 at Chelsea . It was during the month of October that goalkeeper Bernhard (Bert) Trautmann signed for City from St Helens Town. Trautmann was a German prisoner of war and with the conflict only over four years earlier the disdain for the Germans was still fresh in the minds of the English and the signing caused controversy and furore, especially amongst the large Manchester Jewish community. However he was welcomed into the City team, Eric Westwood commenting “There’s no war in this dressing room, we welcome you as any other member of the staff, just make yourself at home and good luck.” Young Powell continued between the sticks whilst Trautmann proved his fitness on the traing pitch and City failed to win in their next two games drawing both, 1-1 at home to Stoke and 0-0 at Burnley . Despite a much welcomed 2-1 victory over Sunderland , City then lost 4-0 at Liverpool and 2-0 at home to Arsenal , with 16 games played the Blues had just 12 points, 1 point off the relegation zone. Trautmann made his debut away at Bolton where City went down 3-0. The following week Trautmann made his home debut against Birmingham . There were fears that the game could become more about protests against the German rather than the game and indeed there was a protest outside the ground, but smaller than the press had ‘eagerly’ predicted and a few supporters boycotted the game, sending their season tickets back to the club. The majority of the crowd got behind the team and Trautmann kept a clean sheet as the forwards found their shooting boots to beat Birmingham 4-0. A week later, and it was a different story, the team played atrociously on a quagmire of a pitch at the Baseball Ground and Derby won 7-0. Seven changes from the previous week’s Baseball Ground debacle saw Jimmy Alison make his debut against West Brom at Maine Road after his move from Falkirk and he helped City to a point in a 1-1 draw. But City then lost again 1-0 at Aston Villa and dropped to second from bottom of Division 1 with half the season gone. It was a mixed bag over Christmas with a 2-0 win over Charlton at Maine Road on Christmas Eve but a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield on Boxing Day, further defeats followed before the end of the year, 2-1 in the return fixture against Huddersfield and on New Years Eve another loss at Maine Road, 2-1 against neighbours Manchester United. The new 50s decade brought potential solace in the FA Cup, however Derby County continued their pleasure of scoring against City as they knocked the Blues out of the 3rd round, winning 5-3 at Maine Road. City failed to win their other two competetive games in January losing 1-0 at Fulham and drawing 1-1 at home to Newcastle. They also drew a friendly at Reading 0-0 February again was bereft of a victory despite two new arrivals at Maine Road, Billy Spurdle arrived for a fee of £12,000 from Oldham and Dennis Westcott also joined from Blackburn. City drew 0-0 at Blackpool then lost 1-0 to Middlesbrough at Maine Road, in between they drew 0-0 in a friendly at Barnsley , before another draw in the league 1-1 at home to Chelsea . Manager Jock Thompson had now seen his team fail to score away in the league since September and entering March relegation was looking likely for The Citizens. March brought a 2-0 defeat at Stoke and a 1-1 draw at home to Bolton. City then visited bottom of the table Birmingham sitting just one place below them and unfortunately for the blues this relegation battle was won 1-0 by the Midlanders. A further defeat, 2-1 at home to Liverpool, saw City rock bottom of Division 1 and four points adrift of safety with just eight games left to play. City scored their first away goal for nearly six months but were well beaten at Arsenal 4-1, however just when it was needed City won two games on the trot for the first time in the season, beating Burnley 1-0 and Wolves 2-1, both games at Maine Road. The Blues were still bottom of the league, but were now just two points behind third from bottom Charlton. Unfortunately Wolves then beat City 3-0 at Molyneux and with Charlton gaining a point the gap to survival increased to three points with just four games left. The Blues surprisingly gained their first away win of the season beating Sunderland 2-1 and then drew 2-2 against Derby at Maine Road, giving the Manchester fans a slight hope that they might catch Charlton. The penultimate game of the season saw The Blues draw 0-0 at West Brom and with Charlton winning City were relegated. The Blues travelled to Goodison Park for the last game of the season and despite a spirited display they were beaten 3-1 by Everton . City finished 21st in Division 1 on 29 points. As part of Bert Trautmann’s transfer City had agreed to play St Helens Town in friendlies for the next five seasons, the first of which City won 2-0, the day after, Jock Thompson resigned as manager. It was really a case of jumping before being pushed. Former City player Les McDowall was appointed as manager within 24 hours of Thompson’s departure, and one of his first jobs was to bring in amateur Ken Barnes from Stafford Rangers for a modest £750.