1898/99 SEASON REVIEW
City’s major signing during the summer was Dundee winger Andrew Cowie.
The Blues played one pre-season friendly, winning 4-0 at Seedley
City were one of the favourites for promotion and the fans must have thought it would be a certainty as they beat Grimsby 7-2 at Hyde Road on the opening day of the season. However they soon were brought back to reality as they lost 3-1 against Newton Heath in Clayton, then drew 1-1 at Hyde Road against New Brighton Tower and lost 3-1 at Lincoln. The early Division 2 table saw City in 12th place with just three points from four games.
The Blues looking to boost their chances of promotion, bought Bolton Wanderers’ captain Di Jones for around £50.
October brought four straight wins, 3-1 at home to Woolwich Arsenal, 3-0 at Luton, 3-1 at Hyde Road against Leicester Fosse and 2-0 against Darwen at Barley Bank. City had now moved up to fourth in the league. The Blues’ played one more match in October, a friendly at Hyde Road where they beat Newton Heath 2-1.
The good form carried into November with a 1-1 draw at Barnsley, a 2-1 victory at Glossop North End, 2-0 win at home to Walsall and a 3-3 draw at Burton Swifts. The Blues were now third in the league, just two points behind leaders, Newton Heath.
The first game in December was a 3-1 win at home to Burslem Port Vale, a result that saw City leapfrog local rivals Newton Heath to sit atop Division 2 on goal average.
Next was a double header, at Loughborough City won 3-1 and a week later at Hyde Road, helped by a Meredith hat-trick, Loughborough were beaten again, 5-0. Moving into the festive period City had a two point lead over the chasing pack.
On Christmas Eve City beat Blackpool 4-2 on the Lancashire coast then on Boxing Day at Hyde Road they beat their nearest rivals, Newton Heath to go four points clar in Division 2.
One day later The Blues lost for the first time in 14 games, losing 4-1 at Small Heath. Then on New Years Eve the game against Grimsby at Abbey Park was played in a snowstorm and with the score 0-0 at half-time the match was abandoned.
Moving in to 1899 City were still top of Division 2 with 27 points from 18 games, however New Brighton Tower were just one point behind with a game in hand.
The New Year started with a second league defeat on the trot as City were beaten at Hyde Road, 2-0 by Glossop North End. Then in a friendly at Newton Heath they were beaten 2-0 again.
Prior to their top of the table clash with New Brighton Tower, The Blues stayed at Lytham for some special training, and it certainly worked as they won 1-0 in a tight game.
City then lost their lead at the top of the League as their game against Lincoln was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and Leicester Fosse moved one point ahead.
The Blues’ participation in the FA Cup was short lived as they were knocked out at Small Heath, losing 3-2 in the first round.
February started with a 2-0 win at home to Luton and a 1-1 draw at Leicester Fosse. City led the table again with 32 points from 22 games, New Brighton Tower and Leicester Fosse were just one point behind, but both had played 23 games.
City then put in an amazing performance at Hyde Road against Darwin, winning 10-0, then in their rearranged game at home to Lincoln they won again, this time by a more modest 3-1. With just ten games to play they looked favourites for promotion, three points clear at the top with a very superior goal average.
With promotion in mind the board strebgthened the squad for the final push by signing Jimmy Ross, Burnley receiving a fee of £50.
Despite a 3-1 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity City started March with a 5-0 win at home to Barnsley.
The Blues then played two friendly matches the first at Liverpool for the benefit of Archie Goldie, The Citizens winning 1-0. Then in a benefit for Jimmy Vaughan they beat Thhe Druids 6-1 at Wynnstay Park.
Back in the league and City drew 1-1 at Walsall then turned on the style to beat Burton Swifts 6-0 at Hyde Road.
Easter was a great time for City, they beat Gainsborough Trinity 4-0 at Hyde Road on Good Friday, on Easter Saturgay they drew 1-1 at Burslem Port Vale and then beat Woolwich Arsenal 1-0 at The Manor Ground on Bank Holiday Monday.
With just three games to play City were five points in front of the rest of the pack and promotion looked inevitable, and indeed it was confirmed as they beat Small Heath 2-0 at Hyde Road a victory that also confirmed them as Second Division Champions.
The penultimate league game of the season brought another victory, 2-1 at Grimsby.
City then beat Stockport 2-0 in the semi-final of the friendly Healey Cup tournament. And finished their championship winning season with a 4-1 win at home to Blackpool to finsh on 52 points.
The Blues played several end of season friendlies starting with The Healey Cup Final in which they beat Newton Heath 2-1. They then lost 3-1 at home to Hibernian.
A specially arranged double header between both promoted sides saw Glossop North End beaten 2-1 at Hyde Road then at Glossop, City were beaten 2-0. In the final friendly Burnley drew 2-2 at Hyde Road.
At the end of the succesful promotion season City looked to improve Hyde Road and try and increase capacity by 4,000, they bought a stand from The Fulham Pageant which had to be transported all the way to Manchester, it was anticipated the total cos inclucing erection would be £1,500.