pre-season training 1913 to 14


City started the campaign with much the same squad as the previous season and putting their faith in youth brought in various amateur and junior players; James Abbott and brothers Albert and Peter Fairclough from Eccles Borough, Jim Cummings from Clydebank, Billy Blyth from Wemyss Athletic, Joseph Spottiswood from Carlisle United and Hall from Barnsley.

pre-season training 1913 to 14 new players hall barnsley jrs abbott a Fairclough eccles cummings clydebank jrs blyth wemyss p fairclough eccles

Some of City’s new intake; Hall, Abbott, A Fairclough, Cummings, Blyth & P Fairclough

Val Lawrence was allowed to leave for Oldham having played just 22 games for City. William Kelly also left the club after playing just ten games. it was a decent start as The Blues drew 1-1 at Aston Villa, 1-1 at home to Middlesbrough and beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane. The early table showed City in fith place in Division 1.
Three games later they had slipped to 15th with consecutive defeats, losing 2-1 at home to Derby, 3-1 at Tottenham and 3-2 at Bradford City.
City were on the slide and they went ten games without a win, losing 2-1 at home to Blackburn, then drawing 0-0 at Sunderland, 1-1 against Everton at Hyde Road and 0-0 at West Brom. There were major concerns for the Blue’s form and the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser wrote “It is generally recognised that money will have to be expended in procuring League players of experience if the club is to improve it’s present mediocre record. But, most of all, a first class centre half is required, in fact, imperatively needed. Though the forwards are not nearly so effective as they might be, it is the half-back line which is in most urgent need of recruits, and it is hoped steps will be taken to remedy the weak places.”
The board decided to invest in a top striker and brought in Centre Forward Tommy Browell from Everton for a fee thought to be over £1,700.
They then lost 2-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday with Browell making his debut, then lost 3-0 at Bolton, and were in a precarious position, second from bottom on just seven points from twelve games.
After a good 2-1 home win against Chelsea, Mangnall persuaded the Directors to spend £1,250 to bring Half back Ted Hanney to Hyde Road from Reading and he made his debut in a further victory, 3-1 at Oldham, however a 2-0 defeat at Hyde Road against Manchester United kept City one place above the bottom of the league.
Len Hall after failing to find a consistent place in the City side was allowed to move to Dundee.
A further defeat followed, 2-0 at Burnley and relegation was certainly in the mind of the fans as City could only draw 1-1 at home to bottom placed Preston.
The Festive period brought three games in three days, City lost 4-2 at Liverpool on Christmas Day, then on Boxing Day at Hyde Road Liverpool were beaten 1-0, however a further defeat followed, 2-0 at Middlesbrough.
The New Year brought a totally different City side as they won their first two league games of 1914, beating Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park and Sheffield United 2-1 at Hyde Road.
They continued their better form into the FA Cup beating Fulham at home 2-0 in the first round. Then beat Derby 4-2 at The Baseball Ground.
The Blues then beat Tottenham twice in Manchester, 2-1 in the league and a week later in the second round of the FA Cup Tottenham lost 2-1 again.
City made it five league victories on the trot as they beat Bradford City at Hyde Road, The side had dragged themselves out of the relegation zone and now stood twelth in Division One with 24 points from 25 games.
Co-incidentally City then played league leaders Blackburn twice in a week, losing 2-1 in the league and then in the 3rd round of the FA Cup Blackburn were beaten 2-1, both games at Ewood Park.
Back in the league City were defeated again, 1-0 at Everton, and then it was back to the FA Cup and a 0-0 draw against Sheffield United at Hyde Road in the fourth Round, the replay five days later saw deadlock again with Sheffield United as the teams drew 0-0.
A break for the league and a 2-2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday was followed two days later with the second replay against Sheffield United who scored the only game of the three match marathon to knock City out with a 1-0 victory.
Back in the league it was a welcome win as The Blues beat Sunderland 3-1 at Hyde Road. However Bolton’s first ever win at Hyde Road with a 1-0 victory and further defeats, 3-2 to West Brom at Home and 1-0 at Chelsea saw City plunged back into a relegation battle they were now third from bottom three points ahead of second bottom Derby with six games to play.
The Blues then announced they had signed Dutch Amateur International winger Nico JJ Bouvy who had moved to Manchester for Business reasons. (He would only ever make two reserve team appearances for the club as he had to return to Holland).
City found some form just in time, at Hyde Road they beat Oldham 2-1  and Aston Villa 3-1, then leapfrogged local rivals Manchester United in the league by beating them 1-0 at Old Trafford. The Blues were now fifth from bottom and United third from bottom.
The busy Easter period brought a third game in three days as The Blues were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle at Hyde Road.
The penultimate game of the season saw a poor Burnley side clearly with their minds on their impending FA Cup final appearance easily beaten 4-1 by City and the season finished with a 2-2 draw at Preston.
City finished 13th in Division 1 on 36 points.
The Blues played one post season friendly beating a combined Northwich and Witton XI 5-3.
After just one year with the club Billy Blyth moved to Arsenal. William Eadie also moved away as he was transferred to Derby County
The City directors announced that subject to coming to agreement with The Great Central Railway Company they would purchase the Railway Company’s land to increase Hyde Road’s capacity to 70.000 at a cost expected to be £20,000. Unfortunately the board couldn’t come to an agreement with the Railway Company and after a record year on the finance front the Chairman mooted a possible option of building a large new ground on land they had the option on just three minutes walk from the lakeside entrance to Belle Vue on Mount Road, Gorton. It would need some outside financing and so the idea was parked pending further investment.

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