1914/15

1914/15 SEASON REVIEW

Despite Great Britain declaring war on Germany on 4th August 1914, less than a month later it was decided by the League Committee that football would continue as normal.
Most of the squad from the previous season were retained, however Outside Left Joe Spottiswoode moved to Bury after managing just six games since joining in September 1913, and forward William Wallace moved to Bolton after two and a half years at Hyde Road. City Manager, Ernest Mangnall, strengthened by persuading the board to pay £2,500 to Derby for the services of star striker Horace Barnes. He also brought in Left Half John Brennan from Bradford City.
There was concern for the Hyde Road pitch for the new season as City’s ground was used to temporarily stable the horses of The Manchester Artillery, it also meant the players had to train pre-season at Belle Vue. However two weeks before the opening day of the season the horses were removed and extra men were brought in to repair the playing surface.
The Blues played one pre-season friendly, beating a Local Amateur XI 2-0.
The players and major officials at Hyde Road pledged to give 5% of their wages every week to the local war fund, this should amount to up to £7 a week.
City started the season well and were unbeaten in September, they beat Bradford 4-1 at Hyde Road, drew 0-0 at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The won 1-0 at home against Burnley, 3-2 at Bolton and 2-1 against Tottenham at Hyde Road.
A 1-0 win at Blackburn cemented City as early League leaders, as well as the only unbeaten side, and they stayed unbeaten with a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle and a 2-0 win at Notts County, after eight games The Blues sat at the summit with 14 points, one point ahead of second placed Sheffield Wednesday.
October finished with a 1-1 draw at Hyde Road against Middlesbrough and a 2-0 win at Sunderland.
November started with a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United, and then after 11 unbeaten games City lost 2-1 at third placed Sheffield Wednesday, and also lost the lead in the Division as Oldham displaced them.
Hyde Road was covered in fog which caused the game against Aston Villa to be postponed, however it was quickly rearranged to be played four days later and City won 1-0, they won again 1-0 at West Brom and then drew 1-1 at home to Liverpool. After 15 games City were back at the top of the league on goal average from Oldham.
The Blues then lost 4-1 at Everton before Chairman, W A Wilkinson handed in his resignation due to business reasons, Councillor J E Chapman was elected as his replacement. A third consecutive defeat followed 3-2 at home to Bradford Park Avenue.
It was to be a better Festive period for City, they drew 0-0 at Chelsea on Christmas Day and then on Boxing Day they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Hyde Road before drawing 0-0 at leaders Oldham on New Years Day.
The Blues went unbeaten in January drawing 1-1 at home to Manchester United, then in the FA Cup 1st round they drew 0-0 with Preston at Deepdale, then in the replay Preston were beaten 3-0.
Not only were City entertaining the fans on the pitch they were doing everything they could for the troops at the front, in a letter received by the club from Corporal O’Neil of the Manchester Regiment stationed in India, he expressed his gratitude to Manchester City for their gift of cigarettes that the club had sent: “You cannot walk anywhere in our battalion without you hear ‘Good Old City’…You do not know how much the men appreciated your present. For the first hour after getting the cigarettes you could not see one another for smoke, it was like a factory chimney!”
Back in the league and City moved back into second place as they beat leaders Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor, before moving level on points as they beat Bolton 2-1 at Hyde Road. It was four wins on the trot as City beat Aston Villa 1-0 at home in the second round of the FA Cup.
In contrast to January, City failed to win any games in February, losing 3-1 at home to Blackburn, 2-1 at Newcastle and then were knocked out of the FA Cup, losing 1-0 against Chelsea in Manchester.
Back in the league they lost further ground with a 0-0 draw at home to Notts County and a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.
Moving into March City moved back to second spot with a 2-0 win at home to Sunderland, then with all the teams at the top dropping points The Blues moved to the top of the table again as they lost 3-2 at Liverpool, drew 2-2 at Tottenham and beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 at Hyde Road.
City then drew 0-0 at Sheffield United and beat West Brom 4-0 in Manchester. With just five games to play City were still top of the league, but with the chasing pack just a point behind.
Unfortunately City slipped out of the Championship race as they drew 0-0 at home to Oldham and 0-0 at Bradford. Then a 1-0 defeat to Everton in the last home game of the season saw The Toffees go top of the league.
It was then announced by the Football Association that due to the continued escalation of The Great War that indefinitely from the end of the season there would be no more league or international games played.
City finished the season in fifth as they lost the last two games 4-1 at Aston Villa and 3-1 at Bradford Park Avenue.

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