1916/17 SEASON REVIEW
The War Leagues continued in regional divisions, City in the Lancashire Section where the clubs were increased from 14 to 16. Each club would have to pay one percent of net gate and stand receipts to the general expenses of the League and a further five percent to charity. It was a bad start to the season as City were beaten 1-0 at Stoke drew 0-0 at home to Southport Central then lost 2-1 at Blackburn. Improved form saw a 4-0 win over Blackpool and a 4-1 win over Everton, both games played at Hyde Road. City made it eight games unbeaten as they drew 2-2 at Rochdale then won 1-0 at Hyde Road against Bolton, 1-0 at Port Vale and 2-1 at home to Oldham. A reminder that there were more serious things than football going on in the world hit home with the news that Patrick ‘Paddy’ McGuire, City’s 26 year old reserve left back, who had played 15 times for the Blues before he enlisted in the Army had been killed in action whilst on manouvres in France with The Manchester Regiment. Football continued under the cloud of the Great War with City drawing 2-2 at Preston which was followed by a 2-1 defeat of Burnley at Hyde Road. Manchester United were the team to end City’s impressive run, beating The Blues 2-1 at Old Trafford. With twelve games played City were fifth, six points behind leaders Liverpool. Three draws followed, 1-1 at home to Liverpool, 0-0 at Edgeley Park against Stockport, and 1-1 at Hyde Road against Bury. City’s game against Stoke was postponed due to fog and they then drew again, 0-0 against Southport Central at Haig Avenue, and so moving into the Christmas fixtures The Blues were in 4th place on 19 points from 16 games, seven points behind leaders Liverpool. On Christmas Day City beat Stoke 1-0 in the rearranged game at Hyde Road and on Boxing Day in a friendly at Old Trafford they lost 1-0 to Manchester United. Back in the league against a depleted Blackburn team City won 8-0, before a further friendly against Manchester United, this time ending in a 0-0 draw at Hyde Road on New Years Day. City started 1917 with a 3-1 defeat at Blackpool, however the rest of the season was in doubt with the threat of a strike by certain clubs in the Lancashire Section, amongst these were Bury and Oldham who before the season started rallied for all gate receipts to be pooled, the idea was rejected and in the smaller towns like Bury the clubs were struggling to meet their fixtures with ever increasing financial losses. To avert the possible strike it was announced that subject to application to the League it was believed that the more prosperous clubs such as City and Liverpool would donate £150 each to try and help them financially. With the promise of a money donation accepted by the clubs City’s fixture against Everton went ahead as planned and The Toffees lost 2-0 at Goodison Park. City then beat Rochdale 2-1 at Hyde Road, drew 2-2 at Bolton and beat Port Vale 2-0 at home. The Blues moved into second place, with seven games to play they were five points behind Liverpool. The Blues then lost 2-1 at Oldham, a cash rich board then announced they were going to invest £3,000 in the War Fund, the Manchester Eveing News commented “It is not many years ago since the Hyde Road Club had not 3,000 halfpence”. The team kept up a concerted effort to try and reach the Division summit as they beat Preston at home 5-1, Burnley at Turf Moor 1-0 and Manchester United at Hyde Road 1-0. A top of the table clash against Liverpool at Anfield decided the title, City lost 3-0 and The Scousers were Champions. The league finished with a 3-1 defeat at home to Stockport and a 0-0 draw at Bury. City finished in fourth place with 37 points. As there were no Cup competitions The Subsidiary Section was then played this was played in groups of four teams playing each other home and away on a mini league basis. City were in group D. Although The Blues won their first two games 1-0 against Port Vale and Stoke, both games played at Hyde Road, they then lost 5-1 at Manchester United and 5-0 at Stoke, drew 0-0 at Port Vale and finally, lost at home to Manchester United 1-0. City finished bottom of Group D on five point. City played an end of season friendly at Hurst which ended in a 2-2 draw Despite it being a trophyless season, financially it was a success with the board announcing a season profit of £565.