1919 to 20 team group

Following The First World War this was the first season that the Football League returned to competitive games, matches played in the previous seasons during the War were classed as friendlies. League Division One had been increased to 22 teams and on the opening day at Hyde Road City drew 3-3 with Sheffield United. Just two days later they beat Oldham 3-1 at Boundary Park, then were beaten 3-1 at Sheffield United before bestowing a double over Oldham with a 3-1 win in Manchester, a mixed start to the season saw a 4-1 home defeat against Bolton. The early table put City in mid-table with five points from five games. Bolton piled on the agony for City by scoring a further six goals to beat The Blues 6-2 at Burnden Park Despite beating Notts County 4-1 at Hyde Road it was a disappointing start to the season for Ernest Mangnall’s side as Notts County the beat City 4-1 at Meadow Lane, then in the first Derby of the season Manchester United gained a point in a 3-3 draw at Hyde Road and the at Old Trafford Manchester United took all the points in a 1-0 defeat of the Blues. In an effort to turn their form around Mangnall attended a unique auction of players at the Metropole Hotel in Leeds. Leeds City had been kicked out of the League Diivision 2 the week before due to illegal wartime payments, the team was disbanded and the player’s registrations were now held by The Football League who arranged the auction. City successfully bid for two players, paying £800 for Tommy Lamph and Ernest Goodwin for £500. City’s form immediately improved as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-2 in Manchester in the last game in October. The Blues were undefeated in November, they drew 0-0 at Sheffield Wednesday, then on 7th November 1919 City manager Ernest Mangnall pulled off a major coup as ‘Amateur sportsman’ Max Woosnam signed for City after playing for Corinthians and Cambridge at amateur level and also appearing on the books of Chelsea as an amateur. It would be some time before Woosnam would make his debut as he wanted to concentrate on his new paid job in Manchester, however his new team mates were out to prove they didn’t need him in the side as they thrashed Blackburn 8-2 at Hyde Road and then at Ewood Park Blackburn were well beaten again, 4-1, and back in Manchester Derby lost 3-1. The last game in November was a 0-0 draw at The Baseball Ground against Derby. City’s excellent form had seen them move into sixth place in the league, just five points behind leaders Burnley with a game in hand. City’s form took a sudden slump as they lost 3-2 at home to West Brom, then at The Hawthorns West Brom won again, 2-0, and a further defeat followed, 2-1 at Sunderland. With the Festive period approaching City had slipped to 14th in the league, however the Division was tight as City were ten points off the summit and only eight points off the bottom. It was to be a mixed Christmas as they drew 1-1 with Everton at Hyde Road on Christmas Day, then on Boxing Day at Goodison Park Everton won 2-0  and a day later in Manchester City beat Sunderland 1-0. Woosnam eventually made his debut at half-back on 1st January 1920 in a 1-0 win over Bradford at Hyde Road, he missed the game at Highbury against Arsenal which ended in a 2-2 draw, however he was instrumental in City’s next three games as they beat Clapton Orient 4-1 in the 1st Round of The FA Cup, then in the league they beat Arsenal 4-1 and Middlesbrough 1-0, all three games were at home. The next round of the FA Cup was at Second Division Leicester, however a late withdrawal by Woosnam due to work commitments and City’s defense fell apart and they lost 3-0. Moving into February City improved their League position slightly, they beat Burnley 3-1 at Hyde Road then at Turf Moor Burnley got their revenge with a 2-0 win, a fruitful trip to Ayresome Park to play Middlesbrough ended in a 2-0 victory for the Blues and then at Deepdale they drew 1-1 with Preston. After 30 games the League Table showed City in seventh position, ten points behind leaders West Brom. James Cumming then left City, joining West Ham United. City’s home form was excellent as they made it five victories on the trot in Manchester beating Bradford Park Avenue 4-1 and Preston 1-0. However away from home they struggled losing 1-0 at Liverpool and 2-1 at Bradford Park Avenue. It was a right Regal occasion at Hyde Road on 27th March as King George VI visited Manchester and was presented to the teams on the pitch prior to the game against Liverpool, a packed crowd of over 35,000 saw The Blues win 2-1. City’s woeful display away from Manchester continued as they lost 1-0 at Chelsea and 1-0 at Valley Parade against Bradford City. But again back at Hyde Road it was seven wins on the trot as Chelsea were beaten 1-0. With just four games left to play, City sat in seventh in Division 1 with no chance of catching leaders West Brom who were 15 points ahead. The season came to a close with a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle then a 0-0 draw at Hyde Road again against Newcastle, a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa and finally a 2-2 home draw agaist Aston Villa. City finished seventh in Division one with 45 points. Before the Summer break City signed forward Wilf Woodcock from rivals United and announced a healthy profit of over £12,000

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