1925/26 SEASON REVIEW
For the new season City brought in Scottish International left back Phil McCloy from Ayr United
In an attempt to bring more goals into the game, The Football Association made a major change in the offside rule at the start of the 1925/26 season, instead of three opponents having to be nearer their own goal line, there would now just have to be two. a rule which still stands today.
The rule change certainly worked as nearly double the amount of goals were scored throughout the league than the the year before’s opening day. City’s game against Cardiff at Maine Road produced five goals, The Blues beating The Bluebirds 3-2.
City, though, failed to score in their next two games and lost 1-0 at Birmingham and 1-0 at Tottenham.
City then drew 1-1 against Manchester United and, after being 4-1 down to Everton at half-time, they came back to draw 4-4, Tommy Browell grabbing all City’s goals, both games played at Maine Road.
Two further games followed without a victory, a 4-1 defeat at West Brom and a 2-2 draw at Huddersfield, to leave City third from bottom of Division one with just five points from seven games.
A first win in seven games saw City beat Sunderland 4-1 at Maine Road, they then drew 3-3 at Blackburn and lost 2-1 at Liverpool.
Tommy Browell, after scoring four goals against The Toffees then scored five as The Blues went goal crazy to beat Burnley 8-3 at Maine Road. With a quarter of the season gone City were 16th in the league on ten points, just two points of the relegation zone and nine points off the summit.
As is, and always seemingly will be, City’s unpredicability they then amazingly lose 8-3 at Sheffield United.
City then lost a further four games on the trot, 3-1 at West Ham, 4-2 at home to Sheffield United, 5-2 against Arsenal, again at Maine Road and 5-1 at Bolton.
Five defeats on the trot saw The Blues rock bottom of Division 1 with just 10 points from 16 games.
City then drew at home 1-1 against Notts County and with just three wins in 17 games the City board decided to relieve manager David Ashworth of his post, without a replacement in hand City vice-chairman Albert Alexander and certain directors took responsibility for team affairs.
There was a slight rally under the new regime, despite losing 3-1 at Aston Villa they then beat Leicester 5-1 at Maine Road and 4-3 at Leeds before drawing 2-2 at home to Newcastle.
The Festive period was not a good time for City fans, in an amazing game on Christmas Day The Blues lost 6-5 to Bury at Gigg Lane and then in the return game at Maine Road on Boxing Day Bury won 2-0.
The New Year brought more favorable results with a 3-1 win on New Years Day against West Brom at Maine Road and then a 2-2 draw at Cardiff, however after 25 games City were still bottom of Division 1 with 19 points, however just one point stood between them and seven clubs above.
Away from the pressures of the relegation flight, City travelled to The Crystal Palace Grounds to play the great amateur side The Corinthians in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and in a terrific game The Corinthians gained a replay with a 3-3 draw.
In the replay at Maine Road City swept The Corinthians aside with a 4-0 win.
City continued in their unbeaten run in 1926 with a 0-0 draw at home to Tottenham and then a sensational 6-1 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The Blues had moved up to 15th in the Division 1 but were only one point off the relegation zone.
In the FA Cup City beat Huddersfield 4-0 at Maine Road where a crowd of nearly 75,000 crammed into Maine Road escaped with just a few cuts and bruises as a barrier gave way when City scored their third goal.
City were certainly in the midst of a relegation battle and they gave themselves a greater chance of surviving by bringing in Scottish International half back Jimmy McMullan from Partick Thistle for a fee reported to be around £5,000.
McMullan wasn’t signed in time for a 5-1 defeat to Huddersfield at Maine Road and a 1-1 draw at Everton and also didn’t play in a 5-3 defeat at Sunderland, City were now equal bottom of the league on 23 points with Burnley and Notts County with just 12 games of the season left.
The FA Cup certainly gave some respite for the City players and the 5th Round tie against Crystal Palace would go down in the record books as The Blues won 11-4 the record top score by any City team in a Cup match.
City couldn’t find their shooting boots in the league though and drew 1-1 at home to Liverpool, before earning a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup by beating Clapham Orient 6-1 at Millfields Road.
and then although City beat West Ham 2-0 at Maine Road, it could have been that minds were more on a semi-final clash against rivals United because The Blues then lost two further league games, 1-0 at home to Blackburn and 1-0 at Arsenal, with just eight games to play relegation was looking more likely City were rock bottom of Division 1 on 26 points with Notts County and Burnley above them on 27 points.
And so to the first all Manchester FA Cup Semi-Final, the tie was played at Bramall Lane and Manchester United were well beaten 3-0 by relegation threatened City.
In a rehearsal for an all Lancashire FA Cup Final The Blues drew 1-1 in the league with Bolton at Maine Road, but then lost 4-2 at home to Birmingham and 1-0 at fellow strugglers Notts County. City were now two points adrift of County and Burnley with just five games to play.
City suddenly found some form in the league they beat relegation rivals Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor, Aston Villa 4-2 at Maine Road and Leicester 3-2 at Filbert Street.
With two league games left Notts County were bottom on 31 points, Burnley were second from bottom on 32 points and City were a place above them on 33 points.
City lost The all Lancashire FA Cup Final 1-0 to Bolton and two days later appointed Peter Hodge, as manager with the hope of avoiding relegation in their final two games. They gathered two points with a 2-1 win at home to Leeds in a game which had such bad light the teams weren’t allowed to leave the pitch at half-time and allowed just two minutes to change ends and kick off for the second half. The result meant that their survival was in their own hands, Notts County were already relegated on 31 points, Leeds and Burnley had 34 points and City 35 points.
Unfortunately City lost 3-2 at Newcastle and with other results going against them Hodge’s new team were relegated, making history again by becoming the first side to appear in The FA Cup Final and be relegated in the same season. As the press had claimed, it had been a ‘topsy—turvy’ season.