MANCHESTER CITY 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
FA Cup Semi-Final
Played at Bramall Lane
27th March 1926
Scorers Browell(14 & 75), Roberts(77)
City Goodchild, Cookson, McCloy, Cowan, Pringle, McMullan, Austin, Browell, Roberts, Johnson, Hicks
United Steward, Moore, Silcock, McCrae, Barson, Mann, Spence, Smith, Rennox, McPherson, Thomas
TOMMY BROWELL SCORES CITY’S FIRST GOAL
Extracts from an article by Gary James published in the FA Cup Semi-Final programme 16th April 2010/11
“This is an historic event, one that may never occur again,” claimed the Manchester Evening Chronicle when the first all Manchester FA Cup Semi-Final was played in 1926. One newspaper claimed that the all-Manchester clash, staged at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane, would be, “The greatest of the Cup ties that have ever been played,” and, in terms of interest, the newspaper was spot on.
…On Semi-Final day, City were 22nd on 26 points while United, who had been promoted the previous season, were sixth with 36 points. When the venue was selected further complications were thrown City’s way when it was leaked the Blues had made an approach for the Blades manager John Nicholson. Over at United there was significant disappointment with the selected venue. A spokesman explained, “I think the choice of Bramall Lane will be very disappointing to all our supporters. What would have been wrong with Bolton? It would have saved both players and spectators from travelling.”
Venue concerns continued, especially when City’s ticket allocation was three times oversubscribed a full two weeks before the game. Some suggested larger venue should have been selected, but on the same day United revealed they still had tickets remaining on open sale to anyone interested. Inevitably, they were soon snapped up and it was reported that City fans were paying 30 shillings for five shilling seat tickets, such was the demand amongst Blues. For the players, the clubs had differing views of what constituted appropriate preparation. City travelled to Buxton two days before the game and held a billiards tournament, played golf, and used modern treatments such as brine baths. While the Blues felt these activities would give them the edge, United’s captain Frank Barson laughed, “We are not having brine baths or golfing in our training, but we are keeping to the old-fashioned methods. “Uniteds `old fashioned’ approach meant they stayed in Manchester and watched a show at the Ardwick Empire on the eve of the game. The show included a performance by ‘Hamilton Conrad’s Pigeons’!
The game saw City take an early lead with a disputed headed goal from Browell, United claimed the ball had not crossed the line, the Athletic News said there was no doubt it had. They reported that the Reds developed an extremely negative approach culminating in Frank Barson cynically injuring a City man, “Cowan was knocked flat out! A merciless crash it was, and altogether too vigorous. Cowan lay flat; Barson crouched on his knees and the crowd, suspecting the old soldier’, roared the more.”
Barson ultimately received an eight-week ban for his actions.
Despite the negativity City excelled and were in control. With 15 minutes remaining a mistake by Barson allowed City’s Tommy Browell to fire home his second of the game. Two minutes later Frank Roberts made it 3-0 and City secured the victory, becoming the first Manchester side to play at Wembley Stadium.