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Update #14 : United Teams through the ages (Manchester United 1906 - 1907)

Published by iczster in the blog iczster's blog. Views: 1087

With being busy with major site improvements of late I havent done one of these in a while, so here is the next history update, it is quite a lengthy one the 1906-1907 season was full of incident.

This was the season that Manchester United finally arrived as a major force in the footballing world. Boasting an exciting lineup and playing a brand of football that was to become a hallmark at the club. The backbone of the team had come across from their rivals Man City after a sensational scandal had erupted at the Ardwick club. Players were all supposed to be on a fixed wage of 4 pounds per game, it was discovered that City had been paying 6 or 7 pounds a week per player. The FA were furious about this discovery and dismissed five of the Man City directors and banned 17 of its players from ever appearing in a blue shirt again.

The photograph below was taken before the traditional pre-season practice match. Eleven players are wearing red home kits while the other eleven are wearing light shirts with a white collar. Could they really be wearing sky blue?
Manchester United 1906-07 team photograph

Mangnall acted swiftly and managed first of all to sign Billy Meredith (in 1906) later adding the services of four other City players. Meredith had also been involved in a bribe fiasco and it is said he was lucky not to be banned from the game for life. It is interesting to note here that although the players were signed in 1906, they all were serving FA mandated suspensions, so they did not make their debuts in a Red shirt until 1907. Billy Meredith was known as the 'Welsh Wizard' as he provided the spark that set apart Man United from other clubs establishing a tradition for players of the highest quality to follow him. He was the George Best of the Edwardian era - rebellious, skilled and popular. Many questions about the player's long layoffs were soon answered in the first game of 1907 against Aston Villa when an inspired Meredith darted and teased the Villa defence, finally plotting its downfall by laying on a cross for Turnball to slam into the net.

New years day marked the beginning of a dynamic era for Manchester UTD. It was the day new recruits Billy Meridith, Sandy Turnbull, Herbert Burgess and Jimmy Bannister all made their debuts for the Bank Street side. The four former Manchester City players, suspended over illegal payments and attempted bribery, had signed for United during 1906 but could not make their debuts until their lengthy suspension ended at midnight on the 31st December of that year. It had been an agonising wait but now, just hours after the deadline passed, their first opportunity to pull on the red shirt United came in a home fixture against 3rd place Aston Villa. The fixture list (see below) had cunningly contrived to provide United with a real test.

By the end of the season United had climbed to 8th place and their brand of football was the talk of the town, more importantly they were poised to make an assault one the big prize, the Championship. The 1906–07 season was Manchester United's 15th season in the Football League.

Season Statistics 1906-1907

Top goal scorer all competitions 1906-1907 George Wall

George Wall was born in Boldon Colliery, County Durham, Wall started his career with Boldon Royal Rovers, and played for Whitburn and Jarrow before joining Barnsley in 1903. In almost three years with Barnsley, Wall scored 24 league goals at a rate of almost one goal in every three games. In 1906, he transferred to Manchester United, who helped win the 1908 and 1911 league titles, as well as the 1909 FA Cup. He left the club in 1915 because of World War I, and joined Oldham Athletic after the war in 1919. He scored 98 goals for United in his career. He then played for two seasons with Oldham, before travelling north of the border to Hamilton Academical. He returned to England to play for Rochdale a year later, but dropped out of league football in 1923, playing for fc Ashton National and Manchester Ship Canal. He retired in 1927. Wall also won seven caps for England, scoring two goals. He died, aged 77, in 1962.

Some rare match day photographs for the season.

Taken at the FA Cup tie against Portsmouth on January 12, 1907

Portsmouth Vs Manchester United, January 12, 1907

Below we have some more rare memorobilia from the 1906-1907 season.

1906-1907 Official Souvenir of the Manchester United Football Club, showing a team photo only inside.

Rare photograph of the player rosta for this season

Fixture List from a cigarette company-very scarce item for 1906-1907

Do not think this has any relevance at all, but it came with some cards which were once signed by Billy Meredith. This is an invoice for a bicycle purchased by Miss Poopy Morton in 1907, maybe Billy bought it for her? After all he was on £4 a week wages!!

Above a rare insight into Meridiths life, an invoice for a bicycle purchased in 1907

To be continued ....
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