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Manchester - A Football History [Hardcover]

Gary James
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2008
Published to coincide with the UEFA Cup final, staged at the City of Manchester Stadium, in May 2008 and to mark the 400th anniversary of football being banned in Manchester (that's right football was banned in Manchester in 1608!). The book provides the stories of Manchester's greatest footballing achievements, while also answering questions such as: Why did football in Manchester develop the way it did? How do the Manchester sides compare in terms of local support, trophy success, and so on. Manchester - A Football History will prove to be the definitive story of football in the Manchester region. Following the success of his Channel M series on the same subject, writer and football historian Gary James' latest book details the story of Mancunian football from the Middle Ages through to the modern day. The book reveals many new and interesting stories and also tries to spell out many significant events that have shaped the region's football development. Manchester - A Football History focuses on the League/former League sides of Bury, City, United, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Stalybridge Celtic, but also takes a look at all the local clubs who have at some point in their history attempted to join the League. Within the pages of this book stories can be read highlighting: * the banning of football in the city four hundred years ago * why rugby and football share a few Manchester firsts * Manchester's role in the national formalisation of the game * which Manchester side was the first English team to play competitive football in Scotland * why a street in Wolverhampton contains a memorial to an old Mancunian ground * Which present day League side wanted to change its name to Manchester Football Club during the early 1890s but was blocked by the FA * how Bury found major success before any of the region's other sides * for the first time the true date when Newton Heath became Manchester United * how City benefited by having one of the biggest newspaper barons of the 20th Century as chairman * the scandal that led to the formation of the PFA * how a City director led United's 1909 FA Cup homecoming * how the region's most successful manager of the period walked out on one of the region's sides to manage their biggest rivals * the story of how Tameside's only League representatives resigned because of lack of support despite getting crowds higher (on average) than Rochdale's all time average * how City and United combined to stop a third Manchester side from threatening their existence * what Rochdale achieved 8 years before City, 20 years before United, and 27 years before Oldham * how supporters are beginning to regain control of the game within the region Manchester - A Football History will contain over 200,000 words on more than 500 pages (size 248x174mm) with photographs throughout. Hyde born Gary James has been working on this book for over a decade: "Mancunian football has always been a passion of mine, however I've always been surprised to find that the full history has only ever been considered from the angle of individual clubs. Clearly, each side within the region has a history worth investigating on its own, however I've always felt that the relationships between our clubs and the stories of the region have been neglected. In fact we've often played down the achievements of our region as a whole to focus on one or two sides." As part of Gary's research he has interviewed players, fans, and other figures from many different aspects of the game in the region in his quest to create the definitive story of football in the Manchester region: "I believe the book has helped unravel some of the mysteries of the Mancunian game and, for the first time, I have tried to tell the story from the beginning of the game through to the modern era. I've got to say that I've been amazed by some of what I've discovered."


Product details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: James Ward; First Edition edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955812704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955812705
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 17.4 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,298,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary James has been researching and writing about Manchester football since the mid-1980s. He has written several landmark publications and a variety of articles on the region's games, clubs, players and personalities. In recent years he has written for publications as diverse as the FA Cup final programme, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, The Times, The Author, When Saturday Comes, The Manchester Evening News and the match programmes of both Manchester United and Manchester City.

His first book was published in 1989, with his highly acclaimed Football With A Smile: The authorised biography of Joe Mercer, OBE coming in 1993 (updated and revised in 2010). His other works include: Manchester - A Football History, Manchester The City Years, The Big Book Of City, Farewell To Maine Road, Atkinson For England, and The Pride of Manchester.

Gary cares deeply about the history of football and feels that the role of all of the Manchester region clubs has rarely been given the attention it deserves. As part of his research he has interviewed players, fans, broadcasters, journalists and other figures from many different aspects of the game. He has been a regular contributor to the Manchester City match programme since 1994, and is now recognised as a leading expert on Mancunian football history. In 2003 he set up City's award winning museum & tour and in 2012 he provided curatorial assistance during the development of the new National Football Museum.

Follow Gary on twitter: @garyjameswriter or facebook.com/garyjames4

Product Description

Review

REVIEWS Extremely positive reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including the August issues of Four-Four-Two and When Saturday Comes. The following is a sample: "BOOK OF THE WEEK" For all the ink that has been spilled in the name of Manchester United, only now do we learn the definitive - some say fateful - date on which the planet's most famous sporting institution spluttered into life, as Newton Heath FC was consigned to history. Even Old Trafford's mighty United Opus tells us it was on 26 April 1902 that the struggling former railwaymen's team, facing a winding-up order, was superseded at the New Islington public house in Ancoats by United, in what might today be called a re-branding exercise, and it says everything about his immaculate piece of scholarship that James reveals the club to be two days older than it seems to think it is. The meeting was on the 24th. Hard to believe also, in the age of the global brand, that the name "United" may well have been selected for no other reason than clubs' proclivity back then for seizing on the name of the moment. Sheffield United may have been the inspiration, having reached the FA Cup final seven days earlier. The early histories of Manchester City and United provide some of the most fascinating elements of a story James relates without hype. The clubs' close bonds, much discussed at the recent 50th Munich anniversary, are an intriguing thread. City were keen to sell United (rather than southern sides) their best players, Bill Meredith included, when strapped for cash and reeling from a match-fixing scandal in 1907. The two also joined forces to prevent the newly- founded Manchester Central club being elected to the Football League and threatening their own fan bases in the early 1930s. The periodic scandals - the collusion of Liverpool and United players to fix a league game United won 2-0 in 1915 is particularly well related - remind us that little is new in football. Except money of course. This story is unimpassioned enough not to make judgements about the game's evolution in the Premier League era but the seamless interweaving of Stockport, Rochdale and Bury's narratives - not overshadowed, for once - with those of the Manchester giants tells more subtly what a toll that big money is taking on the lesser lights. Sir Alex Ferguson might detest FC United of Manchester, the club established in the teeth of the game's corporatisation, but James also attends to that club's ethos and relatively unknown recent splits with a level of detail befitting its significance. His story of City's beginnings - when a Manchester rector's daughter set up a club to distract the working men prone to drinking and violence, then known as "scuttling" - is also poignant amid Thaksin Shinawatra's search for global brand awareness. A REVIEW BY IAN HERBERT IN THE INDEPENDENT, 23RD JUNE 2008 _____________________________ This excellent 520 page book has been published to coincide with the UEFA Cup final (staged at the City of Manchester Stadium) and to mark the 400th anniversary of football being banned in Manchester (that is correct - football was banned in Manchester in 1608!). This well illustrated book provides the stories of Manchester's greatest footballing achievements, while also answering questions such as: Why did football in Manchester develop the way it did? How do the Manchester sides compare in terms of local support, trophy success, and so on. It is surely the definitive story of football in the Manchester region. Writer and football historian Gary James' latest gem details the story of Mancunian football from the Middle Ages through to the modern day. He reveals many new and interesting stories and also tries to spell out many significant events that have shaped the region's football development. The author focuses on the League clubs of Bury, City, united, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale and Stockport County, plus former League Club Stalybridge Celtic; but he also takes a look at all the local clubs (such as Ashton, Fairfield Athletic, Manchester North End, Salford United and, not least, Altrincham) who have at some point in their history attempted to join the Football League. Interestingly, the records section includes a full list of Manchester Cup winners from the first (Hurst in 1885) to the 2007 winners Manchester City. This is an absorbing book that will appeal greatly to a wider audience than just supporters of the 'Manchester' clubs. A REVIEW BY DAVID POWTER, WINGER & THE FOOTBALL TRADER ______________________________ The pleasure I have received from reading this book has left me morally obliged to do my first ever Amazon Review. Whilst I will attempt to wax lyrical, a little story first that will probably be more convincing in its way than any words of praise that I can muster:- Although a Manchester City fan, I joined a coachful from our pub to go and give Stockport County a cheer in their play-off game at Wembley against Rochdale. The coach was fair mix of County (obviously), City and United fans. I took Gary James's book to while away the journey. Suffice to say that others took an interest in it and were blown away with the 'differentness' of it. By the time we returned, I'd taken a total of 11 orders for copies! The book clearly has a 'wow' factor. I think one of its main qualities is the author's refusal to merely compartmentalise each Manchester club's history. Instead it is largely chronological and dwells many times on the relationships between clubs rather than just significant events in their individual past. Whilst United and City inevitably figure prominently, there is due credit given to the likes of Bury who were Manchester's first truly successful club. At the other extreme, newcomers FC United are given respect for their efforts to return affordable football to the grassroots supporter. In between, every club from the area has its roots explained and its triumphs and tribulations related accurately and entertainingly. One of my favourite sections is the rise and unfortunate demise of Manchester Central FC. If United and City had not combined and connived to keep this fledging club out of the League in the late'20's / early '30's, then either there would have had three city centre teams or an ailing United could have gone to the wall. Gary James has researched so deeply that many errors have been found in clubs' official histories. Whilst such fine detail is to be commended, the narrative never lapses into a tedious list of dates that only the 'anorak' would appreciate. Instead it flows and has you wondering what happened next, even when on some occasions you were fairly sure you knew your football history. As the guys on the coach found, this is a 'once seen - must have' book and I for one will be buying several more copies, as I have absolutely no doubt that as a Christmas or birthday present it will received with total delight. A REVIEW BY DJ MILLER ON AMAZON, 4TH JULY 2008 ____________________ Those of you who have read any of Gary's books about Manchester City will know that his works are always detailed and well researched, and this one is no different. Gary spent a decade working on the book, and as part of his research he interviewed players, fans, broadcasters, journalists and other figures from many aspects of the game in his quest to create the definitive story of football in the Manchester region. MIKE PAVASOVIC, Hyde United match programme

From the Author

The aim of this book is to detail the importance of football, to Manchester and its neighbouring boroughs. A book focusing on Manchester football clearly has two main sporting organisations at its core, however this publication simply does not focus on City and United, instead it attempts to consider the relationship between the other League and former League sides of the conurbation.

It's always difficult to identify what constitutes Manchester itself - Old Trafford is outside of the City's boundaries but very much a part of Manchester as far as United fans are concerned - and so I've decided to focus on the boroughs within the M60 and those the motorway enters. This includes the boroughs of Manchester, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, however I have excluded Wigan and Bolton. I believe the stories of the sides from those two boroughs are more appropriate in another `History of Football' volume I intend writing, although you will find the occasional reference to sides from those boroughs within this volume.

The eight boroughs featured in this book have, over the last century been fortunate to have seven League sides, with Salford being the only borough not to have had a League side (though United is on its doorstep). In addition they have known great periods of success, failure and sadly tragedy. No one living within the region can fail to be aware of the importance of the game of football and even if residents do not attend games they must surely be aware of the positives the game brings. Throughout the world Manchester is known more for its sport today than for any other aspect of Mancunian life, while the towns of Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, and Stockport remain in the public consciousness partly because of their football sides. Interestingly, Tameside does not have one dominant club, but it does have several great non-league sides - had Tameside possessed one significant side utilising the name Tameside would the borough be known nationally in the same manner as, say, Rochdale?

Possibly because of the rivalry between the sides in the region few books have considered how football developed across the area. For at least three decades there have been plenty of books on United and in the last decade or so City has seen a plethora of material produced on its existence. Similarly, the last few years have seen books on all the region's League sides. But each book has been aimed at the supporters of individual teams and not the region as a whole. This means that some stories such as the formation of the PFA, the role of Manchester Central FC, and even the contribution to the game of Ernest Mangnall have either been missing, or have been considered only from the perspective of one club. This book aims to improve that situation and put into perspective the history of the game within the region.

There have been many great moments in the region's footballing history but what has rarely been considered is how the region's sporting successes have influenced the development of the region and its prestige. In 1904, following City's first FA Cup win, manager Tom Maley was amazed at the size of the city centre's first homecoming parade. He told City's officials and Manchester's journalists at the end of the parade: "Perhaps love of sport had something to do with the bringing together of so great a gathering, but love of Manchester, had much more to do with it." Maley's views were significant and within two days of the comments being made the Manchester Evening Chronicle claimed that Manchester was now the second city of the Empire. It was a bold statement, but it was also totally understandable. The celebrations and attention paid to the game had brought the people together (the rivalry of later years was not evident as all Mancunians wanted all Mancunian sides to bring honour to the city at this point), and such a show of solidarity in a celebratory manner gave a very positive demonstration of what made Manchester special.

Not all of our sides can attract crowds of 70,000 plus, but they do all carry hope, ambition, and at kick off in every game in the region no individual can predict exactly how the game will unfold. That's the beauty of football and in the Manchester region we are blessed with an incredible number of football clubs.


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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's A 'Got to Have' ! 4 July 2008
Format:Hardcover
The pleasure I have received from reading this book has left me morally obliged to do my first ever Amazon Review. Whilst I will attempt to wax lyrical, a little story first that will probably be more convincing in its way than any words of praise that I can muster:-

Although a Manchester City fan, I joined a coachful from our pub to go and give Stockport County a cheer in their play-off game at Wembley against Rochdale. The coach was a fair mix of County (obviously), City and United fans. I took Gary James's book to while away the journey. Suffice to say that others took an interest in it and were blown away with the 'differentness' of it. By the time we returned, I'd taken a total of 11 orders for copies!

The book clearly has a 'wow' factor. I think one of its main qualities is the author's refusal to merely compartmentalise each Manchester club's
history. Instead it is largely chronological and dwells many times on the relationships between clubs rather than just significant events in their individual past. Whilst United and City inevitably figure prominantly, there is due credit given to the likes of Bury who were Manchester's first truly successful club. At the other extreme, newcomers FC United are given respect for their efforts to return affordable football to the grassroots supporter. In between, every club from the area has its roots explained and its triumphs and tribulations related accurately and entertainingly .

One of my favourite sections is the rise and unfortunate demise of Manchester Central FC. If United and City had not combined and connived to keep this fledging club out of the League in the late'20's / early '30's, then either there would have been three city centre teams or an ailing United could have gone to the wall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended. 19 Jan 2011
Size Name:One Size
A fantastic read that doesn't just focus on the big clubs. I thought I was quite knowledgable about Manchester football, but I've learned a lot from reading this outstanding book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for any football fan! 2 Jan 2014
Size Name:One Size
My husband has not put this book down since he opened it on christmas morning. He is fascinated by the facts and stories and photos of all the clubs. He is a City fan but is finding the whole book an amazing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every city should have one 16 Feb 2013
Format:Misc.
This is a serious and scholarly study of the development of Association football in the Greater Manchester area. It is not a hagliography, It details the darker side as well as the triumphs. Also, the author doesn't waste too much time on the well documented events such as The Munich air disaster or the 1999 treble season.
This history isn't exclusively about the two major Manchester clubs. It covers, fairly comprehensively the lesser lights, Rochdale, Oldham, Bury, Stockport as well as the non-league clubs like Stalybridge and Hyde. The story is one of organic growth whereby the the history and fates of the larger clubs are somehow part of the same fabric that binds them to the district's smaller clubs.
Collecting the information for this book must have been very difficult as the author is explicit in separating the primary sources from the secondary and he is not afraid to debunk some of the myths that have arisen from some of those secondary (such as oral accounts) sources.
Every major city should commission a similar account of their local football clubs. It is an indispensable record of social development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars foot ball fan 2 Jan 2013
Size Name:One Size|Verified Purchase
bought for my brother who is a manchester born football fan .who finds it interesting to read all about the teams from where he

used to live mind you he is a city fan (but he cant help that )it will keep him quiet for a long time
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