The Manchester League 1893-1912


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Manchester League origins + history 1893-1912 + list of champions - saved


Origins

 

The Manchester League was set up in 1893 as a single division for clubs ‘in the Manchester area’, which is now defined as a circle centred in the city with a radius of approximately 20 miles. The first champions were Stretford. Bridgewater Office Supplies are the current sponsors of the Manchester League, the Premier Division of which is at Step 7 of the Non-League Football Pyramid and is a ‘feeder’ league for the North West Counties League.

Coverage

 

It proved to be an interesting challenge to discover final league tables for the Manchester League for before 2004. Many were found, however, and these are among the record which can be accessed using the buttons to the left. It was not until September 2011 that the significant breakthrough was made, thanks to Paul, who supplied ‘the missing pieces’.  There are problems with many of the tables that have been traced – columns which should balance don’t always do so, information is missing and some are ‘latest available league tables’ rather than ‘final’.

 

Some final tables have, therefore, not been traced at all and there seems every chance that a number of these never will come to light, not even appearing in the League’s official history, according to Mike P., whose Hyde United were 5 times champions between the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The local newspapers do not seem to have taken much interest.

 

Membership 1893-1912

 

Thanks to the excellent ‘Non League Retrospect’ from 3-2 Books, it has been possible to compile a table showing all the clubs which started each season between 1893 and 1911. Some did not complete a season started and many swapped their first team for their reserve team for the 1911-1912 campaign.

 

 ALTRINCHAM 1903-1911                    MANCHESTER AMATEURS 1894-1895

 BERRY’S ASSOCIATION 1901-1911           MARPLE 1898-1899

 BESWICK 1893-1894                       MIDDLETON 1900-1902

 BESWICK ROVERS 1893-1894                MOLYNEAUX 1894-1896

 BROADHEATH 1893-1903                    MOSS SIDE 1894-1900

 BURNAGE 1893-1894                       NANTWICH 1910-1912

 BUXTON 1899-1912                        NEW MILLS 1897-1898, 1908-1911

 CHADDERTON 1906-1907                    NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC 1898-1910

 CHESTER 1911-1912                       NORTHWICH VICTORIA 1900-1912

 CREWE ALEXANDRA 1910-1912               OLD TRAFFORD 1893-1895

 DENTON 1902-1910                        OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1900-1904

 DIDSBURY 1893-1895                      OUGHTRINGHAM PARK 1899-1901, 1904-1905

 ECCLES 1897-1898                        PENDLEBURY 1905-1907

 ECCLES BOROUGH 1907-1908, 1911-1912     PRESTWICH 1897-1901

 FAILSWORTH 1901-105                     RAMSBOTTOM 1907-1910

 FALLOWFIELD 1893-1899                   REDDISH 1895-1898

 GLOSSOP UNITED 1903-1905                ROCHDALE 1907-1908, 1911-1912

 HARPURHEY 1893-1896                     RUSHOLME 1893-1897, 1909-1911

 HAZEL GROVE 1908-1912                   SALE HOLMFIELD 1899-1910

 HEYWOOD 1901-1902                       SALFORD UNITED 1905-1911

 HEYWOOD UNITED 1904-1907                SEEDLEY 1898-1899

 HIGHER CRUMPSALL 1894-1895, 1896-1898   SOUTH WEST MANCHESTER 1898-1900

 HOLLINWOOD 1903-1904                    ST. MARY’S 1893-1897

 HOOLEY HILL 1902-1912                   STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 1911-1912

 HULME 1893-1898                         STRETFORD 1893-1901, 1903-1908

 HURST 1909-1912                         TALBOT 1893-1903

 HYDE 1900-1906                          TONGE 1896-1911

 LADYBURN LADS 1895-1896                 TYLDESLEY ALBION 1908-1911

 LEVERSHULME 1895-1898, 1902-1903        URMSTON 1898-1900

 LONGSIGHT L&NWR 1896-1897               WALKDEN ST. MARY’S 1899-1900

 LYMM 1895-1902                          WHITCHURCH ALPORT 1911-1912

 MACCLESFIELD 1900-1912                  WITTON ALBION 1904-1912

 

Early history

 

The Manchester League of today began life as the ‘new’ Manchester League. There had been a competition of the same name previously. This seems to have run for only one season, 1890-1891. Only one of the clubs which played in that competition became a member of the league established in 1893, another joined in 1896 and a third became a member many years further on. We don’t know how many clubs started the 1890-91 season – 12 was a common number around the time. Ten sides seem to have finished the campaign, but the table below reflects either the fact that the full programme of matches was not played or that nobody kept (and published) a Final Table. It is quite remarkable therefore that the reason for a two-point deduction for one of the clubs is known – naughty, naughty – fielding an ineligible player. Here is that table, complete with a variety of errors there seems to be little hope of correcting due to a severe lack of reliable sources.

 

  1. ST. BRIDE’S               17   13    2    2   57   15   28

  2. WHALLEY RANGE             16   10    3    3   54   23   23

  3. LANCASHIRE COLLEGE        15   10    2    3   41   23   22

  4. STRETFORD                 15   10    1    4   51   27   21

  5. TONGE                     17    9    3    5   46   32   21

  6. ST. MARK’S                17    6    3    8   48   58   15

  7. PRESS (-2)                16    7    0    9   32   36   12

  8. DALTON                    15    5    1    9   30   54   11

  9. STOCKPORT                 16    2    0   14   16   58    4

 10. WEST END                  16    1    1   14   12   60    3

  (160 73 16 71 387 386 160)

 

Thanks to President and Fixtures Secretary, Phil Morris, a list of champions of the Manchester League 1893-1894 to 1958-1959 is available and this is given below. The competition did not operate between 1912 and 1920, though the reasons for this are currently unknown.

 

Champions 1893-1894 to 1958-1959

 

 Season      Champions                   Season      Champions

 1893-1894   Stretford                   1928-1929   Hyde United

 1894-1895   Talbot                      1929-1930   Hyde United

 1895-1896   Talbot                      1930-1931   Droylsden

 1896-1897   Tonge                       1931-1932   Buxton

 1897-1898   Tonge                       1932-1933   Droylsden

 1898-1899   Newton Heath Reserves       1933-1934   I.C.I. (Alkali)

 1899-1900   Tonge                       1934-1935   Denton United

 1900-1901   Tonge                       1935-1936   I.C.I. (Alkali)

 1901-1902   Hyde                        1936-1937   Manchester North End

 1902-1903   Northwich Victoria          1937-1938   I.C.I. (Alkali)

 1903-1904   Berry’s Association         1938-1939   Manchester United ‘A’

 1904-1905   Altrincham                  1939-1940   Taylor Brothers

 1905-1906   Denton                      1940-1945   No competition

 1906-1907   Altrincham                  1945-1946   Mosley Common

 1907-1908   Denton                      1946-1947   Goslings

 1908-1909   Macclesfield                1947-1948   Goslings

 1909-1910   Salford                     1948-1949   Goslings

 1910-1911   Macclesfield                1949-1950   Goslings

 1911-1912   Hurst                       1950-1951   Manchester United ‘A’

 1912-1920   No competition              1951-1952   Leek Town

 1920-1921   Hyde United                 1952-1953   Manchester United ‘A’

 1921-1922   Hyde United                 1953-1954   Manchester United ‘A’

 1922-1923   Hyde United                 1954-1955   Manchester United ‘A’

 1923-1924   New Mills                   1955-1956   New Mills

 1924-1925   Manchester North End        1956-1957   Stockport County ‘A’

 1925-1926   New Mills                   1957-1958   Cheadle Rovers

 1926-1927   Linotype & Monotype         1958-1959   Cheadle Rovers

 1927-1928   Glossop                     1959-1960   2nd tier introduced

 

Growth of the Manchester League

 

In 1959 a second tier was created by the Manchester League, with Dukinfield Town the first winners of this division. A third tier, for reserve sides of clubs in the top two divisions was established in 1971, with further levels added, again for reserve or third teams of Manchester League clubs, in 1980 and 2005. Lists of the champions of the Manchester League’s top two divisions for the period 1959-1960 to 2010-2011 are given below.

 

Champions 1959-1960 to 2010-2011

 

 

 Season      Premier Division champions      First Division Champions

 

 1959-1960   Buxton                          Dukinfield Town

 1960-1961   Cheadle Rovers                  Walkden Town

 1961-1962   Cheadle Rovers                  Walkden Town

 1962-1963   New Mills                       Anson Villa

 1963-1964   Runcorn                         Whaley Bridge

 1964-1965   New Mills                       Chadderton

 1965-1966   New Mills                       New Mills Reserves

 1966-1967   New Mills                       Salford Amateurs

 1967-1968   New Mills                       New Mills Reserves

 1968-1969   Macclesfield Town Reserves      Salford Amateurs

 1969-1960   New Mills                       Clarence Athletic

 1970-1971   New Mills                       Abbey Hey

 1971-1972   Leek Town                       New Mills Reserves

 1972-1973   Leek Town                       Wythenshawe Amateurs

 1973-1974   Irlam Town                      Maine Road

 1974-1975   Salford Amateurs                North Withington

 1975-1976   Salford Amateurs                Dukinfield Town

 1976-1977   Salford Amateurs                Old Urmstonians

 1977-1978   Curzon Ashton                   Flixton

 1978-1979   Salford Amateurs                Northern Nomads

 1979-1980   Little Lever                    Grasmere Rovers

 1980-1981   Highfield United                Walkden Town

 1981-1982   Abbey Hey                       ICL

 1982-1983   Maine Road                      Mount Pleasant

 1983-1984   Maine Road                      Shell (Carrington)

 1984-1985   Maine Road                      Coldhurst United

 1985-1986   Maine Road                      Adswood Amateurs

 1986-1987   Adswood Amateurs                Castleton Gabriels

 1987-1988   Stockport Georgians             Prestwich Heys

 1988-1989   Abbey Hey                       AVRO

 1989-1990   Wythenshawe Amateurs            Greater Manchester Police

 1990-1991   Abbey Hey                       Ramsbottom United

 1991-1992   East Manchester                 Woodley Sports

 1992-1993   Wythenshawe Amateurs            Atherton Town

 1993-1994   Abbey Hey                       Winton United

 1994-1995   Abbey Hey                       Highfield United

 1995-1996   Little Hulton United            Stand Athletic

 1996-1997   Highfield United                Prestwich Heys

 1997-1998   Springhead                      Urmston

 1998-1999   Stand Athletic                  Willows

 1999-2000   Stand Athletic                  Sacred Heart

 2000-2001   Stand Athletic                  Leigh Athletic

 2001-2002   Stockport Georgians             Royton Town

 2002-2003   Wythenshawe Amateurs            Breightmet United

 2003-2004   Royton Town                     AVRO

 2004-2005   Prestwich Heys                  A.F.C. Blackley

 2005-2006   Prestwich Heys                  Whitworth Valley

 2006-2007   Prestwich Heys                  Walshaw Sports Club

 2007-2008   Wigan Robin Park                Chapel Town

 2008-2009   Gregorians                      Dukinfield Town

 2009-2010   AVRO                            Bury Amateurs

 2010-2011   AVRO                            West Didsbury & Chorlton

 

 

FINAL TABLES 1893-1912

 

 1893-1894  

 

The opening season of the ‘new’ Manchester League began with 12 clubs. Ten of these completed the campaign.

 

  1. STRETFORD                    20   15    3    2   75   22   33

  2. TALBOT                       20   14    4    2   70   23   32

  3. HULME                        20   11    3    6   50   36   25

  4. RUSHOLME                     20    9    6    5   45   28   24

  5. HARPURHEY                    20   10    0   10   50   40   20

  6. OLD TRAFFORD*                20    6    7    7   25   27   19

  7. FALLOWFIELD                  20    7    4    9   42   47   18

  8. DIDSBURY                     20    6    3   11   31   69   15

  9. ST. MARY’S                   20    6    2   12   28   52   14

 10. BURNAGE                      20    5    3   12   42   56   13

 11. BROADHEATH                   20    2    3   15   17   75    7

  (220 91 38 91 475 475 220)

 

*Old Trafford took over the fixtures of Beswick after 5 games. Another Beswick club, ‘Rovers’, also folded during the season and its results were deleted.

 

 1894-1895

 

14 clubs began the season and the same 14 sides were there at the end, each one having played all its matches.

 

  1. TALBOT                       26   19    2    5  106   41   40

  2. STRETFORD                    26   17    6    4   62   27   38

  3. HIGHER CRUMPSALL             26   16    3    6   84   42   37

  4. MOLYNEUX                     26   15    5    6   76   42   35

  5. HULME                        26   15    3    8   62   30   33

  6. ST. MARY’S                   26   12    4   10   58   54   28

  7. FALLOWFIELD                  26   12    3   11   68   43   27

  8. RUSHOLME                     26    9    7   10   66   52   25

  9. BROADHEATH                   26    9    4   13   35   64   22

 10. MOSS SIDE                    26    9    3   14   50   70   21

 11. HARPURHEY                    26    7    6   13   48   50   20

 12. DIDSBURY                     26    9    1   16   38   75   19

 13. MANCHESTER AMATEURS          26    7    1   18   24  101   15

 14. OLD TRAFFORD                 26    1    2   23   16  102    4

  (364 157 50 157 793 793 364)

 

 1895-1896

 

Once again the Manchester League kicked off with 14 clubs, but this time two of these failed to finish the season. Ladybarn Lads’ Club may well have found things too tough for them as they resigned early enough in the campaign for their record to be deleted. Molyneux completed 18 of their 24 games and their record was allowed to stand. This goes some way to explaining the figures in the ‘games played’ column, but it would seem that other fixtures, not involving Molyneux, were not played either.

 

  1. TALBOT                       24   18    1    5   72   28   37

  2. FALLOWFIELD                  24   17    2    5   74   27   36

  3. REDDISH                      21   13    3    5   57   41   29

  4. STRETFORD                    24   13    1   10   65   39   27

  5. LEVENSHULME                  23   11    4    8   56   43   26

  6. RUSHOLME                     22   12    1    9   51   47   25

  7. HARPURHEY                    21   10    3    8   66   49   23

  8. BROADHEATH                   21    9    1   11   46   59   19

  9. MOLYNEUX                     18    8    3    7   35   48   19

 10. HULME                        23    5    3   15   43   71   13

 11. LYMM                         23    4    5   14   29   74   13

 12. ST. MARY’S                   22    5    2   15   24   58   12

 13. MOSS SIDE                    22    3    3   16   29   63    9

  (288 128 32 128 647 647 288)

 

The departure of Harpurhey at the end of the season meant only 7 of the League’s original members remained.

 

 1896-1897

 

  1. TONGE                        25   21    1    3  100   27   43

  2. LEVENSHULME                  25   19    4    2  109   28   42

  3. BROADHEATH                   25   15    6    4   72   34   36

  4. REDDISH                      26   13    7    6   73   47   33

  5. HULME                        25   13    4    8   62   35   30

  6. FALLOWFIELD                  25   12    5    8   55   43   29

  7. TALBOT                       23    9    6    8   45   45   24

  8. STRETFORD                    24    7    6   11   39   65   20

  9. HIGHER CRUMPSALL             25    6    8   11   46   56   20

 10. LYMM                         23    7    5   11   46   52   19

 11. LONGSIGHT                    23    6    4   13   37   56   16

 12. RUSHOLME                     24    4    8   12   30   71   16

 13. MOSS SIDE                    24    3    5   16   33   74   11

 14. MANCHESTER ST MARYS          25    1    3   21   14  102    5

 

The competition lost two more of its original members, with Rusholme departing during the season, towards the end of March, and St. Mary’s leaving after the campaign had ended. Rusholme’s fixtures were taken over by New Mills, who began their first, if brief, association with the Manchester League in the Spring of 1897.

 

 1897-1898

 

  1. TONGE                        25   19    5    1  101   28   43

  2. LYMM                         23   17    1    5   70   28   35

  3. BROADHEATH                   23   15    3    5   69   35   33

  4. TALBOT                       21   13    2    6   52   25   26

  6. HIGHER CRUMPSALL             26   11    4   11   52   55   26

  6. STRETFORD                    22   10    4    8   62   42   24

  7. FALLOWFIELD                  24   11    2   11   36   51   24

  8. REDDISH                      24   11    2   11   39   62   24

  9. LEVENSHULME                  23   10    3   10   51   51   23

 10. MOSS SIDE                    26    7    6   13   49   71   20

 11. PRESTWICH                    24    8    2   14   40  101   18

 12. HULME                        24    5    6   13   29   56   16

 13. NEW MILLS                    22    5    2   15   27   56   12

 14. ECCLES                       23    1    4   18   26   74    6

 

 1898-1899

 

It is quite frustrating that for this season a league table for April 28th has been unearthed, but the only full Final Table fails to show the teams’ goals aggregates.

 

Also appearing in the April 28th rankings, in 13th place, with 4 points from 15 matches, were Marple, whose record was deleted because they failed to complete their fixtures. Just when Newton Heath took the title remains a mystery.

 

  1. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        22   17    3    2    ?    ?   37

  2. TONGE                        22   15    3    3    ?    ?   34

  3. BROADHEATH                   22   13    5    4    ?    ?   31

  4. LYMM                         22   11    4    7    ?    ?   26

  5. TALBOT                       22   10    5    7    ?    ?   25

  6. SOUTH WEST MANCHESTER        22    8    6    8    ?    ?   22

  7. PRESTWICH                    22    9    4   10    ?    ?   22

  8. SEEDLEY                      22    9    1   12    ?    ?   19

  9. STRETFORD                    22    7    4   11    ?    ?   18

 10. FALLOWFIELD                  22    6    1   15    ?    ?   13

 11. URMSTON                      22    2    5   15    ?    ?    9

 12. MOSS SIDE                    22    3    3   16    ?    ?    9

 

Founder members Fallowfield left at the end of the season, but the admission of Buxton from The Combination is a clear indication that the Manchester League was now a very much stronger competition than it was to begin with.

 

 1899-1900

 

Finally, there is a full-ish Final Table for the Manchester League again – even though two of Buxton’s results are not included. It is believed by some that the High Peak club did not play its full programme of games.

 

  1. TONGE                        26   23    2    1  110   16   48

  2. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        26   20    3    3  102   32   43

  3. BROADHEATH                   26   19    1    6   54   30   39

  4. BUXTON                       24   12    7    5   58   51   31

  5. TALBOT                       26   10    7    9   50   46   27

  6. LYMM                         26    9    7   10   54   61   25

  7. SOUTH-WEST MANCHESTER        26   10    5   11   40   57   25

  8. SALE HOLMFIELD               25   11    2   12   46   50   24

  9. STRETFORD                    26    7    7   12   41   51   21

 10. URMSTON                      26    6    7   13   25   50   19

 11. PRESTWICH                    26    7    2   17   32   49   16

 12. OUGHTRINGHAM PARK            25    6    4   15   30   57   16

 13. MOSS SIDE                    26    6    4   16   32   62   16

 14. ST. MARY’S PARK (WALKDEN)    26    3    4   19   21   83   10

  (360 149 62 149 695 695 360)

 

The bottom two sides left at the end of the season, as did South-West Manchester and Urmston. Five new clubs joined the Manchester League from other competitions. The names of these newcomers give clear indications of the growing reputation of the League – Hyde, Macclesfield, Middleton, Northwich Victoria and Oldham Athletic.

 

 1900-1901

 

The season began with the League at its highest strength to date in numbers and highest quality to date in terms of clubs and playing standards. One match (between Broadheath and Hyde) was not completed and new club Middleton had 2 points deducted for infringing the rules, but, otherwise, this was a very successful season.

 

  1. TONGE                        28   23    2    3   94   32   48

  2. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           28   20    4    4   75   36   44

  3. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        28   19    2    7   78   35   40

  4. SALE HOLMFIELD               28   15    5    8   66   41   35

  5. HYDE                         27   14    5    8   79   41   33

  6. BROADHEATH                   27   13    4   10   75   59   30

  7. TALBOT                       28   12    6   10   48   44   30

  8. BUXTON                       28   11    5   12   54   46   27

  9. MACCLESFIELD                 28   10    3   15   60   75   23

 10. OUGHTRINGHAM PARK            28    8    6   14   46   64   22

 11. OLDHAM ATHLETIC              28    9    4   15   40   68   22

 12. LYMM                         28    7    4   15   42   64   20

 13. STRETFORD                    28    7    6   15   36   66   20

 14. MIDDLETON                    28    8    5   15   47   66   19

 15. PRESTWICH                    28    1    1   26   18  128    3

  (418 177 62 177 858 865 416)

 

The Manchester League’s first-ever champions left at the end of the season to join a new, rival competition called the Manchester Federation. Oughtringham Park and wooden spoonists Prestwich also departed. The well-respected Berry’s Association joined from the Lancashire Combination, with Failsworth and Heywood also becoming members, which maintained the League’s strength at 15 clubs.

 

 1901-1902

 

Middleton, perhaps struggling again, resigned during the season, and the club’s record was deleted. The battle for the title produced the closest contest to date, with Hyde and Newton Heath Athletic going neck-and-neck over the final stages of the season. With almost identical records by the end and level on points, the two clubs met in a championship play-off, which Hyde won.

 

  1. HYDE                         26   17    6    3   74   27   40

  2. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        26   17    6    3   76   26   40

  3. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           26   16    2    8   61   53   34

  4. SALE HOLMFIELD               26   13    7    6   61   37   33

  5. TONGE                        26   13    4    9   79   47   30

  6. OLDHAM ATHLETIC              26   13    4    9   59   46   30

  7. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          26   12    4   10   55   52   28

  8. FAILSWORTH                   26   10    4   12   64   54   24

  9. TALBOT                       26   11    2   13   47   50   24

 10. HEYWOOD                      26    8    4   14   59   66   20

 11. BUXTON                       26    7    6   13   43   70   20

 12. BROADHEATH                   26    6    6   14   40   72   18

 13. MACCLESFIELD                 26    8    1   17   44   68   17

 14. LYMM                         26    2    2   22   24  118    6

  (364 153 58 153 786 786 364)

 

Heywood and Lymm both left at the end of the season, but there were 3 ‘new entries’, meaning the League had 15 clubs once again. The newcomers were Denton, Hooley Hill and Levenshulme.

 

 1902-1903

 

  1. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           26   20    4    2   59   22   44

  2. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        26   16    3    7   72   37   35

  3. FAILSWORTH                   26   16    3    7   87   42   35

  4. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          26   14    3    9   68   41   31

  5. OLDHAM ATHLETIC              25   12    6    7   47   31   30

  6. HYDE                         26   14    1   11   70   47   29

  7. BUXTON                       26   12    2   12   47   53   26

  8. SALE HOLMFIELD               26   10    6   10   46   63   26

  9. BROADHEATH                   26    9    5   12   43   55   23

 10. DENTON                       26    9    4   13   45   54   22

 11. MACCLESFIELD                 25    8    3   14   35   59   19

 12. TONGE                        26    6    7   13   25   68   19

 13. HOOLEY HILL                  26    5    3   18   40   63   13

 14. TALBOT                       26    3    4   19   19   68   10

  (362 154 54 154 703 703 362)

 

Levenshulme started the season, but folded during its course and the club’s record was deleted. It would appear that one of the fixtures involving Macclesfield and Oldham Athletic was either not played or the result was not recorded. Broadheath became ‘Altrincham’ and Glossop United, Hollinwood and Stretford all joined the competition, which had lost Talbot at the end of the 1902-1903 season.

 

 1903-1904

 

Sixteen clubs kicked off the season, but Hollinwood withdrew part-way through and the club’s record was deleted. There is some dispute about the playing records of mid-table sides Failsworth and Tonge.

 

  1. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          28   19    2    7   91   42   40

  2. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           28   17    4    7   69   40   38

  3. OLDHAM ATHLETIC              28   15    7    6   71   40   37

  4. SALE HOLMFIELD               28   15    3   10   75   50   33

  5. DENTON                       28   13    7    8   72   47   33

  6. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        28   14    4   10   65   50   32

  7. FAILSWORTH                   28   13    5   10   56   50   31

  8. TONGE                        28   14    1   13   57   54   29

  9. HYDE                         28   12    4   12   73   55   28

 10. ALTRINCHAM                   28   12    4   12   56   55   28

 11. MACCLESFIELD                 28    9    8   11   49   57   26

 12. GLOSSOP UNITED               28    9    3   16   40   74   21

 13. HOOLEY HILL                  28    8    4   16   52   72   20

 14. BUXTON                       28    7    1   20   45   71   15

 15. STRETFORD                    28    4    1   23   21  135    9

  (420 181 58 181 892 892 420)

 

The League lost Oldham Athletic to the Lancashire Combination at the end of the season and within a few years the ambitious Latics joined the Football League Division 2. Witton Albion joined the competition from The Combination and Oughtringham Park re-joined. With a membership of 16 clubs and, at least, one strong newcomer, the Manchester League continued to operate as a respected competition.

 

 1904-1905

 

Glossop United resigned during the season, but the club’s fixtures were taken over by Heywood United, so the campaign ended, as it had begun, with League membership standing at 16 clubs.

 

  1. ALTRINCHAM                   30   18    8    4   66   43   44

  2. BUXTON                       30   16    6    8   63   40   38

  3. DENTON                       30   16    5    9   83   49   37

  4. SALE HOLMFIELD               30   14    9    7   66   39   37

  5. TONGE                        30   11   14    5   60   33   36

  6. FAILSWORTH                   30   14    8    8   63   41   36

  7. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           30   13   10    7   47   43   36

  8. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          30   13    6   11   61   55   32

  9. WITTON ALBION                30    9   12    9   44   41   30

 10. MACCLESFIELD                 30    7   11   12   48   55   25

 11. HYDE                         30    9    7   14   40   53   25

 12. HOOLEY HILL                  30    9    6   15   47   53   24

 13. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        30    8    6   16   53   72   22

 14. STRETFORD                    30    8    5   17   54   78   21

 15. HEYWOOD UNITED               30    6    7   17   45   91   19

 16. OUGHTRINGHAM PARK            30    8    2   20   47  101   18

  (480 179 122 179 887 887 480)

 

Pendlebury and Salford United joined the competition, replacing Failsworth, who followed Oldham in moving to the Lancashire Combination, and Oughtringham Park, who had found the going tougher than when they had last been members of the league.

 

 1905-1906

 

The 16-member organisation had a good season, ending with a new champion club and a new occupant of the runners-up spot. Conversely, the bottom two places were taken by former champions.

 

  1. DENTON                       30   22    1    7   88   38   45

  2. SALE HOLMFIELD               30   15   10    5   53   30   40

  3. ALTRINCHAM                   30   16    5    9   81   51   37

  4. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           30   17    3   10   67   58   37

  5. TONGE                        30   15    5   10   67   57   35

  6. MACCLESFIELD                 30   15    4   11   58   58   34

  7. HEYWOOD UNITED               30   14    5   11   62   58   33

  8. PENDLEBURY                   30   10   10   10   74   53   30

  9. WITTON ALBION                30   10    8   12   47   45   28

 10. BERRY’S ASSOCATION           30   10    6   14   53   71   26

 11. BUXTON                       30    9    7   14   36   46   25

 12. HYDE                         30   10    4   16   48   81   24

 13. HOOLEY HILL                  30    9    4   17   57   65   22

 14. SALFORD UNITED               30   10    2   18   54   74   22

 15. NEWTON HEATH ALLIANCE        30    9    4   17   45   73   22

 16. STRETFORD                    30    7    6   17   45   77   20

  (480 198 84 198 935 935 480)

 

For the first time since the Manchester League began, membership changed by just one in 1906. Hyde became the latest League member to switch to the Lancashire Combination and Chadderton took the vacant place.

 

 1906-1907

 

Unfortunately, Chadderton ran into serious difficulties and were unable to complete the season. The club’s record was deleted and the competition finished with 15 clubs only. The battle for the title turned out to be the closest-run for several years.

 

  1. ALTRINCHAM                   28   18    7    3   70   30   43

  2. MACCLESFIELD                 28   19    4    5   75   39   42

  3. WITTON ALBION                28   18    5    5   49   30   41

  4. SALE HOLMFIELD               28   13    8    7   53   38   34

  5. SALFORD UNITED               28   10   10    8   61   39   30

  6. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           28   12    6   10   59   51   30

  7. TONGE                        28   12    6   10   51   45   30

  8. DENTON                       28   12    5   11   52   44   29

  9. PENDLEBURY                   28   10    9    9   57   51   29

 10. STRETFORD                    28   11    4   13   39   55   26

 11. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          28    7    7   14   40   66   21

 12. HEYWOOD UNITED               28    8    4   16   54   63   20

 13. BUXTON                       28    7    5   16   39   57   19

 14. HOOLEY HILL                  28    4    7   17   35   68   15

 15. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        28    3    5   20   32   90   11

  (420 164 92 164 766 766 420)

 

Heywood United and Pendlebury became the latest Manchester League clubs to move to the Lancashire Combination. Neither team had fared especially well and this, along with ‘previous switchers of competition’ also not having excelled in the Manchester League, that the ‘stronger’ Lancashire Combination was, in fact, not vastly superior, as has been claimed. Eccles Borough, Ramsbottom and Rochdale were all admitted to the Manchester League.

 

 1907-1908

 

All the clubs which started the season also finished it. There was no repeat of the tight finish of the previous season at the top and matters were pretty clear-cut at the foot of the table also.

 

  1. DENTON                       30   21    5    4  108   48   47

  2. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           30   15   10    5   75   53   40

  3. ECCLES BOROUGH               30   16    7    7   59   44   39

  4. MACCLESFIELD                 30   16    5    9   63   39   37

  5. TONGE                        30   14    8    8   67   46   36

  6. ALTRINCHAM                   30   13    6   11   63   53   32

  7. WITTON ALBION                30   12    8   10   52   54   32

  8. SALE HOLMFIELD               30   14    3   13   70   53   31

  9. RAMSBOTTOM                   30   10    8   12   61   68   28

 10. ROCHDALE                     30   10    8   12   49   63   28

 11. BUXTON                       30   10    7   13   35   52   27

 12. HOOLEY HILL                  30    8    9   13   56   59   25

 13. SALFORD UNITED               30    9    5   16   49   68   23

 14. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          30    9    5   16   46   66   23

 15. STRETFORD                    30    5   10   15   43   75   20

 16. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        30    3    6   21   33   88   12

  (480 185 110 185 929 929 480)

 

Eccles Borough and Rochdale, having spent one season in the Manchester League, moved on to the Lancashire Combination and the Stretford club also departed. Replacements were Hazel Grove, New Mills (hoping for a better experience than their earlier one) and Tyldesley Albion.

 

 1908-1909

 

Once again all 16 clubs who started the season completed it and, for the fifth campaign in a row, the records were well-kept, leaving no disputes about the final table. One game (between Berry’s Association and Sale Holmfield appears, however, not to have been played – quite why this was is a mystery. Just over 1,000 goals were scored in League games.

 

  1. MACCLESFIELD                 30   18    6    6   78   43   42

  2. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           30   17    4    9   73   51   38

  3. ALTRINCHAM                   30   16    4   10   82   56   36

  4. TONGE                        30   16    3   11   54   45   35

  5. NEW MILLS                    30   13    8    9   73   45   34

  6. HAZEL GROVE                  30   13    8    9   62   47   34

  7. SALE HOLMFIELD               29   15    3   11   65   56   33

  8. SALFORD UNITED               30   14    5   11   61   55   33

  9. WITTON ALBION                30   13    5   12   67   59   31

 10. TYLDESLEY ALBION             30   12    6   12   74   67   30

 11. DENTON                       30   11    7   12   70   67   29

 12. RAMSBOTTOM                   30   12    5   13   61   81   29

 13. HOOLEY HILL                  30   11    6   13   57   54   28

 14. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          29   10    5   14   52   53   25

 15. BUXTON                       30    7    4   19   38   74   18

 16. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        30    0    3   27   34  148    3

  (480 198 82 198 1001 1001 478)

 

No club left at the end of the season – something of a record in itself. The size of the competition was increased to 18 clubs by the admission to the Manchester League of Hurst and, the reappearing, Rusholme.

 

 1909-1910

 

All fixtures were completed and there was another very close finish to the title race. In the final reckoning, Hurst and Salford United tied on points and there had to be a play-off for the championship, which Salford won. Denton completed their Manchester League season despite the fact that the club also took over and completed the Lancashire Combination matches of Pendlebury F.C..

 

  1. SALFORD UNITED               34   20    6    8   79   44   46

  2. HURST                        34   19    8    7   70   41   46

  3. ALTRINCHAM                   34   20    5    9   82   41   45

  4. MACCLESFIELD                 34   18    6   10   86   45   42

  5. TONGE                        34   20    2   12   66   41   42

  6. DENTON                       34   18    6   10   75   60   42

  7. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           34   18    4   12   81   65   40

  8. TYLDESLEY ALBION             34   15    8   11   65   50   38

  9. WITTON ALBION                34   15    6   13   74   71   36

 10. BUXTON                       34   15    5   14   60   51   35

 11. HOOLEY HILL                  34   11   13   10   67   62   35

 12. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          34   14    5   15   58   67   33

 13. HAZEL GROVE                  34   11    9   14   58   69   31

 14. NEW MILLS                    34   10    9   15   53   66   29

 15. RAMSBOTTOM                   34   12    5   17   66   86   29

 16. RUSHOLME                     34    8    3   23   49   91   19

 17. SALE HOLMFIELD               34    4    6   24   28   93   14

 18. NEWTON HEATH ATHLETIC        34    3    4   27   31  105   10

  (612 251 110 251 1148 1148 612)

 

Four clubs left at the end of the season – none of them surprises. Three of the bottom four opted out – the exception being Rusholme. Denton also left, deciding to pursue their future in the Lancashire Combination. Crewe Alexandra Reserves and Natwich both joined the Manchester League which returned to its 16-club format.

 

 1910-1911

 

The season was completed by all 16 clubs, but there was a growing sense of unease in some quarters and the first dispute over the records for a number of years. In this case it was a question of goals scored and the total shown below cannot be taken as 100% accurate.

 

  1. MACCLESFIELD                 30   20    8    2   61   30   48

  2. ALTRINCHAM                   30   19    4    7   81   38   42

  3. CREWE ALEXANDRA RESERVES     30   17    8    5   74   36   42

  4. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           30   16    5    9   75   41   37

  5. TYLDESLEY ALBION             30   15    5   10   62   55   35

  6. HURST                        30   14    4   12   69   66   32

  7. HAZEL GROVE                  30   11   10    9   47   52   32

  8. BUXTON                       30   13    5   12   57   56   31

  9. WITTON ALBION                30   11    7   12   68   64   29

 10. BERRY’S ASSOCIATION          30   11    6   13   62   72   28

 11. RUSHOLME                     30   11    4   15   67   76   26

 12. HOOLEY HILL                  30    7   11   12   41   56   25

 13. NANTWICH                     30    8    6   16   60   83   22

 14. NEW MILLS                    30    6    6   18   49   71   18

 15. SALFORD UNITED               30    7    3   20   43   85   17

 16. TONGE                        30    5    6   19   41   76   16

  (480 191 98 191 957 957 480)

 

At the end of the campaign 7 clubs resigned, including 5 of the bottom seven, with Hooley Hill and Nantwich being the exceptions. Altrincham and Tyldesley Albion followed Denton and others into the Lancashire Combination. Four clubs entered their reserve sides into the Manchester League – Chester, Eccles Borough, Rochdale and Stalybridge Celtic. The competition was now at its weakest for many years ... and there was worse to come.

 

 1911-1912

 

This proved to be the last Manchester League season before World War I. The top four clubs were a cut above the rest, and there was a definite decline in standards and in interest.

 

  1. HURST                        24   18    4    2   82   30   40

  2. NORTHWICH VICTORIA           24   14    5    5   51   32   33

  3. WITTON ALBION                24   13    5    6   58   32   31

  4. MACCLESFIELD                 24   12    5    7   51   34   29

  5. ECCLES BOROUGH RESERVES      24   11    3   10   48   39   25

  6. STALYBRIDGE CELTIC RESERVES  24   10    3   11   55   53   23

  7. CHESTER RESERVES             24   10    3   11   40   50   23

  8. NANTWICH                     23   11    1   11   40   45   23

  9. CREWE ALEXANDRA RESERVES     23   10    1   12   39   47   21

 10. HOOLEY HILL                  24    7    3   14   46   65   17

 11. ROCHDALE RESERVES            24    6    4   14   45   70   16

 12. BUXTON                       22    5    4   13   30   66   14

 13. HAZEL GROVE                  24    5    3   16   48   70   13

  (308 132 44 132 633 633 308)

 

Two of Buxton’s games remained unplayed. All the top four clubs joined the Lancashire Combination, which also admitted Nantwich and the reserve sides of Rochdale and Stalybridge Celtic. This ‘ripped the heart out’ of the Manchester league, which therefore ceased to operate.

 

The competition was re-opened in 1920. Having contacted B.B.C. Lancashire, the Lancashire F.A., the Manchester Evening News and the University of Manchester Library in an attempt to discover what happened from that time onwards and having received no reply from any of them, I guessed the story was never going to be told on this site. I understood that there is a book ‘The Manchester League 1893-2007’ somewhere in the system, but I was unable to track this down. This book contains some of the tables I was hoping to put onto this site, though even this publication has, allegedly, gaps in its information. And then, there was a pleasant surprise and, in September 2011, the problem was overcome.