NEWTON HEATH (now Manchester United)
Results from major competitions entered before joining the Football League.

Manchester United's long and proud history started in 1878 when a group of railway workers started a football team. The Dining Room Committee at the carriage and wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company formed Newton Heath LYR, and from those humble beginnings Manchester United grew. In January 1902 Newton Heath were declared bankrupt - with the massive debts of some £2600! But the club didn't close with a fund-raising campaign securing their future. However the new beginning saw them wanting them to adopt a new name with the club no longer having close ties to the railways and no longer playing in Newton Heath. Manchester Celtic and Manchester Central were amongst the new names considered but Manchester United they became.

As was the norm at the time, most football in the 1870s and 1880s was in friendly and local cup competition matches (the Manchester Cup was won as early as 1886). That was the case with Newton Heath except for two major competitions - the FA Cup, in which they played four seasons prior to joining the Football League, and the Football Alliance in which they competed in their last three seasons outside of the Football League. Results from these two competitions are given below - 

  1886/87 F.A. Cup 
  Sat Oct 30 FAC 1 Fleetwood Rangers Away Drew 2-2
Fleetwood were awarded the tie after a protest.




P W D L F A Pts Pos

FA Cup - Round reached

League Cup - Round reached

1889/90 Alliance 22 9 2 11 40 44 20 8th Table Results 1st -
1890/91 Alliance 22 7 3 12 37 55 17 9th Table  Results 2nd Qual -
1891/92 Alliance 22 12 7 3 69 33 31 2nd Table Results 4th Qual -

At the end of the 1891/92 season the Football League was increased in size with a Second Division being added and the newly-named First Division being increased by 2 clubs. With the Football Alliance at the time already considered by most as the Second Division in waiting and with Newton Heath one of the best clubs in that division they were hoping to be directly elected into the First Division. Three of the bottom four in the Football League table of 1891/92 were in the vote for re-election to the First Division (West Bromwich Albion finished in a re-election position but as FA Cup holders were not required to seek re-election). Voting - 

10 votes Sheffield Wednesday Elected to the First Division
9 Nottingham Forest Elected to the First Division
7 Accrington Re-elected to the First Division
6 Stoke Re-elected to the First Division
6 Newton Heath Elected to the First Division
5 Sheffield United Not elected to the First Division
4 Darwen Not re-elected to the First Division+
1 Burton Swifts Not elected to the First Division
1 Newcastle East End Not elected to the First Division
1 Middlesbrough/
Middlesbrough Ironopolis
(a combined bid)
Not elected to the First Division
0 Liverpool Caledonians Not elected to the First Division

 +Although losing their place in the top flight, Darwen were one of 12 clubs invited to form the new Second Division (no vote is believed to have been taken). The eleven other clubs were Ardwick (now Manchester City), Bootle, Burslem Port Vale (now Port Vale), Burton Swifts, Crewe Alexandra, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Northwich Victoria, Sheffield United, Small Heath (now Birmingham City) and Walsall Town Swifts (now Walsall). Of the clubs not voted into the First Division both Newcastle East End (later Newcastle United) and Middlesbrough/Middlesbrough Ironopolis (they put in a combined bid) declined invitations to join Division 2.

The only Football Alliance club not to join the League - Birmingham St George's - folded due to financial problems and shorn of its membership the Football Alliance itself disbanded.



Manchester United (as Newton Heath) joined the Football League in 1892. For every first team result and League table in the Football League
(and in the Football Alliance prior to joining the Football League)
click on...

 Manchester United

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