Thursday, 9 July 2009

1911-1913: The End of an Era

Following United's second Championship winning season and in those preceding the suspension of the league following the outbreak of the Great War, the club's fortunes took a downward turn. Players and managers left and financial difficulties came back to haunt them - mainly caused by the expense of the new stadium at Old Trafford and the loss of spectators as football fans went off to fight in Europe.

The team are photographed at Old Trafford with the league championship trophy ahead of the 1911/12 season in new jerseys with a white collar:

Manchester United 1911/12 team photograph

A close-up of Dick Duckworth and a portrait of Billy Meredith in the new jersey:

Dick Duckworth in 1911/12 home kit Billy Meredith in 1911/12 home kit

Manchester United 1911-1912 Home kit

Another photo from 1911/12 shows the players in a variety of different jerseys, including the home and change kits from the previous seasons and a red shirt like above but with a red collar - a style of jersey would be worn until at least 1914:

Manchester United 1911-12 team photograph

Manchester United 1910-1914 Home kit

In the 1911/12 season the highlight was the 8-4 Charity Shield win over Charlton Athletic, with Harold Halse scoring a hattrick in each half. Unfortunately, they could only manage a 13th place finish in the league and were knocked out of the cup in the 4th round (equivalent to the modern day quarter-final stage) by Blackburn Rovers.

A colourised photograph of Charlie Roberts in the change kit C1912:

Charlie Roberts, C1912 (colourised) V4

In the summer of 1912, the team who had been so successful over the past few years began to break up. Striker Halse and giant 'keeper Moger left the club. Most surprisingly of all was the departure of Mangnall who went to the other side of town to manage Manchester City. Although in his time there he would only take the blues to second place in the league before he left in 1924 (shortly after that club's move from Hyde Road in Ardwick to Maine Road in Moss Side), there would not be anyone as successful in his position at United until Matt Busby.

Some players were brought in - most notably Jack Mew, who was brought in to replace Moger and would spend 13 years at United and T. J. Wallworth was installed as acting secretary until a permanent replacement for Mangnall was found in John J Bentley - former president of the club and of the Football League - who he was instrumental in founding - and vice-president of the FA.

The 1912/13 United team:

Manchester United 1912/13 team photograph

Some players in the above photo seem to have lace-neck shirts, but this is most likely a quick repair done to replace lost buttons on the previous season's jerseys with the red collars. Other players have jerseys with no collar like those worn between 1903-11 but with three buttons instead of two. These jerseys would be worn (apparently concurrently with several other variations) until at least 1915:

Manchester United 1912-1920 Home kit

United's league form improved in Bentley's first season as they finished in 4th place, although they had less success in the cup where they were knocked out in the third round by Oldham.

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