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New Research Reveals First Manchester Football Club Was Founded In 1863, 15 Years Before United

football boots 600x504 New Research Reveals First Manchester Football Club Was Founded In 1863, 15 Years Before United

English football historian, author and researcher Gary James has published a new paper that examines the history of the sport in Manchester and reveals, for the first time, that there was another football club operating in the area during the 1860s, making that team the oldest in the region, not Manchester City (founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s) nor Manchester United (founded in 1878 as Newton Heath).

The paper, which is entitled The Emergence of an Association Football Culture in Manchester 1840–1884, is available as a free download today only. The 20-page historical document was written by scholars Gary James and Dave Day.

The name of the team that James and Day uncovered is Hulme Athenaeum. According to the authors, Hulme was the first club in the Manchester area, indeed the first in Lancashire, to call itself an association football club when it founded its football team in 1863 — 15 years before Newton Heath was founded, the club that would eventually become Manchester United.

By 1873 or soon thereafter, the club known as Hulme Athenaeum had folded.

It’s hard to imagine a time when soccer didn’t exist in Manchester, but by 1875, almost all association football had ended. Just a few years later, the clubs that we now know as Manchester United and Manchester City were formed, and the rest is history.

Download The Emergence of an Association Football Culture in Manchester 1840–1884 today.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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5 Responses to New Research Reveals First Manchester Football Club Was Founded In 1863, 15 Years Before United

  1. CiTyBlUe says:

    Answer this question for us, who were the first ever existing team to represent Manchester?

    I’ll answer it for you, Manchester City FC.

    • The name MANCHESTER CITY came before manchester united!

      • Christopher Harris says:

        Aye, the name may have done, but St Mark’s was formed two years after Newton Heath (Manchester United).

        • CiTyBlUe says:

          So what Christopher?, the fact remains that the Lord Major of Manchester supported St Marks wish to represent Manchester, United on the other hand were a pathetic bunch of businessmen with a deluded and incorrect idea that Manchester was United when in fact Manchester was City and never United. You could Argue that they were implying Greater Manchester was United, but that would be utter tripe too considering most of Greater Manchester also have their own clubs. United are based on nothing but a lie.

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