The two clubs met in friendlies at Under-12 and Under-13 level on Thursday 11 November, with both teams paying their respects in a series of tributes which honoured the fallen and the spirit of the First World War’s Christmas Truce.
Devised by the players, the event was the outcome of a Premier League Academy Education Programme project focusing on the festive truce of 1914.
Every season, a City team takes part in the Christmas Truce Qualification Tournament, and an education-led competition which also involves clubs from Belgium, France and Germany as other nations who fought in World War One.
The 2021 finals will take place in the UK, but it is usually held in the Belgian city of Ypres and includes visits to key landmarks from the conflict to enhance the history lessons players have received on the sacrifices made by those who fought.
To qualify, clubs take part in both a football qualification tournament and a focused education project, which this year centred on the theme of football and friendship, tasking players to come up with ideas that related to the Christmas Truce, when it was reported football matches were played between soldiers on both sides.
In honour of this, City’s Under-12s travelled to the Carrington Training Complex, whilst the Under-13s welcomed United to the City Football Academy, with Remembrance ceremonies held simultaneously at each location.
Before kick-off, a minute’s silence was observed, and the Last Post was played as a mark of respect to the servicemen and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom of others.
Wreathes representing City and United were laid at pitch side, whilst John McCrae’s In Flanders Field and Laurence Binyon’s Ode of Remembrance were read out by players from both clubs.
After the game, the captains took part in an exchanging of gifts to reflect the Christmas Truce, with each team presenting the other with a signed shirt.
“The Truce Tournament and Project is a key part of our player development programme here at Manchester City,” said Head of Education, Mark Adams.
“It provides our players with an opportunity to learn about what happened in the First World War and helps them understand how important it is to remember the sacrifice made by millions of young men.
“As staff, we were really impressed with the players’ ideas for this project, and they should be proud of the way in which they worked alongside Manchester United to deliver a fitting tribute of Remembrance.”
You can check out photos from the ceremony in the gallery below.