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Men's Team

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From the archives: Inferno at Hyde Road

A fearsome blaze, a 97-year-old ledger and the loss of a much-loved canine Club mascot.

One of the Club's earliest archives is also tinged with more than a little sadness.

It is the first of 11 volumes recording the sale of shares in the Club from 1919 until the 1990s - not the most riveting of reading - but it is the tragic back story to the Manchester City FC ledger that is perhaps most fascinating.

On the inside cover of the book is a note from Club secretary and manager, Ernest Mangnall, dated 4 April 1921, explaining that shareholders should send back in their share certificates for the club to re-record the information contained on them.

 

PROJECT BLUE BOOK: The ledger

 

It reads: “Owing to the disastrous fire which occurred on the Club’s ground on the 10 November last, when most of the principal books and papers relating to the Club were destroyed.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Tin man City

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Japanese warriors and Darth Vadar

FROM THE ARCHIVES: City's 114-year old flag

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Polar bears and the Ice Trophy

It must have been quite a thing to have the manager of Manchester City personally write to you – even though the circumstances somewhat sad.

The fire in question was a catastrophic blaze that completely gutted Hyde Road’s Main Stand, leaving nothing other than charred wood on the mud embankment.

 

EARNEST PLEA: The manager asks shareholders to write in...

 


The date on the ledger letter from Mangnall, however, is at odds with other archive reports which suggest it was the day after Guy Fawkes Night – 6 November.

Sadly, records dating back more than 20 years were not the only things to have been lost in the fire - the Club’s faithful hound, ‘Nell’, also perished in the flames and given the intensity of the blaze, it is perhaps a minor miracle no other lives were lost.

The cause was believed to be a stray cigarette butt, rather than a spark from a bonfire or a firework.

Though the Blues remained at Hyde Road for another couple of years, the blaze helped speed up the process of leaving the ground for good with Maine Road completed and operational in time for the 1923/24 campaign.

Do you have any rare City treasures you'd like to share with the Club - we'd like to hear from anyone who has any items from yesteryear...

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