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From the archives: The wizard who came to tea

One of the City archives' most treasured items is more than 113 years old and relates back to the 1904 FA Cup final.

Winning the FA Cup for the first time put City on the footballing map and it was legendary winger Billy Meredith who scored the only goal to beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at The Crystal Palace, watched by more than 61,000 fans with Wembley still 19 years from being built.

Meredith was one of the first superstars of British football and was an icon to thousands of youngsters who wanted to play like the Welsh wizard.

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The days before million pound TV adverts...

Meredith played 394 games for the Blues, scoring 151 goals along the way - none more important than his FA Cup-winning strike.

The team were invited to a 'Commemorative Dinner' at the Grand Hotel in the city centre, with players presented with watches to mark their triumph and advised to be at their table for "7pm sharp!"

Billy was No.130 at the dinner which was followed by a smoking concert - whatever that might have been!

FA Cup winning Blues

The event took place on 9 January, 1905, several months after the final

Billy Meredith: Wing wizard, genius and superstar

1894 -905 and 1921-24

Appearances: 394

Goals: 151

Position: Winger

Born: Chirk, North Wales

BILLY MEREDITH (far right): The City star captaining Wales against England

Billy Meredith may have played for City for the first time more than 100 years ago, but his legend lives on to this day.

Meredith – a somewhat controversial character – is ranked by many alongside the great Sir Stanley Matthews in stature and was a magnet for football fans and the media in his day.

Bandy-legged and invariably chewing a toothpick, Meredith was a fantastic player and the scourge of many an Edwardian defender.

The immensely talented right-winger could pinpoint a cross for a forward or cut inside and lash the ball home himself if the mood took him.

With 151 goals for the Club, he is among the all-time top scorers for City.

He was involved in a bribe and illegal payment scandal that rocked the Club to its foundations and he eventually joined Manchester United before finally returning to City in 1921.

He also won 22 Welsh caps as a City player and holds the record for being the oldest footballer to turn out for the Blues, aged just a 120 days short of his 50th birthday in his last game for the club – a 2–0 defeat to Newcastle United in an FA Cup semi-final.

His greatest moment, however, was undoubtedly the winning goal in 1904 FA Cup final.


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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