St Marks (West Gorton) is the original name of a football team born during 1880, that after fourteen arduous years with numerous grounds, names, and a new beginning, became Manchester City FC. This website details the fascinating and accurate story of those years, its birth, development, its first ever badge, a white on black cross pattee, and much more which is available here via our history section pages.

The name dates back to Victorian Lancashire during the industrial 1860s, with the historic first match played on 13th November 1880. Today, St Marks (West Gorton)® is an independent supporter-led Lancashire based venture established in 2017. Our initial objective was to research and safeguard this vintage name for so long ignored, which is now protected by registration, copyright and licenced trade marks, as is both the original cross pattee badge and the AAFC badge.

Items we offer for sale celebrate these earliest years. Prices start from just £4.99 and are fully inclusive with free UK postage and packing. We, as City supporters, are committed to safeguarding, promoting and providing historical accuracy, allied to providing sensibly priced, quality memorabilia to treasure. This is a detailed, accurate story of those years, and we also include similar related historical information we hope you will find of interest.


Also on this page







A question we are often asked is ‘Why does the current club crest display the year 1894 and not 1880?’

1894 was the year certificated incorporation of the ‘Manchester City Football Club Company Limited’ was made, and the club have decided to use that year on the crest and credit it with being the official founding year of the club.

1880 was the year St Marks (West Gorton) was established and played its first ever football matches, so is the year some people it seems, would expect to see displayed. However, other years may have a claim- albeit to a somewhat lesser extent, to be displayed on the crest ie. 1864 – the year the foundation stone was laid at St Marks Church West Gorton: Alternatively 1865 – the year the church was consecrated: Or 1867 – the year the church cricket team was formed, whose committee and squad eventually organised the establishment of the football team.

Its an interesting topic, but by officially using 1894 as the founding year and the beginning of a new club, many significant records and events, plus the dedication and hard work of many individuals involved in the formation of the original team, has always been ignored.

The church team named St Marks (West Gorton) somehow survived and flourished due to the skill, loyalty, support and sheer hard work of many persons both on and off the pitch, and always displayed a passion to succeed. It would never have survived at all but for these persons and support from the church, local businesses and philanthropists, who knew the importance and benefits of caring, giving and sharing wealth.

Although today and tomorrow are obviously the most important to us, the earliest years and history generally should never be dismissed, so for us it has to be 1880.

History (Page 2)

Explore the birth & detailed story of St Marks (West Gorton) & how this team eventually became Manchester City Football Club

Early rivalries

Early years timeline

Also on the History tab…

Records (Page 3)

St Marks (West Gorton) match information

Player appearances

Goal scorers

Early seasons summary 1880 – 1894

Club honours

Record attendances

Team managers

International City

City’s long history at Wembley

The Original Badge & More (Page 4)

The cross pattee, what it symbolised in Victorian times & reasons why it was chosen.     The 1880s links between football team & St Marks Church which remained for years.     The historical artefacts still displayed in West Gorton today

Also on this page…

After the cross pattee

Iconic kits

The Hyde Road fire

A great British sportsman

6th February 1958

Locations of former home grounds

Life in 1880


Blue moon

Become a historian including the top 5 myths

Name Progression

1880  St Marks (West Gorton)

1881  West Gorton (St Marks)

1883  West Gorton FC

1884  Gorton AFC

1887  Ardwick AFC

1894  Manchester City FC

The name ‘Manchester City Football Club Company Limited’ was incorporated in April 1894 and this change was made upon the demise of Ardwick AFC, so the club would represent the whole of the City of Manchester. MCFC officially use 1894 as the founding year of the club.

The photograph above shows HM King George V visiting Hyde Road on 27th March 1920. This was the first time a reigning monarch had attended a league ground to watch a football match. The Royal Standard was proudly raised on a flagpole above the stands, and the King was said to have ‘applauded vigorously’ as City beat Liverpool 2-1 before a capacity crowd of 40,000. Fourteen years after this historic visit, HM King George V presented victorious City captain Sam Cowan with the FA Cup at Wembley.

Home Grounds

1880  Clowes Street Ground

Finding any trace of the clubs earliest venues is not easy for any modern day historian. Most locations are unmarked with no clues as to what has gone before, and many sites have been developed on one or more occasions since. Today, Clowes Street has a new route from its original path, and the church would have stood where housing on Beastow Road is now built.

The pitch was situated at nearby Thomas Street on land owned by the Samuel Brooks Union Iron Works, and is where cricket, rugby, football, wrestling, boxing and possibly other sports took place. This was a grass plot of undeveloped land, previously part of an estate or farm although levelled to some degree. It was built on initially by the expanding iron works, forcing a move to the Cricket Club. Thomas Street is now Wenlock Way, and today the site of the Union Iron Works and original home ground is covered by offices, units and car parking for digital media services. This latest redevelopment saw the 2018 demolition of a thirteen storey 1960s built computing centre originally named ICT Tower, which had become a landmark with locals and passengers on the nearby train lines.

Sadly, Manchester City Council and MCFC have not marked this, the location of the church, or any of the sites of the early home grounds with any form of permanent tribute. Also, quite why only William Henry Beastow is remembered with a road named after him, and not others who played a significant role in the birth of the club, most notably William Sumner, Walter Chew, Edward Kitchen and Frederick Hopkinson, is a mystery. A simple blue heritage plaque was sited some years ago on a Clowes Street public house to mark the historical significance of the team playing nearby, but during redevelopment it disappeared.

1881  Kirkmanshulme Cricket Club

Long since gone with no trace today of the cricket club and pavilion which once stood here. This sporting venue would have been enclosed with hedging, wooden fencing and the boundaries of adjoining properties at Tank Row. A match against Newton Heath LYR was played here in front of a packed crowd on 4th March 1882, resulting in a 2-1 victory with goals from Charles Beastow and James Collinge. This was a much improved place to play home games until notice to quit was received, probably because of damage to the playing surface. Located close by was the Longsight entrance gateway to Belle Vue Zoological Gardens which was erected in 1851, and at 17 North Road (now Northmoor Road) was the original St Marks Church Rectory. Kirkmanshulme Cricket Club is today mostly covered by the A6010 Pottery Lane carriageway, with sections of Redgate Lane still visible, although partially closed and diverted from its original route from Hyde Road heading towards Kirkmanshulme Lane.

1882  Queens Road

The only former ground which is still home to a football pitch. Acquired for public use in 1891, it is now known as Gorton Park and managed by Manchester City Council. This was an open field in 1882, and prior to the earlier industrialisation of the Gorton area, it would have been farmland surrounded by acres of the same. The most notable features of this venue however, were the buildings of All Saints Church, the Church and Friary of St Francis (Gorton Monastery), and an adjacent spice mill which had an aroma all of its own. Today, only the amazing Gorton Monastery remains. This was a period when the club was going through very difficult times both on and off the pitch, but thankfully, it somehow managed to survive. One match of note which took place here was on 13th October 1883 against Furness Vale. A crowd of 1,000 watched West Gorton FC win 1-0 thanks to a goal scored by P. Donohue. Gorton Park is open daily and the original site of All Saints is now occupied by Emmanuel Parish Church.

1884  Pink Bank Lane

Like Clowes Street and Kirkmanshulme Cricket Club, the Pink Bank Lane ground is unrecognisable today as a former football venue. In 1884 this site would probably have been rough ground needing work, and the club acquired it for a yearly rental payment of £3 with an additional 15 shillings for use of a dressing room. An attendance of 1,200 watched Gorton AFC play Heywood St James here on 22nd November 1884. It was at this ground where the team is first recorded as wearing the iconic black shirts with white cross pattee.  Gorton AFC played here for just one season during 1884/85 and the yearly accounts show that the club received a payment of £2 by way of compensation for ‘loss of ground’, so it appears the team were required to vacate Pink Bank Lane and find yet another pitch to play home matches on. This venue has been developed on a number of occasions, including being the location of the Greenwood House flats which were built in the 1930s and subsequently demolished during the 1970s. Today, it is the site of St Peters Roman Catholic High School, which opened in 1999.

1885  Reddish Lane

Reddish Lane, Gorton was home for two seasons. Rented land from the landlord of the Bulls Head Inn, a public house that was also used for players changing facilities. The club had started to gain momentum, and a good number of supporters continued to attend games here. The pitch was probably an open field adjoining the Inn, which was also a coaching house for the Royal Mail. This Inn was demolished around the turn of the century for road widening, and a new pub named the Bulls Head Hotel, was built close by in 1906. This former hostelry still stands today, but is not in use as a public house. Gorton AFC had progressed whilst being based at the Reddish Lane ground on the eastern edge of Gorton District. Today, the site of the pitch would almost certainly be located somewhere close to where Reddish Lane becomes Gorton Road, at the junction with Thornley Lane North.

1887  Hyde Road

Team captain Kenneth McKenzie is said to have discovered this derelict land off Hyde Road and Bennett Street, which was owned by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Company. It was subsequently rented and developed into a football ground by the newly named Ardwick AFC. The adjacent Hyde Road Hotel became club headquarters and provided changing facilities for the players. Hemmed in with a single track railway line running close to the most northerly corner of the pitch, and frequently overcrowded, the club would soon outgrow this ground, but it was much loved by those who attended. City’s first two seasons as England’s best supported team took place here during the seasons 1910/11, when attendances averaged 26,000, and an average of 21,000 during 1914/15. This was the last complete league season before regionalised league and cup games were played due to WWI.

During WWI Hyde Road was commandeered by the military for the purpose of stabling horses prior to action on the battlefield. The pitch was still used for matches and City even managed to win three championships during the war, namely the War League (Lancashire Section) 1915/16, War Subsidiary Tournament (Southern Section) 1915/16 and War Subsidiary Tournament in 1918/19.

Manchester United had built their ‘United Ground’- later named Old Trafford, which was opened in February 1910 with a capacity of 80,000. The site of this new ground was on the west side of the city. It was twice the size of Hyde Road but it had no adverse effect on City’s attendances, and the atmosphere at Hyde Road on a matchday was never an issue. In fact City had a reputation for noisy crowds from the very first season at the ground, with musical instruments such as bugles and drums sounding as attacks mounted, and on big occasions even fancy dress would be worn. The 80,000 Old Trafford capacity proved unattainable, and the stadium was never filled for a United game until capacity was reduced by around a quarter following modernisation approximately half a century later. Hyde Road with all its shortcomings averaged larger crowds, as well as cover for 35,000 supporters in Edwardian times. Old Trafford never provided similar for its supporters until the 1960s.

A mysterious fire destroyed the Grandstand at Hyde Road during the night of 6th November 1920, just months after a visit by HM King George V. Various theories have emerged of who or what was responsible and we cover this fire in detail on page 4. The fire did force the club to act however, and a move to a new stadium in south Manchester beckoned. After vacating Hyde Road, the land was used for many years by the tramways, then it became part of a bus depot, and later becoming a container storage site. Today, it is earmarked for new housing to cover the entire site. The Hyde Road Hotel was demolished in 2001 some years after being renamed ‘The City Gates’ and managed by former player George Heslop. Sadly, it remains an undeveloped plot. Once again, no trace of the important role this ground played in the history of MCFC, here at Hyde Road.

1923  Maine Road

Maine Road was a 16.25 acre site purchased for £5,500 from the Lloyds Estate, formerly known as Dog Kennel Lane. Opened on 25th August 1923 by Manchester Lord Mayor William Cundiff, it was the finest club ground in England upon completion, with a planned initial capacity of 80,000 containing 10,000 covered seats, and 70,000 uncovered standing places. Total costs were around £200,000 with £120,000 alone spent on the imposing brick built Grandstand. It contained three external tiled mosaics, four levels of windows to allow maximum light into the clubs offices which were housed within, and also the upper levels of the stand and stairways. Inside were players dressing rooms, a gymnasium, games room, match officials rooms, various stores and heating rooms, directors lounges, the boardroom, club offices, reception, kitchen and wash rooms. Within the stand for supporters on matchday were bars, tea rooms and wash rooms.

During WWII air observers used the high rooflines of the stands at night to watch for enemy aircraft, and several of the grounds cavernous concrete tunnels were used for storing foods such as butter and lard. Maine Road escaped direct hits from German bombers but bombs did hit Moss Side and Rusholme, and one exploded close to the stadium on adjacent Carlton Avenue.

Royalty to attend Maine Road were HM Prince Albert Duke of York (later HM King George VI), to watch City against Derby County on 20th October 1934 (see photo), and HM Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, to watch a charity match against Manchester United during May 1964. Maine Road set many attendance records, and is still the only English league ground to stage five matches each with an attendance of over 80,000. The ground was gradually redeveloped over many years until it finally closed its doors in 2003. Today, housing has covered the original site. A plaque marks the position of the former centre spot of the pitch on a public space known as Gibson’s Green, named after much loved long-serving Maine Road groundsman Stan Gibson.

2003  City of Manchester Stadium (Sponsored and renamed ‘Etihad Stadium’ from July 2011)

Built on the site of the former Bradford Iron Works which was situated adjacent to Bradford Colliery. The stadium was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 25th July 2002, accompanied by HM Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, at a ceremony of the XVII Commonwealth Games. This was 82 years after her grandfather HM King George V had attended Hyde Road, 68 years after her father HM Prince Albert Duke of York (later HM King George VI) had attended Maine Road, and 46 years after Her Majesty presented victorious City captain Roy Paul with the FA Cup at Wembley in May 1956. HM Charles Prince of Wales (now HM King Charles III) also attended the stadium during the games along with other senior members of the Royal Family.

The venue is now part of a site named Etihad Campus which seems to expand its facilities every year. Initially, the stadium had a capacity of 38,000 for the games, then following conversion from athletics use to a football ground, capacity was raised to 48,000. After further construction, the Etihad initially held approximately 55,000, although increased advertising requirements reduced this figure to 53,500. The capacity will rise to over 60,000 during the next few years with the expansion of the North Stand in a scheme proposing to include a hotel, shops, bars and restaurants, a club museum and covered matchday fan zone. Fabulous both inside and out, the Etihad has statues, plaques and mosaics (including artefacts from Hyde Road and Maine Road) adjoining the main entrances and the spacious external walkways. Inside, the stadium offers great views of the immaculate playing area from wherever you sit or stand. It even houses a pub called ‘The Ardwick’, in addition to the highest standards of hospitality for supporters.

The photograph above shows Maine Road upon completion in 1923. City’s highest home attendance was set here and is officially recorded as 84,569 on 3rd March 1934, for the FA Cup 6th Round match v Stoke City. Many supporters were unable to gain entry as turnstiles were closed 20 minutes prior to kick-off. This attendance is a record for any English club ground.

Temporary Home Grounds

Three venues are known to have acted as temporary home grounds for one match apiece only. At least one other ground may have done so in the early years before league football, but no substantiated information has yet been discovered.

Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Wales

16th October 1943

Manchester City 4 Wrexham 1 (North Regional League, 1st Championship)

This war league match was played at the Racecourse Ground in Wales. It is not included in statistics as an official first team fixture, as all wartime matches are not classed as such. The match was not played at Maine Road because an International fixture between England and Scotland took place at the ground that day, with England victorious by eight goals to nil in front of a 60,000 crowd.

Oakwell, Barnsley, England 

31st July 2008

Manchester City 2 EB/Streymur 0  (UEFA Cup)

Played at Oakwell due to the pitch being re-laid at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary 

16th March 2021

Manchester City 2 Borussia Monchengladbach 0  (UEFA Champions League)

Played at the Puskas Arena due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Please visit page 4 ‘The original badge & more’ where photographs and further information on previous venues can be found in ‘Locations of former home grounds’.

Why we Protected the Original Name

During the 1980s and 1990s much damage to the reputation of City both on and off the pitch occurred for a number of reasons, and its unique past seemed to be of irrelevance to many within the hierarchy of the club at the time. Sadly, many historical items were disposed of without thought, such as team memorabilia, historical mementoes and items such as the beautiful bronze plaque at the main entrance celebrating the opening of Maine Road in August 1923.

During 2006, following the acquisition of several high profile football clubs by business people of dubious intent, we wrote to then Chairman John Wardle with genuine concerns about the future of the club, and the feeling of irrelevance regarding its founding and early history. Within that letter, along with other important issues, we proposed that City should consider incorporating a constitution to be agreed and passed on to any future owners, that would help to protect the historic attributes of MCFC. Sadly, although acknowledgement was eventually received, as was feared, no action was taken. Today, after several significant clubs have been the victims of disastrous takeovers which has led to either demise, near bankruptcy or general mismanagement, the government is proposing new regulations to manage professional football clubs in England, but has yet to decide how and when they will be implemented.

Following our letter in 2006 and the subsequent takeovers of City over the next few years, after much thought and discussion we eventually decided to protect the original name ourselves via registration, copyright and licenced trade marks. These actions followed the closure of the ‘City Experience’, which was the clubs initial attempt at a museum. Although exhibit space was limited and the project was obviously running on a narrow budget, this was a loss, and no plans were announced for several years to replace it.

Registration of ‘St Marks (West Gorton)’ has enabled us to promote an accurate story of the birth of the club and its actual founders within its own website, and curtail the production of counterfeit merchandise such as fake early years pins and historically inaccurate, substandard merchandise from traders who have no allegiance to anyone but themselves. We are supporters first and foremost, and consider ourselves only guardians of the original City name, seeking to promote it and other related historical information in a positive manner.

We attempt to record the actual story which began during the 1860s, whilst dispelling the many myths about the humble beginnings of our truly great football club. We will continue to promote St Marks (West Gorton) positively as we feel the name, its founders, officials, benefactors, players and supporters during the fourteen years prior to 1894, are so worthy of acknowledgement.

Our research is undertaken and written without the bias and derisive comments of individuals who have consistently failed to understand the uniqueness of Manchester City Football Club and its fantastic supporters, and acknowledge the fact that the club has a long, proud and successful history, entwined with the bizarre and unbelievable! Coincidently, less than three years after we first registered the St Marks (West Gorton) name, Manchester United FC took steps to trade mark Newton Heath, which is United’s original name and is now protected and managed by the club itself. To be fair, United has always embraced its humble beginnings during the years pre 1902, when the club changed its name.

In addition to the research we undertake, this website and our Facebook page which offers additional information on the long history of the club, we also offer a unique range of quality memorabilia, as opposed to the historically inaccurate and often substandard merchandise which was plaguing the name in the years before we protected it. Prices start at just £4.99 and all our Souvenir Shop purchases include free UK postage & packing. Items include jewellery, a commemorative medallion, a selection of pins, clothing, artwork, leather goods and boxed sets. Our aim is to keep prices as low as possible and affordable to all supporters.

Over the years, several individuals have taken it upon themselves to research and promote the early history of MCFC, just like we were doing privately. Although many myths surfaced- which can happen even with the best of intentions, we can only express our thanks to everyone who did their best to truthfully research and report the early history of the club at their own expense. The important work of these persons should not be forgotten, and we are convinced there is still more to be discovered.

We would also like to thank everyone who decides to make a purchase from us. We are aiming to continue expanding our range of merchandise and have added the AAFC badge to the St Marks (West Gorton) name, cross pattee badge and other associated wording, all of which is now protected under registered trade marks and copyright. This means important historical images and wording dating from the earliest days and pre 1894 era, are protected by City supporters. So please look us up from time to time, you may find something new in our shop, an additional piece of substantiated research or the latest article of interest we have included within the history pages of the website or on Facebook. We trust you enjoy the read and the memorabilia in our online Souvenir Shop, named after the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of a shop many of us enjoyed for many years pre and post match at Maine Road.

Final Day Drama

Brushes with fate seem to be in the Manchester City DNA. Is it typical City? Well, its nothing new and it started long before Sergio Aguero scored the 93:20 goal in 2012, although that day will take some beating! Incredibly, the club has had no fewer than 25 final day dramas throughout its history. Unbelievable and incomprehensible matches including wins, draws and losses involving championships, promotions, relegations and european qualification, many with various record breaking feats. Some ridiculous, some heartbreaking, many totally bewildering and so fantastical that supporters of other clubs still sing about them even though they have no relevance to their own team!

For further reading, check the matches played by City on the final day of these seasons, each has a story attached. We have mentioned the last game of 1880/81 within our ‘History’ and ‘Records’ pages, so we recommend reading up on: 1903/04, 1904/05, 1908/09, 1909/10, 1925/26, 1926/27, 1937/38, 1949/50, 1950/51, 1967/68, 1973/74, 1982/83, 1984/85, 1988/89, 1995/96, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2004/05, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2021/22.

A few famous quotes from media commentators during City matches on the final day…

‘I’m sure they can hardly stand the tension…and there it is, Manchester City are the champions!’ George Bayley 1968

‘Denis has done it!’ Gerald Sinstadt 1974

‘For Manchester City, another chapter in their quite extraordinary history of brushes with fate!’ Barry Davies 1985

‘The great unpredictables…at long, long last…this time Manchester City got it absolutely right!’ Martin Tyler 1989

‘It’s Dickov again, can you believe it?’ Rob Hawthorne 1999

‘It’s party time…cartwheels of joy…what a day for Manchester City!’ Alistair Mann 2000

‘Manchester City are still alive here, Ballotelli, Agueroooooooooo. I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again, so watch it, drink it in!’ Martin Tyler 2012

‘Stupendous!’ Niall Quinn 2012

‘I’ve never seen anything like this, it’s gone mad…they’ve got love bites and everything!’ Paul Merson 2012

‘That’s why City are a sensation!’ Peter Drury 2022

‘You don’t get drama like this anywhere else…why do it the easy way, when you can add these sorts of levels to the occasion?’ Guy Mowbray 2022

‘The unthinkable, the unimaginable, the impossible that always seems to happen on the final days of Premier League seasons, particularly at the Etihad Stadium, has happened again!’ Jeff Stelling 2022

Trust us, there is no other football club quite like Manchester City…

The photograph above is of the Kippax Street Stand, Maine Road. Home to City’s most vociferous supporters. Originally known as the Popular Side when constructed as an open terrace in 1923, then renamed when a roof was completed in 1957. On a matchday children would often climb the stanchions and sit on walls, barriers etc. for a better view of the action. Original plans show this area being built to accommodate over 20,000. When closed for redevelopment in 1994, it was the largest single terrace in English football despite its much reduced capacity. This stand is honoured today by ‘Kippax Crescent’ at the Etihad Campus. 


Our official Facebook page provides additional historical information and short, easy to read articles on all things related to the club from the very earliest days. Photographs, special features and much more which may prove to be of interest to City supporters of all ages. We also display memorabilia, including any special offers. Access via log in, you can like and follow us via this link  https://www.facebook.com/shopstmarkswestgorton

You can access our contact page if you wish to message us via this website, or email us directly at stmarkswestgorton@gmail.com

Manchester City FC provide behind the scenes stadium and academy tours. Charges are payable and advance booking is advised.

Telephone 0161 444 1894 Email tours@mancity.com or access the website here https://www.mancity.com

The National Football Museum is located in central Manchester and provides a fantastic experience for any football fan. Opening times and charges vary so we advise to check prior to any visit.

Telephone 0161 605 8200 Email info@nationalfootballmuseum.com or access the website here https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com

Emmanuel Parish Church is located on Blackwin Street, West Gorton, Manchester M12 5LD. This church contains many original artefacts from St Marks and continues to represent it following unification into one parish, along with All Saints. For further information access this website  https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Gorton/Emmanuel

Please note: External website links are provided for ease if you wish to access additional information. By clicking on an external link we in no way endorse the content of that website. It should be understood that externally linked sites are in no way produced or created by St Marks (West Gorton)®. Therefore, external links do not convey any authorship, ownership or as mentioned, endorsement. Our official page on Facebook is however, produced entirely by St Marks (West Gorton)®.

A European night is always special at the Etihad. The photograph above gives a glimpse of the pre-match smoke and light show which has become a regular feature of these fixtures. City was just the fourth English club to win a major European trophy when captain Tony Book lifted the UEFA Cup Winners Cup on a memorable, rain-soaked night in Vienna during April 1970.


Copyright protected see footer link ‘Terms & Conditions’ © St Marks (West Gorton)® 2023

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