The club had some early success, finishing fifth in their first season, but they
soon faced financial problems, and in 1894 had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the then club secretary,
It was at this time that
they adopted the name Manchester City and the Masonic colours of pale blue shirts and white shorts.
Because of the lack of
detailed records, there is no irrefutable proof that either Parlby or his predecessor
Lawrence Furniss (also thought to have been closely linked to the Craft) were Masons, but Sidney Rose, lifetime president of the club and a director for much of the last 30 years, has no such doubts.
'It's always been my understanding,' says Sidney, a member of the Old
Mancunians' Lodge, 'that the real founders of the club
became involved in 1894 when there was some sort of financial crisis, and that they were Masons, or certainly had close Masonic links.
'That was why they started
playing in pale blue, the colours of Freemasonry. Until that time, the club had always played in red and black.'
The Early History of Manchester City
1865 St Mark's Church in West
Gorton, East Manchester.
1880 With the local men thought to
be spending too much time
'scuttling', or fighting as it is
better known, it was decided to
set up a football club to better
occupy their time. The club,
named St Mark's (West Gorton),
play their first game in
November, losing 2-1 to Baptist
1881 Wanting to recruit players from
outside the St Mark's
congregation, the club changes
its name to West Gorton (St
Mark's). Home games are also
moved from Clowes Street,
their first home, to
Kirkmanshulme Cricket Club.
1884 The club is renamed Gorton
AFC after merging with another
local side, Gorton Athletic.
Home games are now played
on waste ground near Belle Vue
1887 Gorton AFC moves to nearby
Ardwick, changing their name
1892 Ardwick joins the Football
League, regularly getting
crowds of 5,000.
1894 Ardwick is declared bankrupt,
only to be rescued by Joshua
Parlby and restarted as
Manchester City FC.
1904 Manchester City win their first
major honours, defeating
Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup
1922-1923 Work begins on Main Road,
Manchester City's new ground.
Work costs £200,000, with the
stadium holding an estimated
Web site created by Mark Griffin