If the Masons' involvement
in the club's early history is debatable (and even the club's official historian, Andrew Waldon, admits much about the team's formative years will forever remain in doubt), the same cannot be said of their role in
the glory years of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
When Sidney Rose first joined the board in 1964, five
out of the six directors were Masons, and it was Albert Alexander, another Mason, who as chairman made the
decision to choose former Arsenal captain Joe Mercer as manager in 1965.
It was an inspired appointment, and under his leadership City swept all before them at home and
abroad, winning the FA Cup, League Championship and European Cup Winners' Cup.
Both Mercer and a number of his team, including Tony Book, captain of the 1968 Championship winning side, were either at the time or
later became Masons. Many of the backroom staff, such as trainer Johnny Hart, are also thought to have had Masonic connections.
Hughie Murray, currently the Provincial Grand Tyler for the Province of East Lancashire, remembers a strong Masonic connection even in the pre-Mercer days when he joined the club as a 17-year-old apprentice in 1953. 'The scout came to sign me,' says Hughie, a promising outside-left in his time, 'and I just remember him being made up that my father, like him, was a Mason. Obviously I was too young to be involved, but I think he was quite happy,
as Les McDowall, the
manager at the time, was also a Mason.'
Web site created by Mark Griffin