Manchester City’s ancestry can be charted back to the cricket team of St Mark’s Church of West Gorton whose members formed a football section in 1880 and played on a field of rough ground close to St. Mark’s church in Clowes Street. Within a year they left their humble surroundings and took residence at the Kirkmanshulme Cricket Ground nearby. However, the footballers were not popular with the cricketers and were soon banned due to the pitch getting ploughed up.
West Gorton, nicknamed ‘Gortonians’, almost faded away at the time but merged with Gorton Athletic to form Gorton FC. They choose a park, referred to as both Clemington Park or Gorton Park as a new home ground, soon to be left in favour of Pink Bank Lane. Not for long however. In 1887 they changed headquarters to Hyde Road and this also brought about a change of name, to Ardwick FC. The end of the 1893/94 season saw these founder members of the Second Division finish second from bottom and adding to the misery Ardwick FC found themselves in a hopeless financial situation. The club as such folded but were resurrected as a limited company under the name of Manchester City, staying at Hyde Road.
The move to Maine Road, about two miles from the Gorton area, was initially pre-empted by a fire that destroyed the 4,000 seater stand at Hyde Road. Eventually, in August 1923 the move to their elaborate new surroundings was made after the Hyde Road site was acquired for tramway improvement. The Moss Side site was secured for £5,500 and nearly 57,000 fans attended the first match on 25rd August 1923, when City defeated Sheffield United. In August 2003 Manchester City took up residence of the 45,000 capacity City of Manchester Stadium, originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile the ownership of Maine Road has been transferred to the Manchester City Council.
When Ardwick FC became Manchester City in 1894, the colours were Cambridge blue and sky blue, the ‘Ardwickites’ as they were called using red and black stripes away from home for a short while at the start of the 1880’s, but in the mid 1880’s wearing black shirts emblazoned with a white cross.
The red and black of the original team reappeared in the late Sixties and through the Seventies as City’s change strip at the instigation of Malcolm Allison. He felt the Milan based strip would create more fear for the opposition than sky blue would. The colours were famously worn to success in the 1969 FA Cup Final and the 1970 European Cup-Winners Cup Final. Latterly the term ‘sky-blue’ has temporarily given way to a new terminology, ‘lazer blue’. City reverted back to the more traditional sky blue in the summer of 2003.
Whichever shade, however, the colour of the shirts has given rise to the nickname ‘The Blues’ which replaced the less commonly known ‘The Citizens’ and ‘The Brewerymen’. The local brewery by the name of Chester’s provided massive financial support to the club including leasing the original Hyde Road ground from the railway company and helping to finance ground developments. They also helped purchase players, and the club’s headquarters was a pub called The Hyde Rd Hotel owned by Chester’s. Sadly enough it was demolished some years ago. Many of the club’s officials and directors were involved in the brewery trade, and all the bars in the ground were run by Chester’s. They were also major shareholder in the club until the 1920s.
The first badge, used from 1887-1894, was a four-panelled shield with the letters AAFC when City played under their original guise of Ardwick Association Football Club. The Manchester coat of arms was used for 70 years between 1894 and 1964. The bendlets (diagonal stripes) in the shield are from the arms of the family of Grelley, feudal lords of Manchester. The ship in the chief alludes to the Ship Canal. Although the canal was not opened until 1894 it was projected much earlier, and designs for it were prepared in 1840, two years before these arms were granted. The supporting lion is a royal icon and the antelope, a Beaufort emblem, represents the Duchy of Lancaster, to which the roses on the supporters likewise allude.
The crest, a representation of a globe with busy bees signifies worldwide industry. The motto Concilio et Labore means ‘By counsel and by labour’. A round crest was in use from 1965-1973, representing the shield from the arms but different in that the lower section of the shield carried the same colours that were used by a certain club from Salford during the ‘50s, namely red and gold. In 1973 Manchester City used an anniversary emblem to celebrate 50 years at Maine Road and it appeared on match programmes throughout the season.
It was the forerunner of the badge introducing the red rose of Lancashire into the design, with a slightly modified shape of the shield and the Manchester City typeface. This version was used until 1997.
Today’s badge shows the familiar shield and an eagle, first used in a City of Manchester crest issued in 1957. The three stars were added to provide a more ‘continental’ feel to the design
The Latin phrase ‘Superbia in Proelio’ means simply ‘Pride in Battle’