Maine Road FC 1955-2017
The club was formed in 1955 as ‘City Supporters Rusholme’ when our past Chairman Frank Thompson and a few friends formed a team and after playing a few friendlies, joined the local Rusholme Sunday League. In the late sixties the club changed to the Manchester Amateur Sunday League and also moved its headquarters to the newly built Maine Road Social Club and hence the new name Maine Road FC was born. Ronnie Meredith was now running the club and in 1971-72 we won the Manchester County Sunday Cup and both the club’s sides won their respective leagues. This prompted Ron to look for a new challenge and he changed the whole future of the club by moving to Saturday football in the form of the Manchester League.
Success followed success on the field and after several years of moving grounds we settled on our present home at Brantingham Road in 1980. After a lean spell, one of Ron’s ambitions was realised in Season 1983-84 when we won the Manchester League Premier Division. In fact, we won the league four years running. Derek Barber took over the managerial reins in 1986 and the clubs progress continued so much that, when the Manchester County FA’s new complex at Brantingham Road was built, Ron’s other ambition was achieved; entry to the Bass North West Counties League. In only our second season (1989), we finished runners up to Vauxhall Motors. Regrettably we were denied promotion due to ground grading, so in 1990 we went one better to win the 2nd Division Championship and take our rightful place in Division One.
In Season 1987-88 we beat Irlam Town 1-0 at Maine Road (home of Manchester City) in the Manchester Premier Cup to complete a unique record in the Manchester County Competitions by winning all five County Cups. The five Manchester County Cups are Premier Cup (1), Amateur Cup (5), Sunday Amateur Cup (1), Intermediate Cup (2), Challenge Cup (4).
At the end of Season 2001-02, after twelve seasons in the top division, Maine Road were relegated to the 2nd division. This was the first time a Maine Road side had ever been relegated and we hope it will be the last. After two seasons in the 2nd division under the guidance of Chris Simms when our very young side finished 3rd and runners up, we returned to the top division, (2004) and the club finished 8th and 10th in the following two seasons. The arrival of Ian Walker as manager (2006) saw Maine Roads improvement continue with 3 top 6 finishes in 4 seasons and the winning of the prestigious League Challenge Cup (2008). In 2012-13 John Morrey/Chris Thomas took over the managerial reins and in 2 seasons continued the improvement with a magnificent runners up spot (2013), followed by a 4th position (2014).
Chris Hirst in his 2nd full season of management has finished in a very creditable 15th position with a very young & inexperienced team. Maine Road has a long and proud reputation for attracting young players to the club. This began in the late 1980’s, which brought a succession of fine young players to the club. This success in spotting and nurturing the best young talent has continued over the past decades with Maine Road’s domination of the Umbro International Tournament at Under 19 level. Over 11 seasons our Under 19’s have taken on and regularly outplayed talented youngsters from around the world. They have won the competition an amazing 6 times and been runners up 3 times. The record set by the team of 2003 may never be surpassed when 8 of the squad regularly played 1st team football in the same season.
Another factor in the continued success of the club is the outstanding loyalty shown by many players. The best examples are the appearances made by the following players Ian Walker 637, Chris Simms 556, Gordon Woods 465, John Morrey 421, Robin Gibson 386, Alex Jay 382 and Neil Chappell 377 (The top 5 players have also gone on to run the first or reserve teams). Another amazing record is that in our 60 year history we have had only 9 managers of which 8 have been ex players.