Founded as Manchester Football Club in 1860, eleven years before the formation of the RFU, the club is one of the oldest open rugby clubs in the world along with Blackheath, Richmond and Liverpool.
The first ever club game took place in December 1857 between the gentlemen of Manchester and Liverpool. The ball was provided by the founder of Manchester, Richard Sykes, a former Captain of Football at Rugby School. The game was advertised as Rugby versus the World! Liverpool FC was founded soon after, followed by Manchester FC. Not surprisingly, with few clubs playing the game, Manchester provided several players for the earliest international matches.
Manchester played in the environs of the city until the early 1970s before teaming up with the local cricket club, Cheadle Hulme CC, to move to their current ground to the south of the city; the twenty three acre site providing in addition for the playing of squash.
At the start of league rugby Manchester found themselves in the North West Two league and over some ten seasons rose through six leagues to compete in the National One league for five seasons. Following those heady days, the senior section of our club faced up to a tough few years, dropping through the leagues until securing its status at Level 7 in the pyramid.
As much as the senior section struggled during this time, our mini and junior section continued to thrive producing hundreds of players who wold go on to represent our senior teams, county teams or universities; plus a number that have gone on to professional teams and international representation.
Having halted the downward trajectory, our senior men's section started seeing the fruits of its previously exhaustive labour, with teams built on the back of M&J graduates thriving in levels 6 & 7 of the pyramid. These teams have welcomed a number of players over the years but there will now forever be a special connection between mini, junior and senior sections thanks to the hard work and commitment of the coaches, developing talented players year after year.
Time and the game move on; there may be fewer Internationals who grace the club, but the game remains strong, with hundreds of youngsters turning out on Sundays and the club also supporting a thriving Women & Girls section.