9 January 1909


One hundred years ago today, Manchester United, Football League champions in 1907-08, went down to a 5-0 defeat at Middlesbrough. This is what the Manchester Courier had to say about the game:

Manchester United is having a bad time, but Turnbull is practically certain to play against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Cup tie at Clayton on Saturday next. There were, however, weaknesses in almost every department in the game at Ayresome Park, and including, as the Southern League team does, so many players who have made their mark in First League football, it is certain that the United will have to improve vastly on its latest performance if a place in the second round is to be secured. Neither Duckworth nor Bell, the Manchester wing half-backs, played particularly well, while Roberts met a stiff customer in Hall, who got through on two occasions, and with a little luck would have accomplished the “hat-trick.” The failure of Picken at centre in the Preston match led to Berry being given a chance, but he met with very little more success, and with Halse not available the reappearance of James Turnbull will, in the circumstances, be exceedingly welcome. Operating behind half-backs that repeatedly failed to stop the eager Middlesbrough forwards, Stacey and Hayes were at a great disadvantage, but, like Moger, they held their ground until some twenty-five minutes from the close, when the United was simply routed. For sixty-five minutes Moger’s work was excellent, but subsequently he erred slightly on two occasions, and Middlesbrough profited in the shape of goals. Except for some brilliant work by Meredith and a number of good centres by Wall, the Manchester forwards were ineffective. It is perhaps for the first time in their history that the champions’ goal has capitulated three times in five minutes as it did at Ayresome Park on Saturday.

Two other local results that day, both in the First Division of the Lancashire Combination were Accrington Stanley 6, Atherton 2; Blackpool Reserves 3, Carlisle United 0.


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