It’s a part of Manchester United’s history that is far too often left uncovered. Nevertheless, the nature of the club’s fame means that there is still plenty written about Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club. Here’s five good books on the subject.
Harry Stafford: Manchester United’s First Captain Marvel
With some groundbreaking research conducted over 10 years, Ean Gardiner tells the unknown story of Harry Stafford, Manchester United’s first Captain Marvel, as the title says.
Stafford joined Newton Heath in 1896 and stayed involved with the club for a decade or so before disappearing on a boat supposedly bound for Australia but which actually took him to the Americas. Harry’s actions in the early 1900s saved Newton Heath from extinction and Ean Gardiner tells much of the Newton Heath story in this fantastic books.
You’ll be able to read about great characters Alf H. Albut, Walter Cartwright, Caesar Augustus Llewellyn Jenkyns and many others.
The Emergence of Footballing Cultures: Manchester, 1840-1919
The most recent book with some kind of focus on Newton Heath, this comes from one of the authoritative sources on football history. Dr. Gary James’ extensive research on a 70-year period culminates in the complete source on this period in Manchester’s football history.
This book, admittedly, is not a Manchester United-centered publication. But there is plenty to get your teeth stuck into regarding Newton Heath.
Gary James has been on the United Through Time podcast on multiple occasions. You can listen to our episode on Ernest Mangnall here.
The Anatomy of Manchester: A History in Ten Matches
This book focuses on the whole of Manchester United’s history. Breaking down the club’s past into ten matches, the first chapter focuses on the 1909 FA Cup Final.
By doing so, author Jonathan Wilson tells, in part, the story of Newton Heath and how United developed from a workers’ club to a team in the English Cup Final where they played Bristol City at the Crystal Palace ground. Sandy Turnbull scored the winning goal.
The Story of the Green & Gold
Charbel Boujaoude’s book “attempts to explain the characters and history” of Newton Heath.
“How did a bunch of railway workers form a club that would eventually go on to be on of the most famous in football? For, unlike other Victorian clubs who were formed by wealthy benefactors wishing to fill empty stadia or else formed by well-connected church organisations with high-minded ideals regarding sporting activities, Heath were just a works team formed by workers at the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway at their Newton Heath depot.”
Boujaoude has done extensive research and uses it to tell the stories that have very rarely been written about.
Though no longer in print in paperback, this book is available for less than £3 on Kindle.
Red Dawn: Manchester United, in the beginning – from Newton Heath to League Champions
Written by Dr Brian Belton and published in 2010, this account of Newton Heath came out in the midst of the green and gold anti-Glazer campaign at Old Trafford.
Belton’s well-researched account goes in chronological order in narrative style and covers a lot of ground.
The paperback version of the book is still available on Amazon for under £7.