Manchester United F.C.: The fall of the mighty

December 8, 1930
The wrong policy at Manchester.
The position of Manchester United seems almost beyond hope, but what everyone interested in the club has been worrying is why the directors have not made some sort of effort to remedy the deplorable state of affairs.

When the boycott was planned, and put into operations by a section of the supporters people in all parts of the country cried “Shame.” But should not the directors have done something? Should they not have answered their critics, and proved that they were not allowing the ship to sink?

Where is the enterprise.
They have done nothing, and, more than that, they do not seem inclined to say what they are going to do in future.

With the present team they cannot hope to have a chance of avoiding the fate that has been threatening for some years. They have been hard hit by injuries, it is true, but where is their enterprise?

No big transfer fees.
Why is it that other clubs can secure new men and not the United? The chairman of the club, Mr. G.H. Lawton, has stated that they will not pay big transfer fees for players; that, in his opinion, it is contrary to the sport, and that youngsters should be given a chance.

That view is not shared by the supporters of the club in a crisis like the present one. Why is it that Manchester City have spent so freely even with a better side than the United?

Dwindling gates.
Can it be wondered that the gates at Old Trafford are dwindling to under 10,000? If there is no immediate change, they will probably be smaller than that.

James Bullock is the only new player, and he cost £1,250 when he was secured from Chesterfield. Money will have to be spent in bigger sums than that for better players if the United are to escape relegation.

If the club does not possess the money, steps will have to be taken to get it. It can be obtained!

When the trouble set in.
The United have been on a decline for many years, but it is since Frank Barson left at the end of 1927-28 that the real trouble has set in. They have not had a dominating captain since his departure.

Frank Barson, Manchester United.

The club have parted with players whom they might have retained. They allowed Jack Ball to go to Sheffield Wednesday for £1,250, and now they cannot get a leader so effective for double the fee.

Charlie Spencer, Billy Johnston, and Bill Rawlings cost the club roughly £7,000, and while Rawlings’ goals saved them from relegation the three players, now no longer with the club, were dear men.

Frank Mann and Harry Thomas, like Spencer and Johnston, are cut of League football, with transfer fees on their heads, while Frank McPherson left for a few hundred pounds, and Tommy Barnett was given a free transfer after he had been developed from a youngster.

Rees Williams is another player who cost about £2,000 and is now cut of League football.

What is wanted.
Money has not been expended very wisely at Old Trafford in recent years, and perhaps, in an effort to retrieve the financial situation, the Club has gone to the other extreme. In the last seasons newcomers include Arthur Chesters, John Mellor, George Lydon, Rees Williams, Howe, Kirkley, Tommy Reid, Harry Rowley, Stanley Gallimore, George McLachlan, Sam Hopkinson, James Bullock, and Albert Parker.

Chesters, Mellor, Lydon, Willianms, Rowley, Gallimore, Hopkinson, and Parker cost nothing. Howe and Kirkley, from North Shields, were obtained at trivial cost; Reid’s transfer fee from Liverpool was about £1,000; McLachlan cost something like £2,000, and Bullock £1,250.

What is wring now is that the United are expecting too much from young and inexperienced players.

Something must be done, and quickly, if the position is to be saved.
(Athletic News: December 8, 1930)

Manchester United’s start to the 1930-31 season.


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