original illustrations of the kits worn during the season
The Season in brief
We know from the listing in the ´Sportsman´s Year-book 1880´ that Manchester United, albeit as the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Carraige & Wagon Works Cricket & Football Club, were formed in 1878. The new sports club, founded by men in the loco sheds, received funding from the Dining Room Committee at the railway´s Traction Maintenance Depot in Newton Heath, to the north east of Manchester. The loco sheds stood on a 40 acre site and employed 2,000 men and it is highly probable that similiar clubs already existed within the Works. The lack of any newspaper accounts of matches played by the newly formed club suggests that their original ambitions were limited to playing games against each other, and against similar sides from within the L&YR depot.
Fred Attock found headquarters for the club at the Shears Hotel, on the corner of Oldham Road and Shears Street in Newton Heath. In common with many other newly formed sides the club didn´t have a regular pitch for their ´home´ games, playing instead on any local pitch that was available. Attock was eventually able to rent land from the Lancashire Yorkshire Railway adjacent to the Carriage & Wagon Works on North Road in Newton Heath. Initially the land was provided by the railway Company for it´s employees to play both football and cricket. As there were no changing facilities, the football players would change in the Three Crowns pub on Oldham Road.
In all probability the early ´Heathens´ would not have had a uniform playing kit, certainly we have been unable to find any evidence of one. At a time when most players were expected to provide their own kit, this was not uncommon. Players were often distinguished by their caps rather than by coloured shirts. The railway workers would have almost certainly provided their own shirts and knickerbockers, and played in a variety of colours.