original illustrations of the kits worn during the season
Home Kit 2
The Season in brief
Ernest Mangnall wasted little time in building his own team. Seven players were brought to Clayton before the start of the new season, and as many were released. For the first time in almost a decade, United mounted a genuine promotion challenge, alongside Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool.
After an indifferent start, a new club record of fourteen consecutive wins between October and January propelled United into the fight for promotion. The run included important wins over Liverpool, beaten 3-1 on Christmas Eve in front of 40,000 at Clayton, and at Bolton Wanderers 4-2.
Their promotion aspirations were ended by a 4-0 reversal in the penultimate game of the season at Anfield on Easter Saturday, and they finished the season in 3rd place. A proposal at the League's AGM, supported by JJ Bentley the President, for 'three up-three down' was unsuccessful, and United faced yet another season in Division Two.
The legendary Roberts, Duckworth and Bell half back line first played together on October 22nd 1904. The were not re-united until the final game of the season, and could not be regarded as the first choice selection until December 1906.
United retained the previous season's home kits, both the two-buttoned and three-buttoned collar with white inner placket. The change kit reverted to the green and white striped shirts, which were now worn with white shorts.
The players continued to wear either plain black socks or black socks with a blue band at the top, and often in the same match.
Our evidence for both kits comes from the squad photograph taken prior to the final 1904 public practice match. Two such games were played at Clayton, both Reds v Stripes, and attracted crowds of around 25,000 and 16,000 respectively.
For the first admission was charged for these games, although all proceeds went to the Ancoats Hospiral and the Saturday Lifeboat Fund.
It also appears that United's goalkeepers wore a different shirt to their outfield team mates, although of course it was the same colour. Photographs suggest their jerseys were a heavier woolen shirt with a rolled collar.