Manchester is a city that has a deep love for football. It is full of history and cultural richness, and stands out because of the unique fact that they have two football clubs: Manchester City, and Manchester United. This dual football identity is deeply rooted in the city’s history.
Here is a look at why these two teams were formed, and what it means for Manchester.
To understand why two of the biggest football clubs in the world were created so close to one another, we must look back to the late 19th century. The industrial revolution transformed the area into a busy town, attracting many people to come to the area for work.
It was during this time that the first club in Manchester was founded. In 1878, Newton Heath LYR Football Club was formed, later becoming Manchester United in 1902, after being bought by a group of local businessmen to save the club from the brink of bankruptcy.
United eventually headed west in 1910 after Old Trafford was built, creating more support for them on the west side of the city.
Meanwhile, across the city, St. Mark’s was created in 1880. Its name was changed to Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, and then again in 1894 to its current name of Manchester City.
The club was able to achieve early success, which has continued to this day.
A rivalry is born
Naturally, having two football giants in such close proximity to one another led to an intense rivalry. First played in 1881, the Manchester derby became one of the fiercest rivalries in the country.
Both teams have a similar political and cultural fanbase – people from the working class. The competition between them is strictly the result of their proximity to one another, and due to them both achieving a great deal of success.
Years later, in the late 20th century, United reached new heights under the management of Alex Ferguson, both domestically and internationally, winning more Premier League titles than any other team.
At the time, there was also a large increase in football’s popularity worldwide, further increasing the interest in United, as well as their influence in the sport.
However, this newfound notoriety also fueled the flames of the rivalry with City, who underwent their own resurgence in recent years. City’s acquisition by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 marked a turning point, injecting significant financial resources into the club.
Since 2008, Man City has won 7 of the 16 Premier League seasons, coming in second an additional three times. They are also one of the top contenders in the current season.
While there was not a major dispute or event that resulted in two clubs being born in the same city, it is unique in the fact that two of the most successful and well-known of England’s numerous professional clubs were founded less than 10 kilometers away from each other.
The passion of fans from both sides is some of the most enthusiastic in the world, with games in the Manchester derby regularly filling stadiums full.