by Iain McCartney
Ernest Mangnall holds a unique place in the history of Mancunian football as the only man to manage both the city's major clubs, but his legacy runs much deeper than that as he also played a key role in both clubs finding new homes and even oversaw the move of Bolton Wanderers to Burnden Park.
He is perhaps best remembered as the man who brought Manchester United their first major honours following the takeover by John Henry Davies. There he won two League Championships, an FA Cup and two Charity Shields during a nine-year reign and the irony won't be lost on City fans that those achievements were helped in part by the exodus of players from their club in the wake of an FA enquiry which found the club guilty for making 'under the counter' payments. Yet it was Mangnall's cunning as an administrator that allowed United to cherry-pick the cream of City's players luring the likes of Billy Meredith, Sandy Turnbull and Herbert Burgess to the club. The result was United's first great era but the club soon became mired in controversy as a number of FA enquiries that led to Davies being forced to relinquish control.
Sensing the wind change, Mangnall felt no compunction in moving to City in 1914 where he stayed for a decade guiding the club through the devastation of the war before finding them a new home at Maine Road, a place still that remains in the hearts of City fans to this day.
John Ernest Mangnall truly was the architect of Mancunian football.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
IAIN MCCARTNEY has written so many books about United he cannot even be sure of the precise number, other than to say “it must be at least two dozen.” When it comes to United’s historyhe has been described as “the most prolific author in the business” by Danny Taylor of The Athletic.
From biographies of Duncan Edwards and Roger Byrne, to a detailed history of Old Trafford, countless titles have emerged from the pen of the Dumfries-based author. There have also been books on non-United subjects and also music, with his passion for Northern Soul almost matching that for United.
Iain McCartney created the ‘Manchester United Graves Society’ a couple of years ago, when he set about trying to locate the burial places of as many players and officials as possible. To date over 500 have been located.
He has also run the United Collectors Club since 1990.