Saturday, April 26, 2014

26 April 1902 - The Name Change Seems To Have Worked Out For Them

On 26 April 1902, English Second Division side Newton Heath F.C. changed its name.

The club, nicknamed the Heathens, was founded in 1878 by workers from the Newton Heath depot of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, located in the city of Manchester. Their origins were reflected in the team's original name - Newton Heath L&YR F.C. They joined the Second Division of the Football League in 1893, dropping the "L&YR" from their name.

By 1902, the Heathens were in financial trouble. Their debts - which had climbed to over £2,500 - threatened to force them into bankruptcy. The club captain, Harry Stafford, met with J.H. Davies, the managing director of the nearby Manchester Breweries. Stafford persuaded Davies to make a substantial investment, allowing the club to continue. In return, Davies became club president.

The team decided to adopt a new name and colors in celebration of their new ownership and fresh start. They abandoned their gold and green shirts for red and white and, after considering such names as "Manchester Central" and "Manchester Celtic," decided to call themselves Manchester United F.C. They were promoted to the First Division soon after, in 1906, and won their first league title in 1908.

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