The first Manchester derby

This day in football history

Gorton AFC, 1884

On 12 November 1881, Newton Heath FC beat hosts West Gorton (St. Mark’s) FC in a friendly, 3–0. It was the first Manchester derby, as the Heathens later became known as Manchester United and the Saints later changed their name to Manchester City. The Ashton Reporter covered the match, but provided few details apart from calling it “a pleasant game.”

With that first match, played at the invitation of West Gorton, there have been a total of 173 contests between the two teams. United currently have the advantage with 72 wins to City’s 50 (there have been 51 draws). The derby’s top scorer is United’s Wayne Rooney with 11, while City’s Joe Hayes and Francis Lee are tied for second at 10 goals each.

A number of players have taken the pitch for both City and United, including Denis Law, Peter Schmeichel, and Carlos Tevez.