With the end of the First World War, the league resumed and United were a mere shadow of their pre-war self. Mangnall and his rebuilding of Manchester City attracted the imagination of the footballing world and even United star Meredith left for City. United were then relegated in the 1921-22 season. The free fall continued and they finished 4th in their first season after relegation and 14th during the 1923/24 season, losing to sides like Clapton.

In an attempt to rebuild, John Chapman was appointed manager and he won promotion in 1925, finishing second to Leicester City. United languished there for some time and in 1927, J. H. Davies, who had saved the club from extinction and brought them to Old Trafford, died. He was replaced as club president by G H Lawton. In the same year then, United were investigated by the FA committee which dished a lifetime ban on Chapman from involvement in football for improper conduct. What this conduct was remains unknown till today. He was then replaced as caretaker by an experienced player Hilditch, who remains the only player manager in the clubs history.

Herbert Bamlett, was appointed manager next season had a hugely unsuccessful stint as United perpetually remained in a battle to avoid the drop. In the 1228-29 season, they had beat Liverpool 6-1 in their last game and it was only the sixth goal that saved them from the drop. Finally, United finished bottom on the table in 1931 and were relegated. The club became financially insecure and Bamlett lost his job. Secretary Walter Crickmer and chief scout Louis Roca then took over his job as the club could not afford a new manager. The club did not even have the money to pay its players on christmas week.

Another bailout was needed and in came James W. Gibson who offered to help in return for becoming the chairman and reconstituting the board. With no choice but to agree, the deal was made and Gibson invested £30,000 into the club. Scott Duncan was then appointed manager and was a trend setter in the sense that retired players started taking up managerial positions.

In the 1934 season though, United reached their lowest ever league position when they were placed second-last in the table with their final match away against Millwall who were above them by one point. They were saved from relegation by an inspired performance beating Millwall 2-0 to stay up by one point.

Things picked up for Duncan though in the next two seasons which saw them finish 5th and become champions rrespectively. The announced promotion in style by being unbeaten in the last 19 games of the season. This joy was short-lived as they got relegated back in the next season. Scott Duncan resigned, and the secretary Crickmer resumed the manager’s chair. United were now £70,000 in debt but they picked themselves up and finished runners-up in 1938 and returned to the First Division. They were then to stay there for the next 36 years. At the end of the next season though, World War two broke out and First-class football was suspended.

United continued to play in certian local games though and on 11th March 1941, Old Trafford was bombed in a German air raid on Manchester. Old Trafford became a shadow of its former magnificence and United had to rely on the kindness of City to share their ground at Maine Road for the next eight years during which the stadium was being rebuild.

First class football finally returned after the end of the War after seven years of absence.

One Response to “Between the Wars”


  1. A nice history section you have made here. I have loads of old pics of United and Old Trafford if you want them, you can add them into your history section 😉

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