Home turf before theatre of dreams

A rare photographic postcard sold via thesaleroom.com at a surprise £850 (estimate £30-50) at Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium) in Washington, West Sussex on October 30.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

Postcard of Man Utd v Portsmouth 1906-07 FA Cup tie – £850 at Toovey’s.

Published by Cribb, it depicts a football match in progress titled The Failing Light but Pompey Shines, Lovely (Clay)ton Manchester and Chemical Works the Kick which led up to Pompey’s Win.

The caption probably references the FA Cup tie in the 1906-07 season when (after a 2-2 draw at Fratton Park) Portsmouth recorded a famous 2-1 win against Manchester United at the Bank Street stadium in Clayton.

The grainy photo is a rare view of a 50,000-capacity stadium that was home to Manchester United and their precursor club Newton Heath until demolition and a move to Old Trafford in 1910.

Medal matters

More Manchester United-related memorabilia came up at Stacey’s (20% buyer’s premium) of Rayleigh, Essex on October 29. The 1977 Manchester United FA Cup final winner’s medal awarded to Sammy McIlroy (b.1954) sold at £19,500.

In the game United famously beat rivals Liverpool 2-1, spoiling their chance of the treble. McIlroy, who had been Matt Busby’s final signing to the club in 1969, was the vendor.

Sammy McIlroy 1977 FA Cup winner’s medal – £19,500 at Stacey’s.

A gold medal from the 1908 London Olympics, awarded to a future chairman of Manchester United, sold via the saleroom.com for £15,500 at Mallams Oxford (20% buyer’s premium) on November 14. Harold Hardman’s winner medal, that recalls his journey from amateur footballer and solicitor to chairman of the Red Devils, was expected to bring £10,000-15,000.

The fourth modern Olympiad, held at short notice in London in 1908, was the first to include an official ‘association’ football tournament.

Only eight teams entered the competition with the hosts beating Denmark 2-0 in the gold-medal match in front of 8000 fans at the White City Stadium on October 24. The number 11 for Great Britain, playing outside left, was Harold Payne Hardman (1882-1965).

Born in the Newton Heath area of Manchester, he was first appointed a MUFC director in 1912 and served as chairman from 1951 until his death in 1965. During his tenure as chairman the club won four league titles and saw the creation of the famous ‘Busby Babes’ under the management of Sir Matt Busby.

Harold Hardman 1908 Olympic gold – £15,500 at Mallams Oxford.

Hardman’s poignant response to the Munich air disaster, which claimed the lives of 23 people, including eight players, was published on the front page of the United Review match programme, against Sheffield Wednesday, on February 19, 1958.

It read: “Here is a tragedy which will sadden us for years to come, but in this we are not alone. Although we mourn our dead and grieve for our wounded, we believe that great days are not done for us… The road back may be long and hard but with the memory of those who died at Munich, of their stirring achievements and wonderful sportsmanship ever with us, Manchester United will rise again.”