Welcome to Kick-Off!
Welcome to Kick Off! An HLF-funded heritage project that celebrates Manchester’s rich rugby history.
Today people look at Manchester in shades of blue and red, associated with two big football clubs, but believe it or not, it wasn’t always this way.
From the 1860s through to the turn of the 20th century, Manchester was more of a Rugby city.
Manchester Rugby Club formed in 1860 and Sale FC came soon after and the likes of Broughton, Broughton Rangers and Broughton Park all thrived as organised rugby union took hold.
Some Northern clubs wanted to pay their players for missing work, a practice many in the establishment were against. Broughton Rangers were one club that was suspended for player payments and played a big part as a new league and new sport formed.
This became the great rugby split of 1895. Club numbers were affected across Manchester and while Broughton Rangers, Swinton and Salford forged a new path in the Northern Union, other clubs bit the dust. However a resurgence in Rugby Union came between 1923 and 1954 when some of Manchester’s best known clubs such as Didsbury Toc H, Trafford MV and Sedgley Park all started.
Kick-Off! will look at the history and social background of rugby in the Manchester region, attempting to piece together the highs, the lows and look at the big games of both codes.