Wednesday 1 April 2009

Manchester Ship Canal Badge Barge Tragedy of 1902

Manchester United currently have a silly badge on their sleeves saying they are World Champions.  But there's another story relating to Man U and badges that is tinged with real tragedy and not made up stuff.  And today is the anniversary so it seemed appropriate to relay that story here.

In 1902 a barge was laden with Newton Heath FC badges and was on it's way to deliver the badges to this much loved Manchester football club when it was struck by another fast moving barge.  The second barge sliced through the badge barge and it sank with all badges tumbling overboard.  Despite the best efforts of three passers by and a dog all badges were lost save one.

The captain of the badge barge was overcome with guilt and vowed never to wear a badge again.

Newton Heath officials were of course distressed by the news and held an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the club.  Nearly all the clubs money had been poured into the purchase of the 40.000 badges and a healthy return had been expected.  Gloom and despair seemed the way forward but somebody with lots of money came along and saved the club.  However the badge disaster haunted the club and it was decided that as a mark of respect to the lost badges, the club would change it's name to Manchester United.  Many citizens of Manchester poured out onto the streets in protest and disgust at the renaming but when it was announced that the one saved badge would forever be kept in a dust free cabinet next to the cigarette machine they all went home.

And so Manchester United were born, and the rest is history.

For further info about this story please refer to

This story was translated from the original Russian.

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