Season 1902/03
original illustrations of the kits worn during the season

The Season in brief

Harry Stafford, the club captain, reverted to amateur status, combining playing with his responsibility for signing new players and a role as groundsman. Twelve new players were signed during the summer, the most notable being John Peddie (from Newcastle and Tommy Read (one of three players to join from Manchester City).

Unfortunately the side failed to find any level of consistency and finished fifth. Having negotiated the F.A. Cup qualifying rounds, United were beaten in the second round at Goodison There were also early Cup defeats at Clayton by Bury (in the Manchester Cup) and Liverpool (in the Lancashire Senior Cup).

The new signings attracted large crowds to the two public trial matche in August, with 15,000 for the second game on August 23rd. A photograph, probably taken before the match, shows the probable League team in a red shirt with white collars and plain black socks. An article in the Manchester Evening News of August 9th 1902, confirmed the shirts were a bright red cashmere with red collar, and the kit was completed by black socks with blue tops. Both styles of home shirts, and socks, will have been worn throughout the season.

The same photograph shows the reserves wearing a striped shirt with black shorts. We know from the match report of United's game at Bristol City in September that the shirt was green and white stripes, The stripes were far from uniform, either in width or positioning on the shirt. We know from a match report in the Athletic News of United's Cup game at Goodison, that United played in a blue and white striped shirt. It was common practice at the time, for sides to have a sepearte change kit for the FA Cup.

Footage from United's game at Burnley on December 6th 1902 can be seen in this YouTube clip.