A corporate investigation on behalf of Manchester City Football Club & Fortean TV.
For years, residents of the Manchester area have talked about the alleged curse of Maine Roads ‘Manchester City Football Ground’. Of course, when your favorite football team is on a loosing streak then its easy for fans to blame the paranormal in some way. However, there may be more to this than meets the eye.
We decided to take on the case after being contacted by Fortean TV. We started by interviewing those that work at the football ground. A security officer told us that whilst patrolling the grounds at night his dog (that was a well trained by the police) would suddenly stop and turn the opposite direction. When the security officer tried to get his dog nearer to the stands it would start crying and eventually struggle to the point of becoming vicious with him. This went on for a while and he could not understand why the dog was acting like this. It was fine working anywhere else.
He remembered one particular evening when the dog started acting unusual again. Becoming use to this he went the direction the dog wanted to. As he turned something caught his eye. He saw what looked like a cart and horse slowly travelling through the fencing as if it passed write through it. This he immediately interpreted as some type of ‘ghostly manifestation’. He quickly vacated the ground and eventually left his job several weeks later.
A local resident named Susan Read who also works at the ground as a cleaner described an incident that frightened her so much that he refused to carry on working at the ground. She was collecting rubbish one night when she heard a muttering sound. She looked round to see a lady in a dark long dress with a dark coloured frock over her shoulders. The woman looked at Susan then just slowly faded away. Susan was rather upset, in fact she was crying at the time. She explained to her boss what had happened and was never to return. Susan now works as an officer cleaner.
The fans themselves also told us that on occasion footballers and even the manager had in fact ‘peed’ at each corner of the pitch so to rid the alleged curse. Conducting research found that the land which is now where the football pitch lies was once owned by the gypsies and they were forced from their homes when construction of the ground began. It is these so called gypsies which are supposed to be responsible for the curse.
Manchester City’s present problem may not be entirely down to bad football, external factors may be playing a major part in their struggle at the bottom of division one. Stories and Encounters with apparitions and curses to be more specific, and one time winger Roy Clarke believes it is time the gypsies curse was exorcised.
The legend of the curse first started in 1922 when the club moved from Hyde Road to Maine Road, a croft where gypsies regularly camped and traded. The resident were all too aware of their door to door selling and the curses they supposedly implicated on those that offended them. A club official apparently threw the age old traveler's off the land without so much as a word of warning.
An apparent Gypsy Leader shouted ‘We done no harm here, so hear this, no good will come to anyone who dwells here’. Clarke, who was at the club for 50 years as a player and an administrator, now the secretary of the ex players association stated, ‘There is definitely a certain presence in the ground’. Stan Gibson a long serving groundsman stated, ‘There’s no way anyone would go over to the H Block at night’, the cleaners refused and almost walked out’.
Another cleaner told us that the North stand doors would start banging for no reason. Also a man with a horse and cart has been seen around the ground.
He simply vanishes through solid walls and fences. The tea ladies use to call this man Fred as a nick-name. One interesting piece of research was that there was one a man that slid into a mud pit many years ago and he apparently died as he was sucked into the bog, horse, cart and all. If this be true, then it is a remarkable coincidence that such an apparition is seen in the vicinity. Going off what we have found, it would make perfect sense that the so called Gypsy Curse still bedevils the club.
Manchester City is apparently moving grounds. It is to reside at the newly constructed sight next year. May be then their luck will change. Of course, there is the psychological view-point.
It is thought that by thinking there is such a curse and that you are not going to win, then the chance of that very out come is high. This is known as the Placebo Effect. This is when optimistical behaviour seems to effect the physiological world. In other word, if you believe your going to win, you have a better chance.
Doctor Richard Wiseman (parapsychologist) has conducted many experiments regarding chance and how it is effected by optimistical and pessimistical behaviour. He also seems to believe that we can some how swing chance by belief alone. If this is so, then Uri Gella’s theory of positive thinking may be correct. ‘Wow’, that’s finally one for Uri.
Even though I’m not a Manchester City fan, I hope the lads all the best. Special Thanks to Manchester City Football Club & Fortean TV.
Investigation carried out by Stephen Mera, David Tierney & Alan Smith.
Sunday, March 8th 1998.
Compiled by Steve Mera.