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A history of Manchester United in green and gold


It is hard to imagine that anyone has a wider knowledge of West Ham than Brian Belton, born and brought up within five minutes of the Boleyn Ground and the author of more than a dozen books on the East End club.

But the 54-year-old college lecturer and youth worker continues to demonstrate interests beyond the claret and blue and the green and gold currently favoured by many Manchester United supporters is at the heart of his latest book, published today.

Red Dawn - Manchester United, in the beginning: From Newton Heath: 1 (Pennant Books) is an account of the beginnings of Manchester United as Newton Heath FC, whose green and gold colours have been symbolic of the protest against United's American owners, the Glazer family.

Belton's history charts the club's first three decades after Newton Heath FC was formed as a works team at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot in what is now an urban area of Greater Manchester, around three miles north east of the city centre.

It is a history that might be seen to have parallels with today in that the birth of Manchester United in 1902 came about when Newton Heath, on the verge of going bust, was effectively bought out by a consortium of local businessmen, one of whom -- brewery owner John Henry Davies -- decided on the change of colours to red, white and black.

Belton's extensive portfolio also includes books on the bobsleigh triumph of Britain's Tony Nash and Robin Dixon at the Winter Olympics of 1964, the East End boxing legend Terry Baldock and the infamous Battle of Montevideo, when Celtic met Racing Club of Buenos Aires to decide the 1967 World Club Championship.

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