Manchester: The City Years

Jock Thomson

Born: Thornton, Fifeshire, 6th July 1906 Died: 1979

1st October 1947 - 1st February 1950

John Ross "Jock" Thomson had been a successful player with Everton pre-war winning two League Championship medals, a Second Division title, and the F.A. Cup (1933 V City), but had lost his place in the Everton side to another future City manager, Joe Mercer. After that, apart from guest appearances with Aldershot, Fulham and Carnoustie Panmuir, his playing days were over.

Following Cowan’s departure Thomson became City’s manager, although some sources claim he didn’t actually take on the role until October. That first season saw City finish tenth with the 1948-9 showing a slight improvement as the Blues finished seventh. Considering City had been in Division Two only three seasons earlier this may have appeared satisfying, however the pressure was increasing on Thomson. Some supporters, who had loved Cowan’s brief period in charge, were drifting towards Manchester United. Busby, a Blue hero, was transforming the side, and for the first time in history United were beginning to attract more fans than City. As Thomson’s side seemed some way off winning a trophy questions were beginning to be asked.

Early in the 1949 season Thomson showed exceptional bravery when he signed German Prisoner-of-war Bert Trautmann. Most football managers would probably have not considered making the controversial signing at all, but Thomson made that move despite much criticism.

The 1949-50 season proved to be Thomson’s make-or-break campaign and sadly, by Christmas Day, the Blues had only won three of their opening seventeen matches. They were deep in relegation trouble and Thomson seemed unable to improve matters. By February City were out of the FA Cup – losing 5-3 at home to Derby – and were in further trouble in the League. Thomson’s reign was over, and three months later City were relegated.

After Maine Road, Thomson returned to Scotland and managed a pub in Carnoustie until November 1974.

All history and statistical material has been produced based on the research and writing of Manchester football historian Gary James ( It is maintained by Ric Turner & Gary James. All text remains the copyright of the original contributors.

Gary's book, Manchester - the City Years: Tracing the Story of Manchester City from the 1860s to the Modern Day, is available to order on Amazon.