Irish Footballer that Played for Newton Heath - John Peden
John Peden - Introduction
John Peden from Belfast in Northern Ireland signed for Newton Heath in 1893. Newton Heath was a works team from which Manchester United emerged in the early 1900's. John Peden is the first Irishman to play for Newton Heath and as such he also represents the first playing connection between Ireland and Manchester United. Peden, a winger, was one of the founding member of Linfield football club and had won the Irish League with the club on three occasions. He was also an established Irish international before he crossed the Irish Sea to Manchester.
John Peden & Newton Heath
John Peden was 30 or 31 years of age when he signed for Newton Heath. He made an instant impact in his first match against Burnley on 02 September 1893. He set up the first goal in 3-2 home win at Bank Street, Clayton. The local newspaper, Athletic News, reported "Peden was a success, and was carried off after the match ..."
John Peden's first goals for Newton Heath came seven games into the season when he scored twice against West Bromwich Albion in a 4-1 victory, again at Bank Street. Peden is also reported to have scored against Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and another brace against Stoke City.
Peden also scored against Middlesboro in the first round of the FA Cup. Unfortunately for Peden and Newton Heath the cup run ended in the next round against Blackburn Rovers. Worse was to follow when the Heathens ended up in a play-off match with Liverpool FC to determine which team would be relegated. The Merseysiders won 2-0 and the Newton Heath club was relegated to Division Two at the end of the 1893/94 season. John Peden left Newton Heath at the end of the season and joined Sheffield United. John Peden didn't settle in a Bramall Lane and he returned to Northern Ireland at the end of 1894 where he signed for Distillery.
The initial Irish connection with the Manchester team didn't last long but a bridgehead had been established and in the 1900's a constant stream of Irish footballers, from North and South would cross the water to join Manchester United.
John Peden - Ireland Career
John Peden made his international debut for Ireland against Scotland on 19 February 1887. Scotland won that day 4-1. Peden scored his first international goal in his next match on 12 March 1887 in a 4-1 win over Wales. He went on to play for the all-Ireland team on 24 occasions scoring a total of seven goals. The highlight of his international career was when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 victory over Wales on 05 April 1893. Peden seemed to enjoy scoring against the Welsh as six of his seven goals were scored against the Principality. John Peden last appeared in an Irish jersey on 04 March 1899.
John Peden - Newton Heath & Ireland Statistics
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