The story of Major the St. Bernard is not one that is told often among Manchester United fans.
Major was the pet of Newton Heath captain Henry Stafford and legend says he played a big role in saving the club from collapsing before it was even known as Manchester United.
Stafford, who played 183 games for Newton Heath/Manchester United, used to send Major through the crowds at Newton Heath games with a collection box on its collar in the hope of raising some much-needed funds for the flailing club.
As the club’s financial situation worsened, the club hosted a fund-raising bazaar and once more, Stafford sent his prized dog through the crowd hoping to collect whatever extra money he could.
The bazaar was a disaster.
Not only did the club fail to raise much money, Major drifted off and was seemingly lost.
But what seemed a lost cause quickly became the club’s saving grace.
Major was found by local brewer John Henry Davies much to Stafford’s delight, but still there were problems.
Davies’ daughter had become quite attached the friendly St. Bernard.
Luckily, the two were able to reach an agreement.
Davies agreed to donate enough money to the club to secure it’s immediate futer in return for the dog and Davies was appointed chairman of the club shortly after.
He would go on to rename the club Manchester United Football Club in 1902, changed the club’s colours to red and white and eventually moved the club to it’s current home at Old Trafford.
Major would become the Manchester United mascot from 1902 until the 1905/06 season when he was retired.
The story has been encapsulated in a marvelous way by Daniel Gribbon at 3nil FC.
3nil FC has a proven knack for producing stunning football art you can wear, put on your phone or even hang on your wall and their latest work, “Major”, pays tribute to one of football’s most interesting legends.
You can check out the poster on 3nil FC’s website HERE.
You might also be interested in another of 3nil’s great pieces and one of the Gribbon’s original designs called “King Eric,” which you can view HERE.
Gribbon is an Australian designer who started 3nil FC in 2011 who wanted to, in his words, “create a foundation for a football movement. A club that has no boundaries. Where its home stadium is the nearest pitch or street. Where people always love the game.”