Manchester City fullback Eric Westwood was in no mood to hang around at the start of the 1950-51 football season.
City had been relegated from the First Division the previous year and the Manchester-born defender was determined to put things right.
He was so keen to win promotion that he turned up for training at Maine Road two weeks early!
Westwood’s tactics paid off. City finished second behind Preston North End with 52 points and bounced straight back to Division One.
But Westwood was not alone in making an early start to the new season in the 1950s.
City captain Don Revie was looking forward to a bright year ahead when he reported back for training in July 1956.
The previous year had been memorable for City. The Blues had won the FA Cup by beating Birmingham City 3-1 at Wembley and finished fourth in the league.
Goalkeeper Bert Trautmann had earned the respect of the nation by heroically playing on in the Cup Final with a broken bone in his neck.
It was time to topple Champions Manchester United in the league. So Revie and team-mates Ken Barnes and Paul Roy started pounding out the pre-season yards at Maine Road.
But for all their work, the season did not start well. City lost the Charity Shield match between the league winners and FA Cup holders 1-0 to United. The scorer was Dennis Viollet.
The annual curtain-raiser to the new season was usually played at the league winners’ ground, but Old Trafford had no floodlights so the match moved to Maine Road.
It was the first floodlit derby between the two Manchester clubs and attracted a crowd of 30,495.
City’s season never really got off the ground after that. The Blues went out of FA Cup in the Third Round and finished 18th in the league with 35 points. Rivals United were top with 64.
The Busby Babes of Manchester United were in the middle of a superb run when they arrived at Old Trafford for pre-season training in July 1957.
The league champions were under surveillance too as Partick Thistle trainer Adam McLean turned up to see what made the Red Devils tick.
Little did the young players know that the forthcoming season would be forever scarred by the Munich air disaster of February 6th 1958.
Eight gifted team-mates lost their lives in the tragedy, including the legendary Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne, David Pegg and Tommy Taylor.
Even though their squad was decimated, United finished ninth in the First Division. They also reached the FA Cup Final, ultimately losing 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers.
It was an extraordinary and moving achievement. The Bolton players were in tears on the coach to Wembley as they remembered their United colleagues lost at Munich.
A decade later, United stars George Best and Alec Stepney had a new acquisition to admire on the first day of training in July 1968 – the European Cup.
United became the first English team to lift the trophy by beating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley in May. Best was one of the scorers.
In contrast, the body language of United players was far from good when they were pictured at the Cliff training ground in July 1971.
Frank O’Farrell had replaced Matt Busby and there were rumblings of discontent in the camp. O’Farrell’s impersonal approach – every player had to schedule an appointment just to see him – was not helping morale.
He was sacked after 18 months and replaced by Tommy Docherty.
It was a different story at Maine Road in July 1965 when City manager Joe Mercer shared a joke with his new assistant Malcolm Allison.
It was the start of a brilliant era for the Blues. The Mercer-Allison combination won six major trophies in seven years, including the First Division title, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
John Bond took over as City manager in 1980. He was a flamboyant character and loved to get involved in training – as our image shows.
He guided City to the 1981 FA Cup Final against Spurs – a match made famous by Ricky Villa’s stunning individual goal in the Wembley replay which City lost 3-2. Bond resigned in February 1983.
Finally in our picture round-up, two images from United. The first sees Ron Atkinson in training with new signing Arnold Muhren in August 1982 and the second captures the squad hard at work in July 1995.
There are some seriously familiar faces on parade, including Eric Cantona, Brian McClair, Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and David Beckham.
Little wonder they did the double that season winning the Premier League and beating Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup Final.