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NUFC History

NUFC ORIGINS AND
HIGH POINTS

By Paul Hanson

United can trace its history to the two early Newcastle Teams, East End and West End, who were both in the Northern League. In 1892 the West End club folded, and East End took over and changed its name to Newcastle United FC.

The newly formed club was elected to Division Two, and took a lease at St. James Park. The first stadium was very basic with no big stands or terracing, and no dressing rooms. Facilities improved when Newcastle United won promotion into the First Division, and more than twenty thousand people attended United's first home game on 3rd September 1898 against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Frank Watt took over as club secretary in 1899 and within ten years turned Newcastle United into a major club with a modern stadium and fresh, skilled players. One such player was, Bill McCracken, who signed from Belfast Distillery in 1904. He quickly became a crowd favourite and was a master of the offside trap, he is still widely recognised as one of the greatest full backs of all time. Newcastle were First Division League champions in 1904-5, 1906-7 and 1908-9 and were FA Cup finalists in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911 sadly unsuccessful on all occasions.

War

Towards the end of the 1920s success eluded the Club and they narrowly avoided relegation at the end of the 1929-30 season. United could not avoid the drop by the 1934-5 season. The outbreak of war in 1939 meant that the normal football programme was suspended, although matches continued to provide entertainment to those left at home.

During this time, Stan Seymour joined the board of Directors and he started looking for fresh talent. In came Charlie Wayman, Tommy Walker, Ernie Taylor, Bobby Cowell, Jackie Milburn and Charlie Crowe. He also signed up Joe Harvey, Len Shackleton, Roy Bentley and Frank Brennan after the war. This led to the best Newcastle forward line up in the club's history, Milburn, Shackleton, Bentley, Wayman and Pearson.

Players have rights too!

In 1958, Charlie Mitten was appointed as Manager. He was very flamboyant and made some lasting changes. He changed the Newcastle strip as well as introducing two outstandingly talented players, Ivor Allchurch and George Eastham. George later took Newcastle United to court after being refused a transfer request by the board of Directors. This turning point gave players the right to negotiate their own contracts of service.

Get the money back

In an attempt to restore the Club's lost fortunes Joe Harvey was appointed manager, a job he would hold for 13 years. During this time he would build three successful teams and go on to win promotion into the First Division after the 1964-5 season. Jo Harvey resigned at the end of the 1974-5 season and was replaced by Gordon Lee, who took Newcastle to the 1976 League Cup final against Manchester City, sadly, Newcastle lost.

In 1982 after Richard Dinnis and Bill McGarry came and went as managers, Arthur Cox took over the role. It was Cox who signed Kevin Keegan from Southampton. Keegan led the team back into the First Division. After doing this he announced his retirement from football, much to the disappointment of the loyal fans who thought he had much more to give.

The Charlton Magic Fails

Jack Charlton replaced Cox in 1983 but quickly resigned in 1985 after fans did not warm to his defensive approach. Former goalkeeper Willie McFaul replaced Charlton, after major players had deserted the Club. McFaul brought in Brazilian Mirandinha, who was not a success, and Jim Smith replaced Willie McFaul in 1988.

Smith immediately sacked Mirandinha and brought in Mick Quinn. After a few mediocre results Smith resigned in 1991, Ossie Ardiles replaced him but lasted barely a year before being sacked.

There's only one Kevin Keegan

The end of the 1991-2 season saw the welcome return of Kevin Keegan, this time as Manager. Sir John Hall had now taken a controlling interest over the Club as part of his ambitious Newcastle Sporting venture, intended to bring together a number of sports in Newcastle. This financial backing gave Kevin Keegan a chance to buy some quality players. These were John Beresford, Barry Venison, Robert Lee, Scott Sellars, Pavel Srnicek and Andy Cole. It was under Keegan that Newcastle was promoted to the Premier League, luring back Peter Beardsley. Keegan's new additions, Ruel Fox, Darren Peacock, and Phillipe Albert meant that Newcastle gained third place in the Premiership.

In the summer of 1996 Keegan made a signing that changed Newcastle's fortunes. Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers cost 15million, a new record for 1996. Shearer broke the 300 career goals barrier whilst at Newcastle, a target that is still rising today as this outstanding player continues to score goals with a power and accuracy rarely seen elsewhere.

Robson Wonderland

In 1999 veteran manager, Bobby Robson, took over from Ruud Gullit. United are now back on form and looking forward to many future successes under the recently knighted Sir Bobby Robson.