Newcastle United 1908/09 - Season Summary

Diary Squad

Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits
and reproduced by kind permission.

United recorded their third Championship success in five seasons and - with the exception of the first week - remained in the top three during the whole campaign. Seven wins on the bounce in the New Year equalled the record run at the time and United collected a record 53 points in total (although helped by the fact that the number of clubs had been increased last year).

Despite having the best defensive record in the League Newcastle conceded eight second-half goals in their record ever defeat: 9-1 at home to Sunderland.

Reached the FA Cup semi-final after a thrilling victory over Sunderland, but played poorly against eventual winners Manchester United.

England international forwards James Stewart and Albert Shepherd arrived in big money deals.

United Chairman Joseph Bell died at home.

The first and second teams both played a number of benefit games in aid of the unemployed.

Chairman J Bell
Manager Dirs. Committee
Trainer J McPherson
Captain C Veitch
Top Scorer A Shepherd (15)
Ave Lge att 31,508


League Division 1

2/9/08 H Bradford W 1 - 0
5/9/08 H Leicester Fosse W 2 - 0
9/9/08 H Bristol W 2 - 1
12/9/08 A W Arsenal W 2 - 1
19/9/08 H Notts W 1 - 0
26/9/08 A Sheff Wed L 0 - 2
3/10/08 A Bristol D 3 - 3
10/10/08 H Preston W 2 - 0
17/10/08 A Middlesbrough D 0 - 0
24/10/08 H Man City W 2 - 0
31/10/08 A Liverpool L 1 - 2
7/11/08 H Bury W 3 - 1
14/11/08 A Sheffield Utd D 1 - 1
21/11/08 H Aston Villa L 0 - 2
28/11/08 A Nottm F W 4 - 0
5/12/08 H Sunderland L 1 - 9
12/12/08 A Chelsea W 2 - 1
19/12/08 H Blackburn W 2 - 0
25/12/08 H Manchester Utd W 2 - 1
26/12/08 A Manchester Utd L 0 - 1
1/1/09 A Everton W 1 - 0
2/1/09 A Leicester Fosse W 4 - 0
9/1/09 H W Arsenal W 3 - 1
23/1/09 A Notts W 4 - 0
30/1/09 H Sheff Wed W 1 - 0
13/2/09 A Preston W 1 - 0
27/2/09 A Man City W 2 - 0
13/3/09 A Bury D 1 - 1
20/3/09 H Sheffield Utd W 4 - 0
23/3/09 A Bradford W 2 - 1
31/3/09 H Middlesbrough W 1 - 0
3/4/09 H Nottm F D 1 - 1
10/4/09 A Sunderland L 1 - 3
12/4/09 H Everton W 3 - 0
17/4/09 H Chelsea L 1 - 3
24/4/09 A Blackburn W 4 - 2
26/4/09 A Aston Villa L 0 - 3
30/4/09 H Liverpool L 0 - 1
Everton 3-0 1-0
Sunderland 1-9 1-3
Blackburn 2-0 4-2
Sheff. Wed. 1-0 0-1
Arsenal 3-12-1
A Villa 0-20-3
Bristol C 2-13-3
Middlesbrough 1-00-0
Preston 2-01-0
Chelsea 1-32-1
Sheff. U 4-01-1
Man. U 2-10-1
Nottm. F. 1-14-0
Notts. C 1-04-0
Liverpool 0-11-2
Bury 3-11-1
Bradford 1-02-1
Man. C 2-02-0
Leicester F. 2-04-0

The Magpies had been slow starters in recent years but they made their best ever start (so far) with five straight wins although they were helped considerably by playing four at home.

However their form was - at times - unconvincing and after drastically rejigging the side United were amazingly beaten 9-1 at home by Sunderland.

This defeat galvanised the side and seven wins on the bounce in the New Year equalled the club record run at the time. This was part of a four month run which brought 13wins, 2 draws and only 1 defeat before they were once again beaten by their Wearside neighbours.

By the end they had collected 53 points in total; a new League record.

In their last title win they had been hugely reliant on their home form but in this campaign their impressive away form (the best in the club's history so far) made a huge difference. Five consecutive away League victories in the New Year is our best ever run.

United had the best defensive record in the League. Amazingly almost 30% of the total goals conceded were in the two matches against Sunderland.

FA Cup

R1 16/1/09 H Leyton Orient W 5 - 0
R2 6/2/09 H Blackpool W 2 - 1
R3 20/2/09 A WHU D 0 - 0
R3r 24/2/09 H WHU W 2 - 1
QF 6/3/09 H Sunderland D 2 - 2
QFr 10/3/09 A Sunderland W 3 - 0
SF 27/3/09 N Manchester Utd L 0 - 1

R1: Second Division Orient were dispatched of comfortably.

R2: Blackpool were also a second tier side but it was a much tougher game against the robust Tangerines.

R3: Southern League West Ham also very difficult opposition with United struggling and only scraping home after a replay

QF: This set up a mouth watering Quarter Final with Sunderland. After a thrilling game at St James' The Magpies won emphatically at Roker Park.

SF: There were high expectations of the semi-final clash with Manchester United but both sides played poorly in a disappointing game.


At the AGM in June Cameron accepted that 1907/08 had been "most disappointing" from a playing point of view and declared that although their expenditure was heavy they were "justified in sparing no expense in their effort to secure the blue riband of football".

Both the first-team and the reserves played a number of games in aid of the unemployed including home and away games against Middlesbrough and Rangers. They also donated £10 per week to the Newcastle Distress Fund during December.

Other benefits were played for Cumberland infirmary Extension Fund, Newcastle RVI and Dick Hedley's widow. However they felt they could not support the Newcastle Trades Council who asked them to help the striking ship-building engineer's.

Former Chairman Cameron was appointed Chairman of the Leeds City Management Committee which was something of a surprise as he still had a seat on most of the important sub-committees at United.

Cameron and current director Milne signed nomination forms for the Labour party Candidate in the Newcastle By-election. Cameron infuriated the Newcastle board (the majority of whom were ) by signing "John Cameron Newcastle United"

Chairman Bell died in March.

The club was reported by Queens Park for making an illegal approach for amateur player Arthur Murray.

The directors voiced their public support for the Players Unions on their wages fight, however they reported a number of them at the end of the season for refusing to re-sign despite being offered the maximum wage.


Toon In

Date Name From Fee
06/08S AllanSunderland£10
06/08A DuncanDumbarton£150
06/08W HughesRhyl
08/08J StewartSheff. W.£1,000
11/08A ShepherdBolton£850
04/09A MetcalfeN. Shields Ath.£100
05/09J FinlayAirdrie£775
05/09W LowAberdeenexch Soye
05/09S BlakeN. Shields Ath.£30
J Stewart
Copyright Piotr

With Speedie and Appleyard both departing at the end of last season replacements were brought in in the shape of England international James Stewart and Robert Blanthorne.

Centre-forward Blanthorne broke his leg in the first game and after muddling through for a while they splashed another £850 on another England international; Albert Shepherd.

As soon as the season ended a couple more big money buys arrived: Wilf Low and John Finlay.

Toon Out

Date Name To Fee
10/08GriersonBradford P.A.
05/09J SoyeAberdeenExch Low
05/09A PudanLeicester F£125

A Pudan
Copyright Piotr

United had dispensed with Appleyard and Speedie at the end of last season so there was no appetite to sell any more first-team players.

Grierson and Soye were reserves and Pudan had lost his place in the side to Whitson.


Player App Gls
Allan S 9 5
Anderson A 24 5
Blanthorne R 1
Carr J 11
Duncan S 16 2
Gardner A 14
Gosnell A 5
Higgins S 31 5
Howie J 32 7
Jobey G 10 1
Lawrence J 45
Liddell B 5 1
McCombie A 2
McCracken B 36 1
McWilliam P 34
Pudan D 3
Randall C 1
Ridley J 5 1
Rutherford J 29 8
Shepherd A 21 15
Stewart J 27 7
Veitch C 41 9
Whitson T 37
Willis D 21 1
Wilson G 35 10
own goals 1


Copyright Hutch

Twenty five players were used in all; keeper, backs and half-backs were all consistent but there was more movement among the forwards.


Keeper Lawrence was the only ever present.


McCracken and Whitson formed a new and very effective partnership at the back.

Half Backs

Last season's half-back line was retained with Gardner, Veitch and McWilliam again excelling. However Gardner suffered two serious injuries; with Willis generally deputising.


Rutherford and new signing Duncan shared the outside right slot with Howie or Higgins used inside.

Blanthorne's first game injury saw a number of players used at centre before Shepherd arrived from Bolton.

New signings Stewart and Anderson featured on the left along with Wilson who played both inside and outside.

Player Picks

Shepherd finished as top scorer with an impressive return of 15 goals in 21 matches.

The rest of the goals were well shared around with 8 players scoring beween 5 and 10 goals

The Players Union were trying to bring an end to the maximum wage and although the club supported their claim they still - at the end of the season - reported eleven senior players who had refused to re-sign despite being offered the maximum.

Howie and McCombie both received benefits.

Appearances by County


The average attendance rose slightly to 31,508 and Newcastle were once again the best supported side in the country.

The Tyne Wear derby attracted the biggest gate of 56,000. The lowest was 22,000 for the visits of Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City.

Five thousand fans travelled to cottonopolis for the game against Manchester United on Boxing Day.

At the FA Cup Quarter-Final replay at Roker Park police had to draw batons after Sunderland fans broke down gates at the Fulwell End. There were a number of casualties and one youngster later died from his injuries. And eight others were injured when an excursion train returning from the match was hit by an Express just outside Durham.

George Whales was charged with assaulting a police officer at a Reserves game.

Rugby matches were played at St James' against the Australian "Wallabies". They met a combined Cumberland/Northumberland team in November and then England (in the second Test) in January.

Strange But Toon

Rex meets Man United's mascot

United were given a Great Dane called Rex as a mascot as well as a lucky horseshoe.

Two boys were charged with theft after stealing balls and other articles from the ground.

Local attractions of interest included trick cyclists re-enacting the Tyne- Wear derby, Pictures from the FA Cup semi-final at Jarrow Kino and a bioscope picture of the Quarter-Final at the Empire Palace in South Shields.

After scoring four times against Notts County Shepherd left the field early to catch a train.

United conceded 20 goals at St James' in the League; 9 of which were conceded in a single game against Sunderland.

Former player Edward McIntyre was charged with the murder of the Plymouth trainer.

More 1900s Seasons

1900/01 1901/02 1902/03 1903/04 1904/05 1905/06 1906/07 1907/08 1909/10


Albert Shepherd card from Doing the 92

James Lawrence picture by Hutch

Kit illustration from Historical Football Kits

Newspapers from Newcastle Central Library Local Studies

Newspapers from British Newspapers Archive

Plus various books.