Newcastle United 1928/29 - Season Summary

NUFC 1928/29 Diary NUFC 1928/29 Squad
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits
and reproduced by kind permission.

United recovered from a disastrous start to the season to finish 10th; but this (as with the previous campaign) represented a major disappointment for the Champions of 1926/27.

A terrible performance saw an immediate exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Third Division Swindon Town.

United were criticised for their lack of signings during the summer but made two sensational purchases during the campaign with the arrival of Jack Hill from Burnley and Andy Cunningham from Rangers.

United went on a disastrous and controversial continental tour at the end of the season.

Chairman J Oliver, D Crawford
Manager Committee
Trainer A McCombie
Captain J Harris, J Hill
Top Scorer H Gallagher (24)
Ave Lge att 31,667


League Division 1

H Cardiff D 1 - 1
H Burnley L 2 - 7
A Sheffield Utd L 1 - 3
H Bury W 2 - 1
A Burnley L 3 - 4
A Aston Villa D 1 - 1
H Leicester W 1 - 0
A Blackburn L 0 - 2
A Manchester Utd L 0 - 5
H Leeds Utd W 3 - 2
A Liverpool L 1 - 2
H Arsenal L 0 - 3
A Sunderland L 2 - 5
H Huddersfield W 4 - 1
A Man City W 4 - 2
H Birmingham W 1 - 0
A Portsmouth W 1 - 0
H Bolton W 4 - 1
A Sheff Wed L 1 - 3
H Derby W 4 - 1
A Everton L 2 - 5
A WHU L 0 - 1
H WHU W 1 - 0
A Cardiff L 0 - 2
H Blackburn L 0 - 2
H Sheffield Utd W 4 - 2
A Bury L 0 - 2
A Leicester D 1 - 1
H Manchester Utd W 5 - 0
A Leeds Utd D 0 - 0
H Liverpool D 2 - 2
H Sunderland W 4 - 3
H Aston Villa W 2 - 1
A Huddersfield L 1 - 2
H Man City W 4 - 0
A Birmingham D 0 - 0
A Arsenal W 2 - 1
H Portsmouth L 0 - 1
A Bolton L 0 - 1
H Sheff Wed W 2 - 1
A Derby W 2 - 1
H Everton W 2 - 0
The Wednesday 2-1 1-3
Leicester 1-0 1-1
Aston Villa 2-1 1-1
Sunderland 4-3 2-5
Liverpool 2-2 1-2
Derby 4-1 2-1
Blackburn 0-2 0-2
Man. City 4-0 4-2
Arsenal 0-3 2-1
Newcastle United
Sheff. Utd 4-2 1-3
Man. Utd 5-0 0-5
Leeds 3-2 0-0
Bolton 4-1 0-1
Birmingham 1-0 0-0
Huddersfield 4-1 1-2
West Ham 1-0 0-1
Everton 2-0 2-5
Burnley 2-7 3-4
Portsmouth 0-1 1-0
Bury 2-1 0-2
Cardiff 1-1 0-2

United made a terrible start to the season and at the end of October a 5-2 defeat at Sunderland saw them languishing in 21st place having won 3 out of 13 and conceded 36 goals in the process.

The half-back line in particular was struggling and United splashed out on England international centre-half Jack Hill. His arrival helped spark a five game winning run which pulled United back into mid-table.

But poor away form continued to hamper progress with United's forward line being considered too small and lightweight. By the end of January The Magpies were still down in 14th and the directors decided to make another major signing when they brought in the massively experienced inside-forward Andy Cunningham from Rangers.

Despite both Cunningham and Gallacher missing games through injury, United won 8 and lost only 3 of the remaining 14 games and climbed back up to 10th.

FA Cup

A Swindon L 0 - 2

R2: A really poor performance saw Newcastle deservedly beaten by Division 3 side Swindon with United failing to adapt their style to play on the hard ground.


JP Oliver

Last season's failure prompted criticism at the AGM in June and Mr. Graham admitted it had been a disappointing season after such a good start and stated that they were fully aware that certain positions needed strengthening. But a failure to make any significant signings in the summer added to the feeling of trepidation about the new campaign.

Reports that Gallacher had asked to leave the club were dismissed and Chairman Oliver stated that they would not part with him "for a kingdom." But there were rumours that some of the United director's would be happy to sell him as they had become tired of his controversial dealings both on and off the pitch.

Chairman JP Oliver passed away. He had not had the best health since he had a seizure whilst attending a meeting of the League Management Committee in London in 1921. A member of the directorate since 1902, he was appointed chairman in 1918.

Into Toon

Name Date From Fee
E Wood 05/28 Rhyl£950
LT Owen 06/28 Welshpool
D Flannigan06/28Third Lanark£2,500
R Thomson10/28 SunderlandExchange
J Hill 10/28 Burnley£8,100
T Wilkinson11/28 White-le-head Rangers
A Cunningham01/29 G. Rangers£2,300
G Scott04/29 South Shields£1,250
J Greenwell04/29 Dipton United
R Dennison05/29 Radcliffe Welfare£10
J Richardson05/29 Blyth Spartans£250
J Hill

The club were criticised for not making any significant signings during the summer and the poor start to the season seemed to justify this.

The cheque book came out with - Gallacher's main foe - Jack Hill signed from Burnley for a record fee of £8,100; a huge fee for a 29-year-old.

There were many rumours linking United with a move for Preston's Alec Jackson but nothing materialised.

There was to be another transfer sensation later in the season when 39-year-old Scottish international Andy Cunningham was signed from Glasgow Rangers.

Outta Toon

Name Date To Fee
J Little05/28 SouthportFree
W Halliday06/28Third LanarkFree
S Barber06/28 Bristol City£8,100
J Lees 07/28 ChesterfieldFree
R McKay10/28 SunderlandExchange
F Hudspeth01/29 SouthportFree
T Curry01/29 SouthportFree
T Evans05/29 Retired (inj)
F Hudspeth

McKay was allowed to leave for Sunderland in exchange for Thomson with United looking to strengthen their rearguard.

Veterans Hudspeth and Curry both joined Southport in January.


Player A G
Boyd J 28 7
Burns M 30
Carlton W 3 1
Chalmers W 19 8
Cunningham A 10 2
Curry T 1
Evans T 1
Fairhurst D 1
Flannigan D 3
Gallacher H 34 24
Gibson W 6
Gillespie W 2
Harris J 40 1
Hill J 26
Hudspeth F 6 3
Lang T 39 10
MacKenzie R 24 2
Maitland A 41
Mathison G 1
McCurley J 26 4
McDonald T 30 1
McKay B 5
Park O 12
Seymour S 3
Thomson B 30
Urwin T 23 3
Wilkinson J 11 2
Wilson W 13
Wood E 5
own goals 2

Wilson [13] started the season as first choice but lost his place to Burns [30].


Maitland [41] retained the right-back slot with new signing Thomson [30] taking over as his regular partner.


MacKenzie[24]. Park [12] retained his position at the start but was replaced by new signing Jack Hill [26]. Harris [40] also appeared on the opposite flank but spent most of the time on the left.


Boyd [28] was outside-right for the first-half of the season and Urwin [23] for the second. Chalmers [19] and Wilkinson [13] played on the inside before Cunningham [10] arrived from Rangers.

Gallacher [34] led the line in most games. McDonald [30] and McCurley [26] shared inside-left duties and Lang [39] replaced Seymour as the regular on the outside.

Player Picks

© Hutch

Despite not always being at his best, Gallagher topped the goal scoring chart again with 24 goals in 34 games. Lang, Chalmers and Boyd were also reasonably regular scorers.

However, after last season's misdemeanours, Gallacher was stripped of the captaincy. Harris reluctantly took over with Hill replacing him after his signing.

Andy Cunningham became (and still is) United's oldest debutant at 38-years-old.

In the home match against Leeds, United fielded ten Scots and a Welshman.

Appearances by County


The average attendance recovered from last season's drop; 33,014 making them the second best supported team behind Aston Villa.

The Tyne Wear derby attracted the biggest crowd of any League game that season, with 66,275 cramming into St James'.

Two spectators ran onto the pitch towards the end of the home game with Leeds; one of them tries to prove the referee wrong and the other appeared to have lost his head completely.

Beautifully coloured portraits of leading football stars given away free by Topical Times, the loading sporting weekly. Hugh Gallacher was one of the six players featured. Each picture was reproduced on art paper, and it was claimed that no finer football supplement had ever been offered.

Strange but Toon

Although Jimmy Boyd had retired from professional football and left the club he found himself serving a suspension becausehe had refused to play in the match.

When gale force winds hit Britain the roof was blown off the pavillion.

In December Stan Seymour gave a talk - entitled "Taking your Chance" at a special service for sportsmen at Wesley Hall in Sheffield, during which he talked about barracking from supporters. He wished they would show "better spirit" but accepted they have paid their shilling and had a right to express their views. He went on to raise a laugh when he mused that "it is a pity that community singing died out, because it meant a lot of people were tired out before the game started".

Being Hughie


Tired of the rough treatment he was receiving during the home game with Burnley Gallacher started to walk off the pitch and had to be persuaded to return by trainer McPherson.

Upset the official in the match at Goodison Park by repeatedly refusing to kick the ball forward from the kick off.

Involved in a court battle with his wife over maintenance payments.

Received a reprimand for his conduct following his behaviour during the match at Leicester in February. He made a remark, rather strongly phrased, to an opposing player which was unfortunately overheard by the referee.

Police intervention required when he got involved in verbals with the home fans at Villa Park.


Hughie Gallacher picture by Hutch

Cigarette cards from Doing the 92

Kit illustration from Historical Football Kits

Newspapers from Newcastle Central Library Local Studies

Newspapers from British Newspapers Archive

Plus various books.

1920/21 1921/22 1922/23 1923/24 1924/25 1925/26 1926/27 1927/28 1929/30