NUFC 1958/59 - Season Summary


Diary Squad
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits
and reproduced by kind permission.
1898/99

No new signings during the summer but Mitten made an immediate impact with his "revolutionary" training techniques (gymnastics and highland dancing) and his idea for a new "continental" strip.

Mitten's first game in charge was a disaster - a 1-5 reverse at home to Blackburn - but things thankfully improved and the 11th place finish was a welcome relief from previous campaigns.

It was far from mid-table mediocrity with many high-scoring games including a 5-6 defeat at Stamford Bridge and a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.

The fans liked what they were seeing and the average crowd rose to 40,280 (the best for four years)

Interest in the FA Cup was short-lived as United were beaten 4-1 at SJP by Chelsea.

The battle between Mckeag and Seymour went into overdrive once again and at one stage McKeag offered to resign if Seymour followed suit; they both stayed. Incensed by the internal bickering a group of shareholders established a pressure group to try and get representation on the board.

Wales' golden boy Ivor Allchurch was signed but Mitten was often frustrated in the transfer market because any purchase had to be sanctioned by the whole board. As a result they missed out on Mel Charles; the first of many deals scuppered by the infighting.

The media talked of "Mittens Marvels" and McKeag wanted to reward him with a four year contract. But Seymour and his allies only wanted to give him 12 months. It took an interjection from Leeds, who wanted him to takeover at Elland Road, to force the directors to sanction a three-year contract.


Chairman W McKeag
Manager C Mitten
Coach N Smith
Captain B Stokoe, J Scoular
Top Scorer L White (25)
Ave Lge att 39,482

Competitions


League Division 1

H Blackburn L 1 - 5
A Blackpool L 0 - 3
A Everton W 2 - 0
H Blackpool W 1 - 0
A Tottenham W 3 - 1
A Chelsea L 5 - 6
H Manchester Utd D 1 - 1
H Chelsea L 1 - 2
A Wolves W 3 - 1
H Portsmouth W 2 - 0
A Aston Villa L 1 - 2
H Leicester W 3 - 1
A Preston W 4 - 3
H Man City W 4 - 1
A Arsenal L 2 - 3
H Luton W 1 - 0
A Birmingham L 0 - 1
H WBA L 1 - 2
A Leeds Utd L 2 - 3
H Burnley W 5 - 2
A Bolton D 1 - 1
A Blackburn L 0 - 3
H Nottm F L 1 - 3
A Nottm F L 0 - 3
H Everton W 4 - 0
H Tottenham L 1 - 2
A Manchester Utd D 4 - 4
H Wolves L 3 - 4
H Aston Villa W 1 - 0
A Leicester W 1 - 0
H Preston L 1 - 2
A Portsmouth W 5 - 1
A Man City L 1 - 5
H Arsenal W 1 - 0
A WHU L 0 - 3
A Luton L 2 - 4
H WHU W 3 - 1
A WBA D 2 - 2
H Leeds Utd D 2 - 2
H Bolton W 2 - 0
A Burnley D 2 - 2
H Birmingham D 1 - 1
Wolves3-43-1
Man. Utd.1-14-4
Arsenal1-02-3
Bolton2-01-1
West Brom.1-22-2
West Ham3-10-3
Burnley5-22-2
Blackpool1-00-3
Birmingham1-10-1
Blackburn1-50-3
Newcastle
Preston1-24-3
Nottm. F.1-30-3
Chelsea1-25-6
Leeds2-22-3
Everton4-02-0
Luton2-02-4
Tottenham1-23-1
Leicester3-11-0
Man. City4-11-5
A. Villa1-00-2
Portsmouth2-05-1

Mitten's first game in charge was a disaster - a 1-5 reverse at home to Blackburn - but things thankfully improved and the 11th place finish was a welcome relief from previous campaigns.

It was far from mid-table mediocrity with United adopting an open, attacking style which resulted in many high-scoring games including a 5-6 defeat at Stamford Bridge and a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.

After a mixed start United started playing with more confidence and gained some notable victories; particularly at Wolves and Preston. With Allchurch added there was even ttalk of United being genuine title contenders.

However a run of 6 defeats in 8 games between mid-November and the end of December saw Newcastle tumble down the table and they never really got into a consistent run of form after that.

Embed from Getty Images

FA Cup

H Chelsea L 4 - 0

R3: United succumbed to a brilliant counter-attacking display from Chelsea. Seymour accused McKeag with intefering with the tactics precipitating another slanging match in the press.


Management

G Martin - © Tommy Canning

Charlie Mitten became United's first manager since the ill-fated reign of Duggie Livingstone had been brought to a premature end almost 3 years ago. He was given a 14? month contract and challenged to prove himself.

Mitten made an immediate impact with his new training schedule which involved more work with the ball and on tactics along with gymnastics and even highland dancing.

He also brought in a new "continental style" strip and persuaded the Board to fly to some away games.

Mitten set about revamping the youth set-up and brought in a number of youngsters including his son.

United's attacking approach brought back the fans and secured a comfortable 11th place which was a significant improvement on the last two campaigns.

The media talked of "Mittens Marvels" and McKeag wanted to reward him with a four year contract. But Seymour and his allies only wanted to give him 12 months. It took an interjection from Leeds, who wanted him to takeover at Elland Road, to force the directors to sanction a three-year contract.

Mitten's position was constantly undermined from within the Boardroom where McKeag (the current Chairman) and Seymour continued their power battles.

The disagreements were kept behind closed doors for a while but the FA Cup defeat at home to Chelsea prompted another "war of words" which was played out in full public view through the press.

At one stage McKeag offered to resign if Seymour followed suit; they both stayed. Incensed by the internal bickering a group of shareholders established a pressure group to try and get representation on the board.


Players


Into Toon

Name Date From Fee
J McGuigan 06 / 1958 Southend £2,250 + Punton
B Wright 07 / 1958 Leicester £7,500
B Harvey 08 / 1958 Wisbech T. £3,000
J Mitten 09 / 1958 Mansfield £0
I Allchurch 10 / 1958 Swansea £28,000
T Marshall 12 / 1958 Wisbech T. £7,000
J Gibson 01 / 1959 Linfield £6,000
J Ryan 03 / 1959 Charlton exchange
I Allchurch

United splashed out on signing "the golden boy" of Welsh football, Ivor Allchurch. They were also in with a strong bid for his compatriot Mel Charles but the schisms within the Board scuppered this deal.

Mitten was determined to overhaul the youth set-up and signed a lot of young players including his own son John.

He was also not afraid to dip into the lower leagues with Brian Harvey and Terry Marshall arriving from Wisbech Town.


Outta Toon

Name Date To Fee
B Punton 06 / 1958 Southend exchange
T Casey 06 / 1958 Portsmouth £8,500
B Paterson 07 / 1958 Rangers £3,500
R Davies 10 / 1958 Swansea exchange
A Bottom 01 / 1959 Chesterfield £5,000
R Evans 03 / 1959 Charlton exchange
R Davies
© Soccer Attic

Mitten was looking to reduce the average age of his squad and - as a result - some long serving players departed.

Tommy Casey joined in August 1952 and had played a vital role in helping Northern Ireland reach the World Cup quarter-finals during the summer.

Reg Davies had been at United for n seasons and was disappointed to leave, but United needed him as a makeweight in the deal that brought Allchurch to TYneside.

In contrast, Arthur Bottom had only been at the club 9 months, but had an excellent scoring ratio of 10 goals in 11 appearances.


Squad

Player AG
Allchurch I 27 16
Bell J 24 1
Bottom A 3 3
Curry B 10 10
Davies R 9 2
Eastham G 36 7
Evans R 4
Ferguson B 1
Franks A 30 2
Gibson J 1
Hale K 5
Harvey B 32
Hughes G 29 1
Keith D 33 1
Marshall T 2
McGuigan J 22 5
McKinney B 3
McMichael A 40
Mitchell B 16
Mitchell S 11
Mitten J 2
Scott M 16
Scoular J 33
Stokoe B 23
Taylor H 17 4
White L 31 25
Whitehead B 7
Wilson C 1
Wright B 5 3
Own goals 1

Team

Goalkeepers

Ronnie Simpson was injured during the summer so Mitchell was installed as Number 1. A shaky start to the season saw him replaced by new signing Brian Harvey.

Backs

Irish Internationals Keith and McMichael continued their partnership at the back.

Half Backs

Scoular (despite niggling injuries) was the usual right-half. Stokoe continued at centre-half until he was put out of the side due to an injury picked up in a PT session. Bell was preferred to Franks on the left but also suffered a long-term injury. Scott and FRanks provided the cover.

Attackers

Hughes was the regular outside-right until February when Taylor took over. Eastham and Allchurch tended to share both inside-forward positions. White took the centre position again with Curry deputising admirably in the last couple of months. Outside-left proved to be the problem position; new signing McGuigan played in half the games but eight other players were used.

Player Picks

L White - © Hutch

White was top scorer again with an excellent return of 25 goals from 31 games. His deputy Curry was in fine form too and scored 10 times in 10 games. Allchurch weighed in with 16.

White's form led to him being selected for the Football League side and he scored an eight-minute hat-trick. Many believed he should be rewarded with an international cap but he was never selected.


Fans



Resources


Len White illustration by Hutch

Charlie Mitten illustration by Tommy Canning

Reg Davies picture from Football Monthly courtesy of illustration by Soccer Attic

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.