NUFC 1968/69 - Season Summary

Diary Squad
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits
reproduced by kind permission.

Newcastle confounded both their critics and their supporters by beating a number of crack foreign sides to with the Fairs Cup; it was a remarkable triumph.

Unfortunately the semi-final saw major trouble with Rangers' fans bringing the game to a halt.

The European exploits certainly impacted their domestic form and after only one win in the first twelve matches united were 20th. After that their home form was excellent (11-3-0) and the Magpies finished the season in 8th.

In the FA Cup they lost to Manchester City after a replay; Southampton coasted to victory in the League Cup.

With relationships between the club and the council deteriorating United obtained planning permission for building a new stadium in Gosforth.

Chairman L Westwood
Manager J Harvey
Coach D Smith
Captain B Moncur
Top Scorer B Robson (30)


League Division 1

H WHU D 1 - 1
A Sheff Wed D 1 - 1
A Burnley L 0 - 1
H Chelsea W 3 - 2
H Everton D 0 - 0
H Nottm F D 1 - 1
A Sunderland D 1 - 1
A Coventry L 1 - 2
H WBA L 2 - 3
A Manchester Utd L 1 - 3
H Tottenham D 2 - 2
H Leeds Utd L 0 - 1
A Nottm F W 4 - 2
A Ipswich W 4 - 1
H QPR W 3 - 2
A Liverpool L 1 - 2
H Leicester D 0 - 0
A Arsenal D 0 - 0
H Man City W 1 - 0
A Wolves L 0 - 5
H Southampton W 4 - 1
A Stoke L 0 - 1
H Ipswich W 2 - 1
A QPR D 1 - 1
A Leeds Utd L 1 - 2
A Leicester L 1 - 2
H Arsenal W 2 - 1
A Southampton D 0 - 0
A WHU L 1 - 3
H Burnley W 1 - 0
H Sunderland D 1 - 1
H Coventry W 2 - 0
A Tottenham W 1 - 0
A Chelsea D 1 - 1
H Sheff Wed W 3 - 2
H Manchester Utd W 2 - 0
A Everton D 1 - 1
A WBA L 1 - 5
H Wolves W 4 - 1
H Stoke W 5 - 0
A Man City L 0 - 1
H Liverpool D 1 - 1
Leeds United 0-1 1-2
Liverpool 1-1 1-2
Everton 0-0 1-1
Arsenal 2-1 0-0
Chelsea 3-2 1-1
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 1-0
Southampton 4-1 0-0
West Ham United 1-1 1-3
Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion 2-3 1-5
Manchester United 2-0 1-3
Ipswich Town 2-1 4-1
Manchester City 1-0 0-1
Burnley 1-0 0-1
Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 1-1
Wolverhampton W. 4-1 0-5
Sunderland 1-1 1-1
Nottingham Forest 1-1 4-2
Stoke City 5-0 0-1
Coventry City 2-0 1-2
Leicester City 0-0 1-2
Queens Park Rangers 3-2 1-1

An overall W-D-L record of 15-14-13 resulted in a ninth placed finish. United were very much reliant on their home form which improved as the season wore on.

Away form was poor and particularly disappointing against the teams in the bottom half of the table; their record against the top six was better than the record against the bottom six.

Captain Moncur was injured in pre-season and United made a bad start which only brought one win in the first twelve matches and 20th position by the start of October.

Moncur returned and United recorded three wins in succession (including two away from home) which lifted them to 12th. But although The Magpies started winning games at home they struggled away from Tyneside and remained stuck in mid-table until Christmas.

ln the New Year the same pattern continued. United were very impressive at home - where they only dropped two points - but away from home they only won one more game; a surprise victory at high-riding Tottenham.

Fairs Cup

H Feyenoord W 4 - 0
A Feyenoord L 0 - 2
A Sporting Lisboa D 1 - 1
H Sporting Lisboa W 1 - 0
A Real Zaragoza L 2 - 3
H Real Zaragoza W 2 - 1
H Vitoria Setubal W 5 - 1
A Vitoria Setubal L 1 - 3
A Rangers D 0 - 0
H Rangers W 2 - 0
H Ujpest Dosza W 3 - 0
A Ujpest Dosza W 3 - 2
From CBSM Aug 69
© Soccer Attic Buy mag

R1: At SJP United gave a fantastic display of attacking football in which they showed that they were not just hard-workers as they destroyed the Dutchmen with their pace and speed of thought. Naivety in conceding possession nearly cost them in the away leg but some desperate defending saw them through.

R2: United put in a wonderfully disciplined performance to return from Lisbon on equal terms. The Magpies make an electrifying start in the second leg and score with a brilliantly executed free-kick routine which is enough to take them through.

R3: United suffer their first Fairs Cup defeat against their best opponents yet, but Harvey is satisfied with the narrow defeat and two away goals. A tight, but deserved victory at St. James' takes United through on the away goals rule.

QF: Setubal struggle to adapt to the wintry conditions and never look up for the fight. After the game manager Vaz accuses United of being "killers". With time running out in Portugal the home side become increasingly desperate and their behaviour became more and more brutal. Moncur calls Setubal "a disgrace to soccer".

SF: At Ibrox it is a close, tense affair with very few clear cut chances and is far from a classic. United's defence are nothing short of heroic and 'keeper McFaul saves a penalty. Newcastle make it through to the final despite the worst efforts of the Rangers fans who try to get the second-leg abandoned.

F: Ujpest Dozsa's players make up over half of the classy Hungarian national team and they have just completed their domestic double. On Tyneside United struggle to get their game together until a Moncur double sets them on their way. In the return the Hungarians lead 2-0 at the break but at half-time Harvey prophetically tells the players; score once and they will crumble.

FA Cup

H Reading W 4 - 0
H Man City D 0 - 0
A Man City L 0 - 2

R3: A comfortable home victory over 3rd Division Reading (managed by former player Roy Bentley).

R4: Man City are unlucky to hit the woodwork twice at St James' and deservedly win the replay at Maine Road.

League Cup

A Southport W 2 - 0
A Southampton L 1 - 4

R2: A relatively comfortable victory at Third Division Southport.

R3: An understength Magpie side are disptched easily by at The Dell


Joe Harvey - © Tommy Canning

The Fairs Cup run brought hitherto unheard of financial gains. Total income reached nearly a quarter of a million, net income was over £44,000 and 1969/70 season tickets sold out immediately.

It was to be Joe Harvey's greatest hour as Newcastle manager and he was deservedly rewarded with a new 5-year contract and a £6,000 "thank you" payment.

He scouted the opposition before each round and allegedly compiled extensive dossiers. However Frank Clark would later deny all knowledge of such assiduous planning and mischievously suggested the only reports would have been on the local hostelries.

lt was a long hard road for Harvey who smoked his way through the rounds whilst also having to keep a number of unsettled players happy.

Coach Dave Smith got a wage rise and a £1,000 bonus.

Harvey was also brave enough to give a number of youngsters a chance and he was repaid with some excellent performances from the likes of Dyson, Foggon and Craggs.

The success of the youngsters drafted in also reflected well on reserve team coach Keith Burkinshaw

St James'

The row between the club and the council continued unabated with United actually applying for planning permission to build a new stadium at Gosforth Park whilst the council continued to pursue their plans to turn St James' into a multi-sports complex which would be shared by the club and the University.

Such was the stand-off that Denis Howell- the Minister of Sport - was asked to intervene and he appointed a working committee led by Lord Longsdale. But despite some signs of progress the matter remained unresolved.


Toon In

Surname Date From Fee
Dyson Keith 08 / 1968 Internal £0
Gibb Tommy 08 / 1968 Partick Thistle £45,000
Hindson Gordon 08 / 1968 Internal £0
Burleigh Martin 10 / 1968 Willington Ath £0
Horsfield Arthur 01 / 1969 Middlesbrough £17,500
Arentoft Preben 02 / 1969 Morton £18,000
Hope John 03 / 1969 Darlington £8,000
B Arentoft
© FKS Publishers

Harvey struggled to find value for money in the English market and his two main signings came from Scotland.

Hard working midfielder Tommy Gibb was brought in as a squad player but soon established himself in the side.

Danish international Preben Arentoft was another midfielder with an impressive work ethic. English clubs were banned from signing foreign players unless they had been resident in the UK for at least two years and planned to settle in the country. As Arentoft had joined Morton in 1965 and had married a native the deal was officially sanctioned.

Toon Out

Name Date To Fee
Marshall Gordon 10 / 1968 Nottm Forest £17,500
Robson Thomas 10 / 1968 Peterborough £20,000
Iley James 01 / 1969 Peterborough
Bennett Albert 02 / 1969 Norwich City £25,000
Horsfield Arthur 05 / 1969 Swindon £17,000
Football Monthly Nov 68
© Soccer Attic Buy mag

Harvey dispensed with a number of players who had been regulars during the previous season as he sought to give youth a chance.

Marshall had lost his place to McFaul and Bennett's injury problems had given Pop Robson the chance to takeover as Davies' strike partner.

Tommy Robson lost his place to Geoff Allen on the left-wing and Jim Iley left to pursue has managerial aspirations but remain a player at Peterborough.


Player AS G
Allen, G 14 0 1
Arentoft, B 14 0 3
Bennett, A 3 1
Burton, O 49 1 1
Clark, F 54 0
Craggs, J 20 0
Craig, D 38 0 1
Davies, W 52 0 15
Duffy, A 1 0
Dyson, K 21 1 6
Elliott, D 19 2
Foggon, A 27 7 7
Gibb, T 58 0 7
Guthrie, R 6 1
Hindson, G 2 0
Hope, J 1 0
Horsfield, A 8 2 3
Iley, J 2 5
McFaul, I 58 0
McNamee, J 27 2 3
Moncur, B 43 0 3
Robson, B 59 0 30
Robson, T 3 1
Ross, E 2 0
Scott, J 40 2 7
Sinclair, J 25 4 5
Winstanley, G 3 1



Harvey suprised everyone by making McFaul his Number 1 at the start of the season. He missed only one game and impressed everone with his agility and bravery.


David Craig took over from Burton at right-back and partnered Frank Clark. John Craggs also played a number of matches at right-back. New captain Moncur was partnered by either McNamee or Burton.


New signing Tommy Gibb was the only consistently used midfielder, Arentoft became a regular after he was signed. Elliot played in a third of the games and the midfield slots were often filled by wingers being asked to play a bit deeper.


Pop Robson spent most of 1967/68 in the reserves but he was the only ever-present (with a record-breaking 59 appearances) and became the first United player to score 30 goals in a season for seventeen years. He was a perfect foil for Davies who terrorised the continental sides. Nobody really established themselves on the flanks with Scott, Foggon, Sinclair, Dyson and Allen all getting a number of games.

Player Picks

Bobby Moncur
Football Monthly Aug 1969
© Soccer Attic Buy mag
Pop Robson
Football Monthly Aug 1969
© Soccer Attic Buy mag

United players received four figure bonuses for their Fairs Cup success, but they certainly had to work for their money. Pop Robson McFaul, Gibb, Davies and Clark all notched over 50 games.

This was supplemented by cash from the "player's pool" which was boosted by the additional media and advertising income that their new found celebrity status brought with it.


Embed from Getty Images

The minimum admission price rose to five shillings as a result of the March 1968 budget and this partly explained the half million drop in spectators with the afterglow of 1966 starting to wear off.

Newcastle's League average fell by 3,525 to 33,714 but the total average (taking into account the Fairs Cup games) was 39,296.

Entry to the Fairs Cup combined with cheaper air prices made Euro support a reality for the first time for the most loyal fans.

Travel deals were offered by both the Supporters club and the Development Association (in conjunction with the Evening Chronicle).

The Supporters Clubs provided packages for all the away ties, although the New Year's Day Zaragoza trip had to be cancelled due to a lack of demand.

The Supporters Club lost both their Saturday sales outlet (the club's gym) and the club headquarters (Working Men's Club). Sales were made from Strawberry Lane and the Bridge Hotel Pub became the new meeting place.

The number of outbreaks of hooliganism continued to escalate and there was major trouble when Man City played on Tyneside in January. Four arrests were made and 70 people were injured (including 7 who required hospital treatment). Most of the others were young fans who were crushed against the barriers or fainted in the near capacity 57,994 crowd.

Bottles were thrown on the terraces and a fight broke out at The Magpie pub opposite the ground.

There were more than 100 police at the game and it was generally agreed that the crowd was reasonably well behaved.

But the worst ever violence thus far witnessed at a British football match occurred at St James' Park in June when Rangers arrived for the Fairs Cup semi-final second leg.

Undeterred by trouble caused by other supporters the Supporters Club also arranged a "soccer special" railway coach for some of the games in London. The 64 seater carriage was (judiciously) attached to the rear of the 7.50 am train to Kings Cross.

Tickets sold out and it was suggested that plans were afoot to use two coaches in the following season.

The songs and chants aired at grounds across the country were becoming a darker shade of blue and the Leazes Enders were no exception.

The club issued a plea in the Everton home programme: "sing by all means but keep it clean" but their concerns fell on deaf ears.

The Sunday Sun went on the offensive after the home match with Real Zaragoza and launched a campaign against the lavatory language now regularly heard on the terraces.

The game had the well-established "Oh my darling clementine" chant which suggested the referee was born out of wedlock as well as a bespoke chant for the visiting Spaniards who were given a "luridly descriptive recommendation for a place for their Spanish onions".

The Miss Magpie Finals were held at a Gala Ball at the Mayfair Ballroom on 25th July 1969.

Strange but Toon

When the United party returned to their hotel after the game at Zaragosa they were challenged by a couple of gun wielding coppers. They were on the lookout for a couple of English fugitives called Smith and Scott and they believed that coach Dave Smith and winger Jim Scott were their men. The confusion was eventually sorted, although it was galling for a couple of Scots to be mistaken for Sassenachs.

Club officials from Sporting Lisbon watched the match at Arsenal and Joe Harvey was approached by two Portuguese embassy staff who asked for - and were granted - permission to talk to the United players in their dressing-room and also quiz Harvey on his team selection.

Pop Robson described the away match against Victoria Setubal as like playing on the "Town Moor during The Hoppings". There were bands galore, men walking around on stilts wearing oversized masks and a flag waving bugle playing motorcyclist.


Joe Harvey illustration by Tommy Canning

Football Monthly images courtesy of Soccer Attic

Kit illustration from Historical Football Kits

Newspapers from Newcastle Central Library Local Studies

Newspapers from British Newspapers Archive

Plus various books.

1960s Seasons

1960/61 1961/62 1962/63 1963/64 1964/65 1965/66 1966/67 1967/68 1968/69 1969/70