NUFC 1971/72 - Season Summary
NUFC Squad 1971/72
|Division 1||11th||Manager||J Harvey|
|FA Cup||R3||Coach||K Burkinshaw|
|League Cup||R3||Captain||B Moncur|
|Texaco Cup||SF||Top Scorer||M Macdonald (30)|
It was to be the dawn of a new era. The ground redevelopment finally started with the demolishment of the Popular Enclosure on the Leazes Terrace side and new coach Keith Burkinshaw promised a more open and entertaining style. They had a new sharp-shooter up front (Macdonald) and a new man to supply the bullets (Hibbitt).
But despite a dramatic and exhilarating home debut for Macdonald the season started badly with key men out injured and the players struggling to adapt to their new style. The Macdonald - Tudor partnership was taking time to gel and by the end of October the Magpies had slumped to the bottom of the table.
Harvey's innate ability to make a transformational signing again came to the fore. He had worked long and hard to try and secure Blackpool schemer Tony Green during the summer but the deal fell through; however he knew he was the man to provide the missing link. The little Scot was truly inspirational and with the injury situation also clearing up United were soon safely ensconsed in mid-table.
However, even with all this new and exciting talent on show, the Magpies infamously lost to Hereford in the FA Cup.
Newcastle played in the much-maligned Texaco Cup for the first time and reached the semi-finals.
League Division 1
United made a terrible start to the season and by the end of October they had slumped to the bottom of the table. They had failed to score in half their games and although a glut of defensive injuries did not help United seemed to be struggling to adapt to their new attacking style.
The injuries started to clear up, Harvey signed Pat Howard and (most importantly) Tony Green. There was a remarkable change in fortunes and up until mid-March a record of 10-4-3 saw the Magpies nestled safely in 11th place.
Despite trying to be more attacking they only scored 5 more goals and conceded 6 more. There were some excellent home performances and United beat four of the top six sides on Tyneside (which was better than their record against the bottom six).
Away from home they had a couple of notable victories at Old Trafford and against Champions Derby. It was the only home defeat that The Rams suffered all season.
|FAC||24/1/72||H||Hereford Utd||D||2 - 2|
|FAC||05/2/72||A||Hereford Utd||L||1 - 2|
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R3: Newcastle 2 Hereford 2 - The Southern League side Hereford stunned the home crowd by taking the lead within seventeen seconds and although The Magpies fought back to go 2-1 up they then conceded a 30-yard equaliser from player-manager Colin Addison.
R3r: Hereford 2 Newcastle 1 (aet) - United missed a host of chances before Macdonald seemed to save them with only eight minutes left on the clock. But Hereford were level within three minutes and in extra-time Ronnie Radford hit a thirty-yard screamer into the top of McFaul’s goal. Hereford were the first non-league club to defeat a First Division side since Yeovil Town's 2-1 win over Sunderland in 1949.
|R2||08/9/71||H||Halifax||W||2 - 1|
|R3||06/10/71||A||Arsenal||L||0 - 4|
R2: Newcastle 2 Halifax 1 - United narrowly beat Third Division Halifax; it was only United's fourth victory in the competition in the twelve years of its existence.
R3: Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 - United's makeshift defence held out for 50 minutes and then collapsed.
|R1 L1||15/09/71||A||Hearts||L||0 - 1|
|R1 L2||28/09/71||H||Hearts||W||1 - 0|
|R2 L1||20/10/71||A||Coventry||D||1 - 1|
|R2 L2||03/11/71||A||Coventry||D||1 - 1|
|SF L1||24/11/71||A||Derby||D||0 - 1|
|SF L2||08/12/71||A||Derby||D||2 - 3|
R1 L1: Hearts 1 Newcastle 0 - The new code of conduct applied to England only and United’s players found it difficult to adjust back to the "old world".
R1 L2: Newcastle 1 Hearts 0 (agg 1-1 won 4-3 on pens) - Malcolm Macdonald equalised the aggregate score five minutes from time and the Magpies went on to win on penalties.
R2 L1: Coventry 1 Newcastle 1 - Howard scored his first goal and the Magpies were unlucky not to win as Macdonald hit the bar twice and Guthrie had a goal disallowed.
R2 L2: Newcastle 5 Coventry 1 (agg 6-2) - Green was the inspiration for an excellent all-round team performance.
SF L1: Derby 1 Newcastle 0 - A narrow defeat in the first-leg at the Baseball Ground.
TC SF L2: Newcastle 2 Derby 3 (aet - agg 2-4) - Goals from Macdonald and Barrowclough took the Semi-Final into extra-time, but County scored twice to reach the Final.
Harvey replaced departed coach Dave Smith with reserve team coach Keith Burkinshaw. It was a popular choice amongst the payers even though he worked them very hard. "He is well respected in the club by all the lads" - said Frank Clark - "he cracks the whip; he's hard but honest". Tudor also "complained" of having "blisters on his blisters" during pre-season training.
But Burkinshaw was not just a hard task master he was also a workaholic and he would often be found doing extra hours on the training ground to help players (such as Moncur and Smith) back to fitness or just to support players (such as John Tudor) who wanted to put in some extra training.
The change in coach also heralded a revamp of United’s style with concentration on defence being replaced by reliance on attack. "We must try to bring back the excitement that has perhaps been missing. That means scoring goals", Burkinshaw said at the start of the season.
Harvey would later say that for him there were two main drivers: the urge to entertain the hard-working crowd and his belief that the so-called "referee's revolution" would allow more skilful players to prosper.
By the end of October Newcastle were bottom of the League and certain sections of the crowd were calling for Harvey to be sacked. But the Yorkshireman was adamant that: "I have never even thought of resigning. I don't intend to resign - that is not my way out. I have been in a tight spot before and got out of it successfully”.
Indeed Harvey had a track record of salvaging apparently lost seasons through clever transfer dealing. This time he simply went back for the man he was convinced would inspire his team, Tony Green. The combination of injuries clearing up and the arrival of the Scot brought about a transformation of fortune and by the end of February United had scraped into the top half of the table.
At the end of the season Harvey declared that United’s target for the next season would be a top 6 place, but in order to achieve his target he needed three more players (to ensure he had seventeen first-class players). He argued that when the injury crisis struck at the start of the season the lack of experienced cover "torpedoed us completely."
He said he was "up to my ears in Green Stamps" as a result of travelling 25,000 miles in his search for new players. His priority target was a striker and he also wanted two defenders although it would depend on who left the club during the summer.
|Coulson William||10/1971||N Shields|
|Green Tony||10/1971||Blackpool||£150,000 (C Exch)|
|Reid Alex||10/1971||Dundee United||Exchange|
In order to succeed Harvey needed players who would fit into the revised blueprint. Malcolm Macdonald had already been signed to score the goals, but Harvey also wanted two midfield providers to supply the bullets.
He secured Hibbitt from Leeds in the summer but had to wait a few months to sign Tony Green. Two Second Division players and a Leeds reserve, but three master strokes in a rapidly inflating market.
|Davies Wyn||08/1971||Man City||£52,000|
|Foggon Alan||08/1971||Cardiff City||£25,000|
|Arentoft Preben||09/1971||Blackburn Rovers||£25,000|
|Mitchell Ian||10/1971||Dundee Utd||Exchange|
|Dyson Keith||11/1971||Blackpool||Cash Exchange|
|Mcnamee John||11/1971||Blackburn Rovers||£15,000|
This was very much a transitional season and a number of players who had played a significant part in United's Fairs Cup success were allowed to leave, most of them reluctantly
Viv Busby arrived on loan from Fulham. The loan system had been introduced four years earlier to help out smaller clubs who could - following the abolition of the maximum wage - no longer afford to retain large squads. But many within the game wanted the system scrapped as they believed it was open to abuse as the option to loan players was available to all clubs whatever their financial standing.
Total Games: 53
Total Goals: 64
Total number of games: 46
Total number of players used: 29
01: (2) McFaul
02: (4) Craig
03: (4) Clark
04: (5) Gibb or Nattrass
05: (4) Burton or Howard
06: (5) Moncur or Howard
07: (8) Barrowclough
08: (4) Tudor > Green
09: (1) Macdonald
10: (7) Young > Tudor
11: (5) Hibbitt
Hey Ref Don't Caution Me
1971/72 was the season of the so called "Referees Revolution". The FA and the Football League wanted to clean-up the game and better protect the skilful players to improve the quality of the football. They instructed referees to enforce the laws of the game to the letter and clubs were issued with notices of what constituted foul play before the start of the season.
The early games saw bookings being handed out at an unprecedented rate, in the first week of the season United's match at White Hart Lane saw seven players booked; including Spurs player Kinnear who picked the ball up for a throw-in just before it had left the pitch.
Bobby Moncur's reaction after the Spurs game was typical "we will be going out there with handbags soon; the referees are turning it into a game for cissies".
Macdonald was capped by Sir Alf during the Home Championships, becoming the first United player to play for England since the fifties.
He controversially pulled out of the England U23 summer tour prompting accusations that it was because he wanted to concentrate on his business interests (his Supermac boutique). Macdonald was adamant that it was a groin strain that prevented him from joining the party.
Get it On - Toon Style
The early seventies was the period when footballers started to mix with film stars, musicians and models. But whereas Chelsea players mixed with the likes of Raquel Welch and Dickie Attenborough, United’s players had to make do with less glamorous "friends".
When Manchester United visited Tyneside George Best was given police protection and body guards after receiving death threats purporting to be from the IRA.
Newcastle's participation in the Texaco Cup added to the strain on the players but Harvey argued that it was "extremely valuable to the players both from the bonus they earn and the valuable experience they get in the games".
Popular no more
With agreement reached with the Council at last it was the end for the 10,000 capacity Popular Enclosure on the Leazes Terrace side of the pitch. The three-sided ground made for a bizarre sight although it did allow for some lucky spectators to watch the match free from the balcony along the Terrace.
This was Phase 1 of the ground improvement plan which was scheduled to take ten years and cost approximately £1 million. The end result would be a uniform fully cantilevered concrete stadium with a capacity of 47,340 (22,140 seated).
Harvey recognised that it "will have some effect on the players," but at least "it means the new stand will be ready for the beginning of the new season". Unfortunately, the economic problems of the time meant that the new stand was not opened until January 1973.
Many British football grounds had not been improved for seasons; SJP was no exception. Clubs had not been willing to put cash into improving their grounds and many were in a dilapidated and unsafe state. Following the Ibrox disaster of the previous season an investigation was commissioned by the Home Secretary.
The Wheatley Report called for much stricter crowd control and for football grounds to be subject to the same safety rules as other places of entertainment such as cinemas and theatres, unfortunately it would be another three years before the Safety at Grounds Act was introduced and even this could not prevent further tragedies.
ln 1970/71 average First Division attendances had fallen to 30,205 - which represented a 5.7% drop on the previous season - and there was much soul-searching within the game about what needed to be done.
The average League attendance at SJP during the season was 32,659 (32,397 including the Cup games) which was almost 3,000 up on 1970/71. The top crowd was for the home game against League leaders Man Utd; 55,603. The lowest crowd of 18,927 was for the penultimate home game against WBA.
When the Magpies struggled early in the season there was dissension among the fans and one local reporter even suggested that they might start boycotting games. But despite the fact that less than 21,000 turned up to see Palace visit St James' the arrival of Green and the transformation in form soon had them flocking back.
The renewed optimism was demonstrated by an end of season Sunday Sun poll of supporter’s views.
When asked if they would rather see attacking football with more risk of defeat rather than defensive football with more chance of success a whopping 79% voted for the attacking option.
50% thought the club wasn't doing enough to attract quality local talent but 64% were "satisfied" with the current squad.
60% thought that United should spend more money on the facilities for fans and players whilst the rest thought it was more important to improve the team. 60% were also happy with the club's expenditure on the ground and the squad during the last 12 months.
During 1971/72 there was a slight improvement in the number of goals scored to 2.5 goals per game, Newcastle's average was 2.51.
Northumberland Police launched a special task force to deal with weekend trouble makers using "mobile" squads ready to go to any trouble spot.
At the match at White Hart Lane, a couple of youngsters fired staples at Newcastle players with a staple gun. Tottenham received a fine of £2000.
During the Texaco Cup match with Hearts, the supporters from Edinburgh engaged in a spot of bottle throwing at the Gallowgate End.
A massive police operation (including 80 uniformed officers, plain clothes detectives, four dogs and four mounted officers) was put in place for the visit of Manchester United in October and this helped prevent any major outbreaks of trouble although there were still 13 arrests and 31 people hurt including half a dozen who needed hospital treatment. They included a Manchester United fan who suffered a broken nose after being hit with an iron bar.
There was more trouble when the blue half of Manchester were in Town. One of the City coaches was attacked by thirty United thugs as it parked in Stanhope St. before the match. One wielded an iron crowbar and five windows were smashed. The driver admitted it was the third time that season his vehicle had been attacked.
Strange But Toon
Supporters could now purchase a mink rosette from the club shop for 75p. The black and white rosettes were made out of real mink and produced at a mink farm in the north of Scotland.
A staff member said "We have always boasted that nothing but the best is good enough for Newcastle fans, now we have Malcolm Macdonald for them to watch on the field and mink rosettes for them to wear. Mink and Mac make a good combination".
1970/71 1971/72 1972/73 1973/74 1974/75 1975/76 1976/77 1977/78 1978/79 1979/80