NUFC 1975/76- Season Summary
NUFC 1975/76 Squad
|Division 1||15th||Manager||G Lee|
|FA Cup||QF||Coach||R Dinnis|
|League Cup||Final||Captain||G Nulty|
|Top Scorer||A Gowling (30)|
Fans had been hoping for a big name manager but were left deflated when United announced the arrival of Blackburn Rovers manager Gordon Lee. The Lancastrians were equally unimpressed accusing United of "poaching" which was something of an embarassment for United Chairman and Football League Secretary Lord Westwood.
Lee was certainly his own man and he made it clear that he valued workrate as much as ability, that his team would adopt a more cautious possession style and that the League was far more important than "tin-pot" Cups. The season did not quite work out like that.
In the League United finished 15th for the third season running with a goals per game ratio higher than in any season since they'd been promoted.
The Magpies reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup and the Final of the League Cup. They were once again beaten at Wembley, but this time the team - ravaged by illness and injury - put in a brave performance.
Lee controversially left Hibbitt in Derby to arrange a transfer to Birmingham, but the main backdrop to the season was the deteriorating relationship between Lee and Macdonald.
The fans didn't seem to know how to react; delighted with the Cup runs but increasingly antagonistic when things did not go so well. The 1974 hangover was proving hard to shake off, although the average attendance did rise slightly.
League Division 1
Gordon Lee was looking for more consistency from the side, but United never won more than one game in a row all season and for the third successive year they ended up in 15th.
A thrilling opening day victory at Ipswich offered hope but their next 8 away games only yielded 1 point and the Magpies were in 12th at the turn of the year. During December and January there were signs of improvement as Newcastle rose to 9th culminating in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Derby.
But the fatigue and injuries caused by extended runs in both Cups resulted in a downturn in form and the seemingly perennial late season slump.
R3 - United travelled to Loftus Road for a third time this season; an excellent defensive display including three outstanding saves from Mahoney secured a replay.
R3r - A Tommy Craig penalty won the game, but Lee's tactics angered the crowd
R4 - The fatigued Magpies were under the cosh for long periods but defended bravely.
R4r - Newcastle's "tin pot" odyssey continued on two fronts after Macdonald inspired them to a 5-0 thrashing.
R5 - An entertaining draw which included two Supermac specials; the second a fantastic over the shoulder dipping volley from wide on the left.
R5r - Tyneside's biggest crowd of the season were left frustrated by a goalless draw in which both sides struck wood.
R5r2 - Five days before the League Cup Final United adopted a successful counter-attacking game to conserve energy.
QF -Newcastle's patched up side were well short but the 12,000 fans who travelled were understanding of the circumstances and gave the team a great reception.
R2 - Fourth Division Southport gave up home advantage in search of a bigger payday, Gowling scored four as United strolled home.
R3 - Rovers took an early lead and did most of the attacking. They are unlucky to have another effort disallowed and Gowling scored with 15 minutes left.
R3r -United make hard work of seeing off Second Division Rovers.
R4 - A magnificent Tommy Craig performance as United recorded a deserved victory.
QF - The County keeper fumbles a Macdonald throw for the only goal, but the visiting Magpies are unlucky not to equalise as throw everything at United in the last 20 minutes.
SF L1 - The "save of the season" from Pat Jennings denied United a draw in a tight game.
SF L2 - Gowling gave United an early lead and when Nulty made it 3-0 just after the hour it looked like game-over. But Spurs pulled one back leaving the tie in the balance until the end.
Fin - United were hit by injury and illness and gave a decent account of themselves in a game won by a spectacular overhead kick from Dennis Tueart.
Total number of games: 58
Total number of players used: 25
01: (3) Mahoney
02: (2) Nattrass
03: (1) Kennedy
04: (5) Nulty > Barrowclough
05: (5) Bird or Craig D
06: (3) Howard
07: (3) Burns
08: (8) Barrowclough or Cassidy
09: (3) Macdonald
10: (2) Gowling
11: Craig T
|Robinson Stuart||11/75||Murton Colliery|
|Jones Roger||03/76||Blackburn Rovers||£50,000|
|Oates Graham||03/76||Blackburn Rovers||Joint Deal|
Gordon Lee assured the squad that he wasn't looking at a drastic overhaul and he was true to his word; he signed four, all from the lower leagues.
He brought in former Manchester United attacker Alan Gowling who was currently at Fourth Division Huddersfield and Preston centre-half and captain John Bird followed soon after. It was a move which so angered Preston boss Bobby Charlton that he resigned.
Later in the season Lee returned to his former club to bring in goalkeeper Roger Jones and utility man Graham Oates.
|Laughton Dennis||06/75||Retired (inj)|
Two of the last remaining players of the Fairs Cup winning side departed in Tommy Gibb and Iam McFaul, although the latter retired and took up a coaching role.
Terry Hibbitt's move to Birmingham was a shoddy business with Lee telling him after the match at Derby that Freddie Goodwin (the Birmingham manager) was waiting to speak to him and then ordering the team coach to leave without him.
Alex Bruce's unhappy stay on Tyneside came to an end as he was used in the exchange deal that brought Bird from Preston.
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