NUFC 1978/79 - Season Diary

Summary Squad


06/06 - It is announced that Chief Scout Len Richley (who joined in November 1971) has left by mutual consent; a new Chief Scout is to be appointed who is based in the Midlands.

08/06 - In April, Newcastle Council passed a resolution calling for the directors to do everything possible to get the club moving in the right direction and suggesting that a re-organisation of the Board might be beneficial. Russell Cushing's one sentence reply is discussed at a Council meeting with Labour councillor Walter Wilson suggesting that it is about time the club was democratised and that the "faceless men" who run it were "brought to public account". Tory councillor Bob Gray counters that the criticism of the Board is "poppycock" and that the Council had no right to interfere.

10/06 - Middlesbrough have made a written bid for Micky Burns and although it falls slightly short of United's valuation it looks like the deal will go ahead.

14/06 - It is revealed that the Newcastle Supporters Association have held a secret meeting with eight senior players in Eldon Square. They put forward a proposal whereby they would give £10,000 to fifteen senior players if they agreed to stay at the club with a further £50,000 made available to less senior players. The Association - led by businessman Alec Gibson was formed at the end of 1977 and their avowed aim is to change the executive structure at the club (including the resignation of four unnamed directors). They have gained enough support to force an EGM which will take place next month.

23/06 - Football League Secretary Alan Hardaker warns the players that they and the club will face "serious repercussions" if they become involved with any financial inducements offered by the NSA. He says the players could be banned from playing and "it could end with the club being expelled from the Football League".

24/06 - Leeds have an offer of £250,000 for Irving Nattrass rejected; they also want his full-back partner Alan Kennedy.

24/06 - Mick Mahoney keeps goal in a "crazy football marathon" at South Marine Park South Shields as part of an international It's a Knockout contest.

27/06 - Alan Kennedy becomes a free-agent at the end of the month but - after meeting the player - McGarry is "98% hopeful that he will stay". He claims the player is happy with the contract on offer and "his heart is with Newcastle".

27/06 - The NSA announce that they will initiate legal proceedings against the directors of the club this week under section 210 of the Companies Act of 1948. They also send a formal reply to Alan Hardaker asking for a meeting with him and outlining why they are offering the financial payments and why they believe they have every right to do so as they have no connection with the club.

28/06 - McGarry meets with Nattrass (who has been offered a "lucrative" new contract) and tells him "he will have to honour his contract and stay with the club". Nattrass says "I am not very happy with what he had to say".

28/06 - The NSA send a letter to FA Secretary Ted Croker asking for a meeting to discuss the club's "present internal problems".


03/07 - NSA members Malcolm Dix and Colin Boyle file a legal petition against United. The Court hearing has been filed for July 21st. The petition is also delivered to the club's offices. Four directors are named - Westwood, Rutherford, Seymour and Rush - and it calls for an inquiry into the issue of shares and asks how interested parties should register their interest in becoming shareholders.

13/07 - The four named directors meet legal representatives at the County Court and it appears likely that the Court action will not commence for two or three months.

13/07 - United agree a £150,000 fee with QPR for Eire international striker Don Givens. The 28-year-old is going to consider the move. Apparently he is not keen on moving so far North. McGarry has also made enquiries about Spurs striker John Duncan.

18/07 - Irving Nattrass will not be going on the tour of Sweden after breaking his toe; the injury being caused by his wife's horse.

19/07 - United have accepted a bid from Cardiff for Micky Burns and he travels down to Wales to meet club officials.

20/07 - A fifteen-man squad sets off for Sweden. The party includes Alan Kennedy but not Ralph Callachan or Mick Mahoney.

Geoff Nulty
Geoff Nulty

21/07 - Geoff Nulty (29) joins former manager Gordon Lee at Everton for £45,000. Nulty was signed by Joe Harvey in December 1974 and has made 127 appearances scoring 14 goals. Appointed captain by Lee he has been an excellent servant and was sorely missed at the start of last season when he was out injured. The departure of Dinnis and his earlier involvement in the "player power" episode during 1976/77 made his departure inevitable.

21/07 - The EGM forced on the Board by the NSA (to discuss a vote of no-confidence in the Board) takes place at the Airport Hotel Woolsington. Immediately the Board state that none of the resolutions can be discussed because the "whole matter is sub-judice because of impending High Court action". Arguments rage for over an hour before a vote is taken on whether the Court action does prevent discussions taking place. The vote is 650 to 434 in favour of the board. The NSA are furious and Dix accuses them of "running away" from crucial issues. Alec Gibson declares "open war" and says they will now consider taking action against all eight directors. Chairman Rutherford denies they have used a "legal loophole" before his discussions with the press are curtailed by two noisy hecklers.

23/07 - Fr: Trollhattan 1 Newcastle 2 - Kennedy and Bird are on target in the first tour game.

25/07 - Fr: Tidaholm 1 Newcastle 2 - McGhee and Mitchell are the scorers.

26/07 - Fr: Gislaved 0 Newcastle 0

27/07 - The club inform Pendower FC that they cannot support the family of Lee Thompson who died (aged 25) earlier this year.

Martin Gorry
Martin Gorry

28/07 - Left-back Martin Gorry (23) joins Hartlepool on a free transfer. When Gorry was signed from Barnsley in October 1976 he was seen as a player with great promise, but his career has never got off the ground on Tyneside and he made only 1 substitute appearance (in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester City last season). He also had a spell on loan at Stockport during the last campaign.

29/07 - Fr: Oeckeroa 0 Newcastle 2 - Parkinson and McGhee are on target

30/07 - Fr: Saetila 2 Newcastle 3 - Kennedy, Connolly, Walker get the goals.


Micky Burns
Micky Burns

02/08 - Cardiff pay out their record fee of £73,000 for attacker Micky Burns (31) who will become a player coach. Burns has had many ups and downs during his time in the North-East but really came into his own during the 1976-77 season when he had the daunting task of taking over the Number 9 shirt from Macdonald. Made it clear he wanted to leave after Dinnis' sacking; in all Burns made 189 (2) appearances and scored 51 goals.

02/08 - Tottenham have accepted an offer of £150,000 for striker John Duncan and he travels to Tyneside to meet McGarry. He says he wants time to think over the move.

04/08 - Alan Kennedy informs McGarry that he will not be signing a new contract and under the new Freedom of Contract rules he becomes a free agent. When he moves to a new club the fee will be decided by an arbitration panel if a mutually acceptable fee cannot be agreed. John Duncan also turns down the chance to join; all in all, not the best day for the team photo call.

07/08 - Striker Mike Larnach (25) signs for Motherwell in a £75,000 (check) deal. It ends an unhappy 8 months for the Scot since he was signed from Clydebank in December 1977. McGarry allegedly did not see him play before the signing and he failed to find the net in 12 (2) appearances.

07/08 - Fr: Hull 0 Newcastle 0 - Mark McGhee (21) is the only "experienced" striker in the squad for the trip to Hull and McGarry admits "the position's desperate". Nattrass limps off.

10/08 - Fr: Gateshead 0 Newcastle 1 - Ralph Callachan scores the only goal at the Gateshead stadium. Blackley pulls a muscle in his left thigh.

10/08 - Liverpool and Newcastle agree terms for the transfer of Alan Kennedy who flies to Vienna to meet Liverpool officials. Kennedy is going to talk the move over with his family.

11/08 - McGarry states that Everton striker Jim Pearson will join very soon. Bids have also been lodged for Nottingham Forest's Peter Withe and Dutchman Dick Nanninga.

12/08 - Irving Nattrass has settled his differences with the club and is set to sign his new contract.

Alan Kennedy
Alan Kennedy

13/08 - Alan Kennedy (23) moves to Liverpool in a £330,000 deal. He first joined United as a junior in July 1971 and has been the regular left-back for the last three seasons. A hugely popular player his swashbuckling style will be sorely missed; he made 210 (5) appearance and scored 10 goals.

Jim Pearson
Jim Pearson

14 or 18/08 - Striker Jim Pearson (25) completes his move from Everton; the fee is £75,000. He has been at Everton for four years making 121 appearances and scoring 19 goals. The Scot won Scotland Youth and U23 honours.

15/08 - Fr: Arbroath 0 Newcastle 0 - United lack firepower in an even game held to celebrate the Maroons' centenary

Goalkeeper Mick Mahoney is transfer listed at his own request.

16/08 - McGarry makes a bid for Hibernians right-back John Brownlie but whereas he wants a straight swap deal for Ralph Callachan Hibs manager Eddie Turnbull also wants a cash adjustment and the deal flounders.

16/08 - Basil Hayward is appointed as Chief Scout - he used to be at Norwich.

17/08 - Newcastle have agreed terms with Norwich to sign midfielder Colin Suggett who is thinking over the move. It also looks like the Brownlie deal might be back on again.

There is trouble on the terraces as United open their campaign on a hot day in the East End. The Londoners are on top for most of the game and although Barton gives United a shock lead the home side score twice in six minutes to bounce back. Millwall manager Petchey questions their fitness, coach Peter Morris prefers to blame the heat for their lack of staying power. Pitched battles around the stadium cause thousands of pounds’ worth of damage.

D2: Millwall -12,105

Mahoney, Kelly, Barker, Cassidy, Bird, Barton, Walker, Pearson, Mitchell, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Barton - Seasman (2)

Hibbitt is made captain and Pearson and Connolly make their competitive debuts.

44m - Having been under pressure for most of the first half, Hibbitt's cross to the far post is headed back across goal by Pearson and BARTON bravely dives in amongst the boots to head home [1-0].

Half-time: Millwall 0 Newcastle 1

53m - A pinpoint centre by Hamilton is headed in at the far post by SEASMAN [1-1].

59m - A long ball is punted forward from the Millwall back line and as the United defence dithers SEASMAN runs through and scores with a well-placed shot [1-2].


Newcastle seem to lack the energy to get back into the game.

Full-time: Millwall 2 Newcastle 1

Position: 16th

Ray Blackhall
Ray Blackhall

19/08 - Ray Blackhall (21) moves to Sheffield Wednesday for £20,000. He joined United as a junior in March 1972, became a professional in August 1974 and made his debut in March 1975. Used in a number of different positions Blackhall has struggled to establish himself in the side and was often used as a substitute; he made 33 (14) appearances, scoring 2 times.

Colin Suggett
Colin Suggett

20/08 - Midfielder Colin Suggett (29) arrives from Norwich for £60,000 (check). Washington born, he started his career at Sunderland and was a regular scorer against United. He moved to West Brom and then spent 5 years at Norwich where he played over 250 games.

20/08 - A bid for West Brom's Ally Brown is rejected but manager Atkinson could be willing to sell Mick Martin who is also interesting McGarry.

21/08 - Newcastle agree a deal to sign Nottingham Forest centre-forward Peter Withe and McGarry holds lengthy talks with the player. Withe has scored 41 goals in 100 games with Nottingham Forest and was their top scorer last season as Forest won the Championship, but he has fallen out with manager Brian Clough over the personal terms of his contract.

Peter Withe
Peter Withe

22/08 - United break their transfer record to sign centre-forward Peter Withe (27) from Nottingham Forest. It is his fourth club in the last five years. McGarry is delighted: "Withe is strong in the box, brave as a lion and he gets goals". Withe explains that although some might see the move as a backwards step "Newcastle are a very ambitious club and I desperately want to help them get promotion".

John Brownlie
John Brownlie
Ralph Callachan
Ralph Callachan

22/08 - The Brownlie deal finally goes through with Callachan moving in the opposite direction. Right-back Brownlie (26) is a Scottish international and has been at the Edinburgh club for ten years. Callaghan (23) has had a bit of a nightmare 17 months on Tyneside; generally ignored by Dinnis (who had no say in his signing) and then troubled by injury he has only appeared 11 times. McGarry warns the fans not to "look for miracles - with so many new players we need time to settle".

McGarry's words prove prophetic as bumbling, ineffective attacking and blundering defence allows the counter-attacking Hammers to win at a canter.

D2: WHU [7th] - 27,167

Mahoney, Kelly, Barker, Cassidy, Bird, Blackley, Walker, Suggett, Pearson, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Devonshire, Cross, Robson

Colin Suggett makes his debut (replacing Mitchell) and Blackley returns in place of Barton.

06m - DEVONSHIRE scores a brilliant goal as he beats three defenders before clipping a low drive past Mahoney [0-1].

United press hard before half-time and Pearson has a goal disallowed.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 West Ham 1

60m - United are attacking again but Mahoney fails to cut out a half-hit Devonshire cross and CROSS turns it into the net [0-2],

72m - A mix-up between Kelly and Hibbitt allows Holland to nip in and he pushes it through to ROBSON to convert [0-3].

Full-time: Newcastle 0 West Ham 3

Position: 22nd

24/08 - McGarry makes enquiries about Manchester City midfielder Paul Power, but he is quoted a huge £300,000.

Aiden McCaffrey
Aiden McCaffrey

25/08 - Centre-back Aiden McCaffrey - who has been in dispute with the club since his contract expired in June - moves to Derby for £40,000. McCaffrey joined as a junior in 1972 and signed professional terms in January 1975. He made his debut at seventeen and established himself as a regular during the 1976/77 season. He made 68 (3) appearances and scored 5 times.

Withe makes his debut and a first goal for strike partner Jim Pearson is enough for United to record their first win since January 2nd. It is a confident and skilful performance and the final whistle is greeted with raucous cheering. Luton manager David Pleat suggests the fans "willed Newcastle to victory; their encouragement was tremendous".

D2: Luton [8th] - 24,112

Mahoney, Kelly, Barker, Cassiddy, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Pearson

Withe makes his debut with youngster Nigel Walker making way for him.

22m - From a corner Cassidy gets in a shot which Suggett gets a touch to and PEARSON follows up to nod in [1-0].

Half-time: Newcastle 1 Luton 0

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Luton 0

Position: 18th

The Hornets were promoted from the Fourth Division last season and before the break a confident and composed Newcastle take the lead. But an enforced change sees young Jamaican striker Luther Blissett introduced and he scores twice to send the home side through.

FLC R2: Watford [D3: 4th] - 15,346

Mahoney, Kelly, Barker, Cassiddy, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Pearson (McGhee), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Pearson - Blissett (2)

With Cassiddy pulling the strings, Newcastle are controlling the game and Rankin is called upon to make an astonishing save from a thirty-yard volley from the Irishman.

15m - Kelly gallops down the right and centres; Withe makes a decoy run and PEARSON heads the ball high into the net [1-0].

Half-time: Watford 0 Newcastle 1

52m - Watford go on the attack and when Jenkins crosses from the left BLISSETT converts at the far post [1-1]. Urged on by frantic support the home side's direct and pacy football has United under severe pressure.

80m - Mahoney makes a couple of courageous saves, but is badly at fault when BLISSETT drives firmly into the net [1-2].

Full-time: Watford 2 Newcastle 1


Steve Hardwick replaces Mahoney (who asked to be dropped) in goal and The Magpies are indebted to the keeper for a series of excellent stops which earn them a point. McGarry warns his players that they will need to up their effort to match the opposition who are raising their game against them.

D2: Cambridge [9th] - 8,174

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Cassiddy, Bird, Barton, Suggett, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Cambridge are newly promoted from Division 3.

John Brownlie makes his debut and Hardwick comes in for Mahoney.

Newcastle's jittery defence is all over the place and Hardwick is called upon to makes a number of decent saves.

The Abbey Roaders are unlucky when Spriggs smashes a twenty-yard shot against the bar and Cozens and Biley get in each other's way when the ball bounces back allowing Kelly to clear off the line.

Half-time: Cambridge 0 Newcastle 0

78m - Although the home side continue to have the best of the play Withe misses a great opportunity to win the game.

Full-time: Cambridge 0 Newcastle 0

Position: 20th

06/09 - A compulsory winding-up petition (signed by a number of the rebel shareholders) is presented to the High Court of Chancery in London under Section 210 of the Companies Act. The motive behind the petition is to force the directors to answer allegations of "ill administration" and of abusing their position of privilege. The petition makes a number of accusations. That they are using their position to block share transfers to people who do not support them. Stifling discussions as general meetings. Failing to be "open and frank" regarding business interests of two directors in relation to contracts with the club. Undermining player morale by not making promised payments into the players' pool. If the action is successful, the court could order certain directors to step down to allow shareholders to elect new Board members. The hearing will take place in Newcastle on October 6th.

06/09 - Although Mick Mahoney wants to leave, Steve Hardwick has taken over between the sticks so keeper Kevin Carr is sent to Hereford on loan.

06/09 - Eleven United fans appear before Berwick magistrates in relation to incidents around and during the friendly match at Shieldfield during which the referee had to stop the game three times as fans invaded the pitch. Martin Faichen receives a £100 fine; during the game he dribbled the ball towards goal evading a number of challenges before being apprehended.

United are run ragged in the first fifty minutes but John Connolly inspires a dramatic turnaround which sees United play some superb football in the last thirty minutes to secure a much needed victory. Blackburn manager and former United captain Jim Iley says "I would love to be here. I would walk back to Newcastle to sweep the terraces". But if he is touting for a job then his assessment of who is to blame for the club's predicament - "you have to look to the men at the top" - is hardly likely to endear him to the Board. The NSA launch their own newspaper.

D2: Blackburn [14th] - 23,571

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Cassiddy (McGhee), Barton, Blackley, Suggett, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Withe (2), McGhee - Gregory

The Lancastrians dominate the first half but they have to wait until just before the interval to take the lead; GREGORY belting the ball home after Radford's shot is blocked [0-1].

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Blackburn 1

53m - Connolly sends over a magnificent, tantalising cross and WITHE - barely a yard off the ground - goes full length to dive in and head his first goal for the club [1-1].

The goal completely changes the game as United become increasingly confident and - with McGhee being brought on as an extra attacker - they swarm towards the Blackburn goal.

78m - Hibbitt's free-kick is headed back across the area by Barton and MCGHEE thunders the ball home with his head [2-1].

90m - WITHE bustles Keeley off the ball on the half-way line and runs thirty yards before sending an accurate low drive into the net [3-1].

The team leaves the field to a rare standing ovation.

Full-time: Newcastle 3 Blackburn 1

Position: 10th

Both teams struggle with a swirling wind in a match where United show a more ruthless and cynical approach than normal. Highlight of the game comes when the ball lands in the away end and the travelling Tynesiders engage in an impromptu game between themselves.

D2: Wrexham [5th]-14,091

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Cassiddy, Barton, Blackley, Suggett, McGhee (Mitchell), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

McGhee comes in for the injured Pearson.

Withe misses a great chance to open the scoring but there are precious few chances. The Magpies are composed but also quite aggressive with some of their challenges bordering on the cynical.

Half-time: Wrexham 0 Newcastle 0

71m - Wrexham midfielder Mickey Thomas twice comes to the rescue. First he kicks a McGhee blockbuster off the line and then as Withe moves in for the kill he flings himself across the goal to block the shot.

Full-time: Wrexham 0 Newcastle 0

Position: 12th

A third goal-less draw in four games as United - despite being dominant throughout - lack the skill and guile to breach Orient's resolute defence. Reporting on the game Len Shackleton suggests he would "have more fun painting the attic". The crowd is relatively patient although Cassidy is a target for extended abuse. He doesn't have a great game but McGarry sympathises suggesting that he was perhaps trying too hard.

D2: Orient [18th]- 26,361

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Cassiddy, Nattrass, Blackley (Mitchell), Suggett, McGhee, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Nattrass is not fully fit but is drafted in at centre-back to replace car-crash victim Barton.

The Londoners have lost their last four games and have failed to score in any of them.

They are content to sit back and although United attack almost at will, they struggle to create any decent chances. Connolly is the only forward playing well and he - at least - forces veteran keeper Jackson to make a couple of fine saves.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Orient 0

Connolly is marked out of the game after the break and United have no cutting edge whatsoever.

Full-time: Newcastle 0 Orient 0

Position: 12th

25/09 - Bill McGarry was due to do some scouting at the Carlisle verses Swansea game but whilst he is at a motorway cafe a Newcastle fan suggests he should watch Hartlepool striker Bob Newton in their game against Newport instead and that is what he does. There is some method in his madness as United scouts have been monitoring him and McGarry thought he might as well take a look himself.

27/09 - McGarry declares that "I have not finished buying yet" and his prime target is believed to be West Brom midfielder Mick Martin.

The Toon Magpies are once again guilty of letting a lead slip, but although the home side are in total control of the second-period United are composed and Connolly grabs a shock late winner. It is the first away win for nine months.

D2: Notts County [8th] -11,362

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Scott, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, McGhee (Mitchell), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Bird, Connolly - Hooks

Cassiddy is dropped and replaced by Jamie Scott and Bird returns from injury to replace Nattrass who is still struggling with his achilles tendon.

It is United's first game at Meadow Lane for forty-five years.

41m - With the tireless Hibbitt controlling the game for long periods United are confident and composed and just before the break BIRD scores with a superb header [1-0].

Half-time: Notts County 0 Newcastle 1

62m - Substitute HOOKS has been on for only a minute when he scores from the edge of the area [1-1].

82m - For the next fifteen minutes United face an onslaught but they don't panic and with eight minutes remaining CONNOLLY scores with a back-header from a Suggett cross [2-1].

Full-time: Notts County 1 Newcastle 2

Position: 8th


5/10 - Newcastle fan Michael Earley wins a claim for unfair dismissal against Newcastle Area Health Authority. He was sacked in May after refusing to deliver some urgent medical supplies. He had refused to take them because he was only twenty minutes from clocking-off and the journey would have taken him much longer and he had tickets for a testimonial game.

In their best performance for some time United create a host of chances, but with The Foxes keeper Mark Wallington in superb form it looks like it is going to be another blank day until he fumbles a half-hit Walker shot just before the end. Newcastle register consecutive victories for the first time in ten months and McGarry claims: "We've really started to get it all together now".

D2: Leicester [11th] - 25,731

Hardwick, Kelly (McGhee), Brownlie, Mitchell, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Walker

Leicester are unbeaten on the road. Mitchell and Walker are drafted in for Scott and McGhee.

With Walker displaying his full range of skills United dominate possession but Foxes 'keeper Wallington is in excellent form.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Leicester 0

The second-half continues in the same vein with The Magpies progressive but Wallington unbeatable.

88m - WALKER toe pokes Suggett's half-hit cross towards goal. It is an easy take for Wallington but despite getting his hand to it spins away and bobbles into the net just inside the post [1-0].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Leicester 0

Position: 6th

07/10 - Newcastle are moving into the match sponsorship market. They hope to have a sponsor for each game and have opened a new VIP Sponsors suite which houses up to forty guests.

10/10 - Newcastle have sold out their allocation of 8,000 tickets for Saturday's derby.

12/10 - With injections not proving the answer, Irving Nattrass is to be put in plaster for a month to try and cure his achilles tendon trouble.

The Wearsiders dominate a passionate and fast-paced derby and are left incensed by both Withe's goal from a Walker free-kick (which they feel they were not given time to prepare for) and a "goal" which the referee seemed to allow before changing his mind. The day is marred by extensive trouble. Damage to trains travelling from Newcastle is BR "the worst we've ever seen" according to a BR spokesman with fans accused of being "like animals". There is fighting before, during and after the game during which bottles and other missiles are thrown. Forty are arrested and sixty are ejected.

D2: Sunderland [11th] - 35,405

Hardwick, Kelly (McGhee), Brownlie, Mitchell, Bird, Barton, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Withe - Greenwood

Barton replaces Blackley who has a knee injury.

13m - Clarke concedes a free-kick and after he is spoken to by the referee he is still running back into position when Walker takes the kick and an unmarked WITHE heads home [1-0].

35m - Brown has the ball in the net but it the effort is ruled out for a foul on Hardwick.

Half-time: Sunderland 0 Newcastle 1

75m - Docherty's shot is blocked by Hardwick but GREENWOOD pounces [1-1].

Full-time: Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1

Position: 6th

20/10 - United bid for Wrexham midfielder Mickey Thomas but the offer is turned down.

Walker gives United the lead with an acrobatic effort and United hit the bar twice but The Valiants level and then score three times in the last sixteen minutes as The Magpies fall apart. A coach load of Newcastle fans is arrested after violence erupts in a Luton bar after the game.

D2: Charlton [12th] -11,616

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Mitchell, Bird, Barton, Pearson (Suggett), Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Robinson.

Scorers: Walker - Flanagan (pen), Robinson (2), Gritt

Pearson returns but Connolly has a thigh strain and is replaced by Robinson.

A high cross from Robinson is superbly controlled by WALKER - who is nearly on the goal-line - and then he hooks the ball over his head to score an amazing goal [1-0].

25m - Charlton win a penalty but Madden balloons it over the top.

31m - Bird handles in the area and this time FLANAGAN makes no mistake [1-1].

Half-time: Charlton 1 Newcastle 1

It is a thrilling game and United bit the bar twice.

74m - Bird plays a back pass which is as short as Ronnie Corbett's legs and ROBINSON nips in to round the exposed Hardwick and score easily [1-2].

83m - ROBINSON runs through United's square defence and lobs Hardwick [1-3].

87m - GRITT scores from 25 yards [1-4].

Full-time: Charlton 4 Newcastle 1

Position: 11th

23/10 - Pearson has a hospital scan for a possible broken nose.

Despite the boost of an early lead through Withe's diving header United frustrate the crowd by wasting a hatful of chances against the poor Welshmen before making the game safe.

D2: Cardiff [15th] - 23,477

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Robinson (McGhee), Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Withe, Robinson, Connolly

09m - Hibbitt is in gear from the start and when he clips a perfect cross to the far post WITHE dives full-length to power home a header [1-0].

United keep the visitors penned back but despite creating numerous chances against a poor defence they cannot add to their score.

Half-time: Newcastle 1 Cardiff 0

66m - ROBINSON does not connect properly, but when keeper Healey comes out to collect the ball he slips and can only palm the ball over his head and into the net [2-0].

Cardiff try and respond once more before CONNOLLY finishes the game off with cheeky flick [3-0].

Full-time: Newcastle 3 Cardiff 0

Position: 8th

31/10 - Spurs midfielder Neil McNab signs for Bolton for £250,000 and McGarry reveals that he had a bid of £200,000 turned down last week. After protracted negotiations United have agreed a fee with South African club Lusitane for the signing of 19-year-old goalkeeper Vikter Negera. They are now waiting for clearance from the South African FA and they will then have to apply for a work permit.


Rovers have a 100% record at Eastville and with United struggling to deal with their adventurous 4-2-4 formation they maintain their record although Newcastle do have three efforts cleared off the line. McGarry admits that there is "still a lot of work ahead and I need a couple of players".

D2: Bristol Rovers [6th] - 10,583

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Pearson, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Randall (2)

RANDALL drills a low shot between Hardwick's body and the right hand post [0-1].

Half-time: Bristol Rovers 1 Newcastle 0

The Magpies give it a go and Connolly and Withe (twice) have efforts cleared off the line.

90m - Rovers counter and RANDALL rounds Hardwick before slotting home [0-2].

Full-time: Bristol Rovers 2 Newcastle 0

Position: 11th

Mick Mahoney
Mick Mahoney

09/11 - A £40,000 deal is agreed with Chicago Stings for the sale of Mick Mahoney (28) who has been on the transfer-list at his own request and asked to be taken out of the first-team after the first four games. Mahoney joined United in March 1975 and took over from McFaul when he retired that summer. For two seasons he was very impressive but the signing of Roger Jones at the end of the 1975/76 season impacted his confidence. Although injury problems side-lined Jones, Mahoney struggled to capture his best form during last season. He made 138 appearances.

United make hard work of the victory against bottom of the table Millwall and scorer Pearson departs early with torn knee ligaments which will keep him out for some time. McGarry claimed before the game that "results are the only thing that matter" but the season is proving to be a real slog. Hostilities resume between the hooligans and a number of the younger visitors have to ask for police protection.

D2: Millwall [22nd] - 23,087

Hardwick, Kelly, Brownlie, Pearson (McGhee), Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Pearson

The Londoners have only won once (on the opening day against United) all season.

06m - Pearson cracks the ball against the bar, but then the game settles down into the usual home pattern of United dominating possession but struggling to make it count.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Millwall 0

51m - PEARSON (United's best performer) plays a superb one-two with Withe and hits the return cleanly past Cuff [1-0].

62m - Pearson is forced off with a knee injury and is replaced by McGhee.

The Scot wins a penalty but Withe takes one of the worst penalties ever seen at the ground when he blasts high over the bar.

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Millwall 0

Position: 10th

16/11 - Malcolm Dix reveals that the NSA have decided to drop their court action against the club but "on legal advice I can't say any more at the moment".

Following the trouble in Luton after the Charlton game United fans find that the pubs in Luton Town Centre have been closed. The team are outplayed and outfought and McGarry keeps them in the dressing room for thirty minutes before emerging to state "we got what we deserved, nothing". To add to the misery young full-back Peter Kelly damages his left knee ligaments and will be under treatment for several months.

D2: Luton [14th] -10,434

Hardwick, Kelly (McGhee), Brownlie, Mitchell, Barton, Blackley, Suggett, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly

Scorers: Stein, Turner

Luton are the top scorers in the Division.

The Hatters do most of the attacking and STEIN forces the ball over the line after a defensive error [0-1].

Another injury blows for United as Kelly is carried off on a stretched following a Stein challenge.

Half-time: Luton 1 Newcastle 0

Luton continue to dominate after the break although Suggett heads a good opportunity over the bar.

85m - Fuccillo's free-kick is headed in by TURNER [0-2].

Full-time: Luton 2 Newcastle 0

Position: 12th

It is a dire match played out in a swirling wind. Once more the Novocastrians struggle to turn superiority into something tangible but Bird wins the day. One bright spot is Nattrass returning from injury to make his first appearance of the season. The win lifts United up to 7th but this is football without a genuine smile on its face.

D2: Cambridge [14th] - 20,004

Hardwick, Brownlie, Barker, Nattrass, Bird, Blackley, Suggett (McGhee), Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson.

Scorers: Bird

Barker comes in for Kelly and Nattrass makes his latest attempt to return from the achilles tendon injury that has plagued him all season.

A difficult swirling wind does not help matters but it is the same old story with plenty of effort and numerous chances created, but precious little end product.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Cambridge 0

Within a few minutes BIRD nets powerfully after a goalmouth scramble [1-0].

United fail to build on their lead as another painfully drab encounter meanders to an end.

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Cambridge 0

Position: 8th

23/11 - Two fans are each fined £250 for obscene chanting during the Cardiff home game.

Another turgid game which only comes to life in the last fifteen minutes. McGhee scores after a wonderful mazy dribble and soon after the Lancastrians grab a controversial equaliser. McGarry votes the fans as man of the match "as we didn't score the goal, the crowd did". He goes on to bemoan that "we have too many players who are frightened of accepting responsibility for the ball. No-one has to tell me the team is not good enough. We can't wait for players at the club now to get better". Nattrass suffers a recurrence of his achilles tendon injury.

D2: Oldham [16th] - 20,563

Hardwick, Brownlie, Barker, Nattrass (Mitchell), Bird, Blackley, McGhee, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson.

Scorers: McGhee - Valentine

Oldham are 16th.

A turgid first-half is capped by the fact that Nattrass is struggling once again and has to be replaced by McGhee at half-time.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Oldham 0

75m - MCGHEE has struggled to get into the game since coming on but fifteen minutes from time he lifts the gloom when he sets off on a mazy run which takes him past three defenders before slamming the ball into the top corner [1-0].

82m - VALENTINE swings his foot at a loose ball and it goes in off the post. The referee disallows the goal but is persuaded to change his mind by the linesman [1-1].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Oldham 1


27/11 - McGarry agrees a deal with West Brom to sign midfielder Mick Martin who is thinking over the move.

27/11 - Newcastle directors slam the NSA.

28/11 - McGarry - who failed in a bid to sign Preston forward Mick Robinson last week - is still looking for a new strike partner for Withe and he takes in Blyth Spartans' FA Cup match with York to take a look at Spartans forward Alan Shoulder.

Mick Martin
Mick Martin

30/11 - Mick Martin signs from West Brom for £100,000. The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international has played over 100 games for The Throstles but has made only played once this season having lost his place to John Trewick. Describing himself as a "midfield grafter" he says he is "looking forward to Newcastle pushing for promotion".


Martin makes his debut but United are desperately ineffective and slump to a fourth consecutive away defeat. They would have lost more heavily but for the excellence of Hardwick and Palace's wayward finishing. Although The Magpies played some decent football they were utterly toothless and are in desperate need of new striking reinforcements.

D2: C. Palace [1st] - 19,761

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Blackley, Suggett, Walker (Nicholson), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Elwiss

Mick Martin makes his debut and Connolly has recovered from injury for the trip to Selhurst Park.

United start well but go behind when Fenwick hits a long up field cross and ELWISS rises above the defence and nets with a fabulous turning header [0-1].

Half-time: Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0

Palace continue to attack after the break and Hardwick has to be at his best to prevent further goals.

Full-time: Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0

Position: 11th

04/12 - Alan Shoulder turns up at Horden Colliery as usual as he wants to speak to his current boss about joining United. He has just started a 3-year course to become a deputy pit manager and is concerned that he is giving up a long-term career for what will be a short-term career as a professional footballer. He agrees to sign after receiving assurances that he will be able to continue his mining studies.

04/12 - McGarry fails in a bid to sign Blackburn Rovers' left-back John Bailey. United wanted to offer Mickey Barker in part-exchange but Rovers wanted £300,000 cash.

Alan Shoulder
Alan Shoulder

05/12 - Alan Shoulder (25) signs from Northern League Blyth Spartans for £20,000. The diminutive (5' 5") striker joined Spartans a year ago and received rave reviews for his performances during Blyth's progress to the FA Cup 6th Round last season.

Shoulder makes his debut but despite his inspirational enthusiasm The Potters keep everyone behind the ball and United once again struggle to make a breakthrough. Thankfully Withe and Connolly score in quick succession midway through the second period to secure the victory.

D2: Stoke [2nd] - 23,459

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Blackley, Cassiddy, Shoulder, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Withe, Connolly

Alan Shoulder is thrust from non-league football straight into the first-team and Tommy Cassiddy is recalled for his first game since September.

The Potters adopt a defensive policy from the start.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Stoke 0

Shoulder breaks clear down the right and angles in a tremendous shot which Roger Jones can only parry allowing WITHE to smash the ball into the back of the net [1-0].

75m - Brownlie ends a run with a powerful shot from an awkward angle; it's blocked but CONNOLLY is on hand to slam the ball home [2-0]

Full-time: Newcastle 2 Stoke 0

Position: 9th

11/12 - Prior to the EGM (at the County Hotel) the NSA hold a short meeting in which they advise interested shareholders that although they have dropped the court action they have not given up the fight and have now decided to press for an inquiry by the Department for Trade and Industry to investigate "certain matters" at the club. He also reveals that once the High Court action was withdrawn the club offered to pay their own costs if the NSA made a full public apology for the statements made about certain directors and transferred their shares to Bob Rutherford. At the AGM itself the club announce a £57,426 operating loss up to 31st July and a transfer profit of £67,000.

A vastly improved performance and a first goal from Shoulder as United record their first away win since the end of September. Connolly and Withe are also on target and United have two further "goals" controversially disallowed. McGarry is now looking for a good Christmas to break into the promotion places.

D2: Fulham [8th] - 8,575

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Blackley (Barton), Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Shoulder, Connolly, Withe - Guthrie

07m - SHOULDER scores his first goal when Martin robs Strong and centres for him to hook home a fierce shot [1-0].

12m - Former United striker Chris GUTHRIE equalises with a great diving header [1-1].

44m - Hibbitt and Martin are start to take control of midfield and Withe heads back a Shoulder cross for CONNOLLY to run in and head home [2-1].

Half-time: Fulham 1 Newcastle 2

Newcastle are in firm control and are unlucky to see two goals chalked off for minor offences.

74m - Hibbitt's inswinging corner gives WITHE an easy headed finish [3-1].

Full-time: Fulham 1 Newcastle 3

Position: 6th

21/12 - United agree terms with Gillingham for the sale of left-back Micky Barker. He is thinking over the move.

Former player and director Stan Seymour (senior) dies aged 85. The flags fly half-mast and the players wear black armbands. United start slowly and Shoulder's opener is against the run of play but once they have their noses in front they take control with Withe and Cassidy adding further goals. It is the first time since December 1977 that they have recorded three victories in a row and it looks like the corner may have been turned at last.

D2: Burnley [8th] - 24,618

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Blackley (Barker), Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly,

Scorers: Shoulder, Withe, Cassidy - Noble

Burnley make the running at the start and main danger man Leighton James is "treated" to a couple of wild lunges.

25m - Against the run of play - Cassiddy plays the ball through to SHOULDER who turns adroitly before beating Stevenson with a rising drive [1-0].

30m - Following a series of corners Hibbitt crosses to WITHE who gets on the blind side of the defence and heads in [2-0].

Half-time: Newcastle 2 Burnley 0

48m - Shoulder waltzes though the defence before setting up CASSIDDY for an easy goal [3-0] and United are coasting.

85m - A bit too much nonchalance allows former player NOBLE to dribble through and net a consolation [3-1].

Full-time: Newcastle 3 Burnley 0

Position: 5th

United dominate against the struggling Blades but waste a host of chances. They are punished for their profligacy when the home side score a controversial "offside" winner six minutes from time.

D2: Sheff Utd [19th] - 23,200

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Blackley, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Garner

Barton replaces the injured Bird.

Newcastle create and miss numerous chances - Connolly (3) and Cassiddy heads over from inside the six-yard box.

Half-time: Sheff. United 0 Newcastle 0

84m - Speight hits a fierce shot against the post and GARNER shins in the rebound [0-1]. United's players are convinced he was offside and they protest vehemently both after the goal and at the final whistle.

Full-time: Sheff. United 1 Newcastle 0

Position: 6th

The Promotion chasing Seagulls are far too good for United with Geordie Malcolm Poskett, in particular, causing them all sorts of problems. McGarry admits "the better side won”.

D2: Brighton [3rd] - 25,812

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Suggett (Mulgrove), Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly,

Scorers: Poskett, O'Sullivan

Blackley is out again so Martin is asked to play at centre-back.

The Seagulls are playing sharp and positive football and they soon take the lead when Ryan's shot rebounds off Hardwick and POSKETT taps the ball in from close range [0-1].

The home side are well on top and United's spasmodic raids are punches.

Half-time: Brighton 1 Newcastle 0

63m - O'SULLIVAN spectacularly hammers home after good work from Poskett who later hits the bar with a header [0-2].

Full-time: Brighton 2 Newcastle 0

Position: 8th


10/01 - The Torquay Cup Tie is postponed.

Despite being gifted an early lead United are outplayed by their Division 4 opponents for an hour and the crowd jeers vociferously before they benefit from another poor piece of play from the visitor's goalkeeper. It is a very lucky escape.

FAC R3: Torquay - 21,691

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Nattrass, Blackley, Nicholson (Barton), Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Robinson.

Scorers: Robinson, Nattrass (pen), Withe - Lawrence

Torquay are 14th in Division 4.

Nattrass makes a welcome return, Nicholson comes in for the cup-tied Shoulder and Robinson replaces the injured Connolly.

03m - Geordie keeper Turner drops a harmless Martin cross at the feet of ROBINSON who pokes the ball in [1-0].

11m - The visitors respond well and after a couple of narrow squeaks LAWRENCE equalises whilst the United defenders wait for an offside flag which never appears [1-1].

Shell-shocked Newcastle are now outplayed. Lawrence hits the post, Blackley comes perilously close to slicing the ball into his own net and there are numerous other near misses.

Half-time: Newcastle 1 Torquay 1

66m - The minnows continue to press, however Torquay keeper Turner makes another error when he needlessly brings down Robinson in the area and NATTRASS confidently dispatches the penalty [2-1].

69m - WITHE climbs highest and glides Martin's corner home [3-1].

Full-time: Newcastle 3 Torquay 1

17/01 - McGarry is not happy with the effort put in in training and blasts "some players have got to pull their socks up or they are out!"

Micky Barker
Micky Barker

18/01 - Left-back Micky Barker (22) moves to Gillingham for £65,000 having made 27 (2) appearances for the Magpies. He joined as a junior in 1972 and signed professional in March 1973. He got a decent run in the side last season as a result of injuries and has had a few outings this year but Brownlie and the Kenny Mitchell have generally been preferred.

A keenly contested game played out on a treacherous frost bound pitch. The Hibbitt brothers are opposing captains and it is Wolves' Kenny who volleys in an equaliser five minutes from time after Withe had headed United in front before celebrating by hanging off the crossbar.

FAC R4: Wolves - 29,561


Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Blackley, Guy, Nattrass, Withe, Hibbitt, Robinson.

Scorers: Withe, Hibbitt

After the first five minutes when eleven players lose their footing; both sets of players gradually adapt and it becomes a keenly competitive game albeit with few clear-out opportunities.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Wolves 0

71m - WITHE runs on to Brownlie's raking centre and heads home [1-0].

85m - Carr chips the ball over United's defence and Kenny HIBBITT hits a superb volley into the roof of the net [1-1].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Wolves 1


United play their first League game of the year and McGarry says "we cannot afford any slip-ups". But despite being the better side in the first period they are eventually undone by the pace of Chiedozie.

D2: Orient [7th] - 7,251

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Blackley, Shoulder, Nattrass, Withe, Hibbitt, Robinson (Guy)

Scorers: Mayo, Kitchen (pen)

Cup-tied Shoulder is back.

Barton misses an easy chance early on and despite doing most of the attacking (especially in the last fifteen minutes) United cannot find a way past veteran keeper John Jackson.

Half-time: Orient 0 Newcastle 0

55m - Teenager John Chiedozie's pace had caused United some problems in the first-period and after ten minutes he goes on a run from the halfway line which takes him past four defenders before he lays the ball off to MAYO who hits a first-time rising shot from the edge of the area [0-1].

United search for an equaliser; Withe hits the post and Jackson makes a point-blank save from Robinson.

69m - Blackley brings down KITCHEN and the forward gets up to score from the spot [0-2].

Full-time: Orient 2 Newcastle 0

Position: 10th

08/02 - United play Middlesbrough behind closed doors to get some outdoor training in and provide some much needed game-time for players recovering from injury like Jim Pearson. They play 3 x 25 minute sessions. Newcastle win the first and last with goals from Shoulder and Walker. Armstrong wins the middle game for Middlesbrough.

12/02 - The FA Cup Replay against Wolves is postponed for the sixth time.

13/02 - McGarry holds talks with Blackburn in an attempt to sign left-back John Bailey. United want an exchange deal including Suggett and McGhee. But the Lancastrians (who value Bailey at much more than United - £250,000) are only interested in Suggett.

08/02 - United play Blyth Spartans behind closed doors with McGarry showing an interest in Spartans players Steve Carney and Peter Davies.

16/02 - Blackburn are said to be interested in Suggett who has struggled to impress on Tyneside and it is thought that McGarry would be willing to sell him for £40,000

A fifth successive League defeat against a team which contains five teenagers and for whom the goal scorers are 16 and 17. McGarry blames the defeat on the lack of outdoor training during the last few weeks and concedes "we've no chance of promotion this season - we are too far behind".

D2: Leicester [16th] -15,106

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Blackley, Shoulder, Nattrass, Withe, Scott, Robinson.

Scorers: Nattrass - Peake, Buchanan

McGarry believes that United have perhaps been too attacking away from home and that "it is time we knuckled down". The home side has an average age of 22 and includes five teenagers.

The Foxes attack from the start as United try but fail to assert dominance physically.

11m - From a free-kick Buchanan (16-years-old) shoots from a narrow angle. Hardwick can only parry and the youngster lays it back to PEAKE (17-years-old) who drives in hard and low [0-1].

Peake hits the post with an angled shot.

36m - Williams flicks on to BUCHANNAN who gives Hardwick no chance [0-2].

Half-time: Leicester 2 Newcastle 0

66m - NATTRASS pulls one back after he is played in by Martin [1-2].

In the last few minutes Shoulder hits the bar and Brownlie kicks a Buchanan effort off the line.

Full-time: Leicester 2 Newcastle 1

Position: 12th

At the tenth time of asking the replay finally takes place at Molineux, unfortunately both sides appear to have lost interest in the tie and there is a distinct lack of effort and excitement. Newcastle are controversially denied a penalty when Withe is body checked in the box. McGarry claims it is the "joke of the century" and even opposition manager Barnwell admits to being "baffled".

FAC R4r: Wolves - 19,588

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell (Pearson), Martin, Bird, Blackley, Shoulder, Nattrass, Withe, Scott, Walker.

Scorers: Bell

37m - Clarke's header comes back off the post leaving BELL with an easy chance [0-1].

Half-time: Wolves 1 Newcastle 0

65m - Wolves keeper Bradshaw checks Withe in the area and the referee awards a penalty. However, after consulting his linesman he controversially changes his mind and gives a drop-ball.

Full-time: Wolves 1 Newcastle 0

23/02 - McGarry has wheeled and dealed but argues that "It's not possible to build a team overnight. I tried to do this. I have not done it - but that's not to say I'll not do it in the end.

Newcastle's first home League game for two months is a derby day disaster as Gary Rowell scores a hat-trick for the Wearsiders in a resounding defeat. It is also United's fifth successive League defeat and they have now fallen to sixteenth.

D2: Sunderland [4th] - 34,733

Hardwick, Brownlie, Nattrass, Martin, Bird, Blackley (Mitchell), Shoulder, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Connolly - Rowell (3), Entwhistle

06m - Clarke's free-kick results in a mighty scramble in the area and ROWELL scores [0-1].

25m - Arnott's pass finds ROWELL completely unmarked and he coolly beats the advancing Hardwick [0-2].

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Sunderland 2

50m - CONNOLLY brilliantly heads home from Walker's free-kick [1-2].

61m - Mitchell gives away a needless penalty and ROWELL nets the penalty [1-3].

Lee scores but the referee has already blown for a free-kick to Sunderland.

72m - Rowell's chipped cross is headed in by ENTWHISTLE [1-4].

Position: 16th

26/02 - McGarry fails with a £300,000 bid for Bolton striker Neil Whatmore. He may now turn his attention to transfer seeking Rangers striker Derek Parlane.

28/02 - With transfer fees spiralling ever upwards McGarry is in philosophical mood again: "as fees go up you either run with the hare or get left behind". Bill reveals he has an interest in Coventry defender Brian Roberts.


01/03 - Colin Suggett’s proposed move to Blackburn is off after he fails a medical which reveals cruciate ligament damage in his knee.

02/03 - McGarry is not happy with the breakdown of the Suggest move: "I think Blackburn have treated Colin very shabbily. There is nothing wrong with his knee". However, Rovers Chairman Keighley responds by stating "we stand by the medical report"

The crowd is more than halved for the visit of the Londoners but those who do return are treated to an entertaining and error-strewn match played in a swirling wind.

D2: Charlton [7th] -14,998

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell (Parkinson), Martin, Barton, Nattrass, Shoulder, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Shoulder (2 - 1 pen), Martin, Mitchell, Connolly - Gritt, Shipperly, Robinson

Five successive League defeats, a cup exit and the Tyne-Wear debacle all result in the attendance slipping under the 15,000 mark (just).

03m - SHOULDER scores from the spot after being felled by Barry [1-0].

A fluffed clearance from Mitchell allows GRITT to equalise [1-1].

MARTIN'S soft shot is fumbled by keeper Johns [2-1].

MITCHELL heads in from an almost impossible angle [3-1].

Just before the break SHIPPERLY heads in [3-2].

Half-time: Newcastle 3 Charlton 2

46m - SHOULDER gets his second [4-2]

57m - CONNOLLY scores the best goal when he ghosts past Shaw and hits a perfect shot past Johns [5-2].

87m - ROBINSON scores from 25-yards [5-3].

Full-time: Newcastle 5 Charlton 3

Position: 10th

05/03 - Two United thugs are fined £400 each and ordered to pay costs after being found guilty of assaulting a Sunderland fan after the Tyne-Wear derby. Other people involved ran away before they could be apprehended by the police.

Alan Guy
Alan Guy
Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith

08/03 - Reserves Alan Guy (21) and Anthony Smith (22) move to Peterborough for a combined fee of £10,000. Striker Guy turned pro in September 1975 and has made 7 (1) appearances without finding the net. Midfielder/defender Smith joined in July 1975 and has made 2 (1) appearances. A £150,000 bid for Coventry City captain Terry Yorath is rejected.

Newcastle have never won at Ninian Park and they fail again on a pitch made into a bog by torrential rain. United can't cope with Cardiff's aerial attacks and Connolly's late consolation is too little too late.

D2: Cardiff [19th] -11,368 -

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Nattrass, Shoulder, Walker (Suggett), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Connolly - Bishop, Stevens

Several hours of torrential rain have transformed the pitch into a bog and this suits Cardiff's aerial bombardment tactics.

42m - With Hardwick looking very vulnerable on crosses United struggle to keep the Welshmen out and just before the break a corner is headed down by Pontin and BISHOP scores [0-1].

Half-time: Cardiff 1 Newcastle 0


A dreadful mistake by Mitchell allows STEVENS to rocket home [0-2].

Seven minutes later a mix-up in the home defence is punished by CONNOLLY'S accurate drive [1-2].

In the closing stages it is everyone back for The Bluebirds as United throw everything at them. Martin and Withe both have goal bound efforts cleared off the line.

Full-time: Cardiff 2 Newcastle 1

Position: 15th

16/03 - Aberdeen boss Alex Ferguson had a £60,000 bid for Mark McGhee turned down earlier in the week. McGarry says the Yorath deal is dead and has turned his attentions to Ipswich's Welsh U21 full-back Les Tibbot.

United are thrashed in a game in which they show a complete lack of fight and could have easily conceded twice as many. McGarry suggests that "things are not as bad as the table would suggest" and then goes into personal damage limitation mode. "I had to build it from scratch.... the club needed clearing out. There were players who did not want to play for the club".

D2: WHU [5th] - 24,651

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Nattrass, Shoulder, Walker (Wharton), Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Devonshire, Robson, Lampard, McDowell (2)

20m - DEVONSHIRE beats a couple of defenders at close quarters and shoots past Hardwick into the far corner to score a brilliant individual goal [0-1].

22m - Brooking and Robson interchange passes from the halfway line and ROBSON hits in a searing shot at the near post [0-2].

34m - Hardwick punches a corner clear but it only goes to LAMPARD whose thunderbolt shot takes a huge deflection off Withe and flies into the unguarded net [0-3].

37m - Holland pulls the back from the bye-line and MCDOWALL scores [0-4].

Trevor Brooking had been the architect of the Magpies misery and they are pleased to see him limp off.

Half-time: West Ham 4 Newcastle 0

50m - A cross is half-cleared and MCDOWALL hits a half-volley low into the corner of the net. [5-0].

Full-time: West Ham 5 Newcastle 0

Position: 16th

26/03 - Les Tibbot holds talks with Newcastle but Sheffield United have also made him a good offer.

 Mark McGhee
Mark McGhee

28/03 - Mark McGhee (21) moves to Aberdeen for £80,000. McGhee cost £150,00 when he joined from Morton in December 1977 and although he has demonstrated some excellent ability at times he has suffered from inconsistency. He made [appearances and goals].

A waterlogged pitch, driving rain and a bitterly cold gale make the first half a freezing farce. With some players apparently suffering from exposure the referee abandons the game at half-time. McGarry claims that they were "the worst conditions I have ever seen during my time in the game". Just over 7,000 brave souls turned up to watch and McGarry says "we've got to do something for these supporters of ours, they are absolutely magic".

D2: Wrexham (H) - 7,152

Hardwick, Brownlie, Mitchell, Martin, Bird, Nattrass, Shoulder, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Cassiddy - Giles

15m - It is clear from the start that any attempt to play football will be abortive but GILES scores for Wrexham [0-1].

CASSIDDY replies from a corner [1-1].

Half-time (abandoned): Newcastle 1 Wrexham 1

The Magpies have lost ten of their last eleven away matches and have not won away since December; but Oldham have not won at home since November. It is United who break their sequence with goals from Nattrass, Shoulder and a stunning last minute volley from Withe. "I'm sure the future will be much brighter" says McGarry.

D2: Oldham [18th] - 6,329

Hardwick, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin, Bird, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly

Scorers: Nattrass, Shoulder (pen), Withe - Heaton

02m - NATTRASS shoots in through a crowded penalty area after only 76 seconds [1-0].

From a great pass from Chapman, HEATON shoots under Hardwick's body [1-1].

19m - Half-time: Oldham 1 Newcastle 1

64m - SHOULDER is felled by Keegan and scores the penalty which results [2-1].

90m - WITHE hits a stunning volley with his left foot [3-1].

Full-time: Oldham 1 Newcastle 3

Position: 14th


United come back from two goals down to end Preston's five-month unbeaten run.

D2: Preston [10th] -12,216

Hardwick, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin, Barton, Mitchell, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Withe, Barton, Shoulder, Connolly - Robinson (2), Bruce

08m - ROBINSON gives the visitors an early lead [0-1].

28m - ROBINSON scores a superb second [0-2].

31m - The Magpies attack with zest and WITHE pulls one back [1-2].

43m - BARTON heads home a Shoulder corner [2-2].

Half-time: Newcastle 2 Preston 2


77m - A little bit of magic from CONNOLLY as he ghosts past two defenders and nets with a brisk drive [4-2].

Former United player Alex BRUCE scores his 24th goal of the season [4-3].

Full-time: Newcastle 4 Preston 3

Position: 15th

Leaders Palace adopt an ultra-defensive approach and visiting 'keeper Burridge has to make a number of acrobatic saves. However, eight minutes from time Shoulder scores with a brave header in a match described as "unadulterated rubbish" by Len Shackleton. McGarry: "we have at last learned the lesson that you have to fight for everything you get in this Division”.

D2: Crystal Palace [2nd] -18,862

Hardwick, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin, Barton, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Shoulder

From the very start The Londoners adopt ultra-defensive tactics; United struggle to penetrate the wall of yellow and when they do they are thwarted by the acrobatic Burridge.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 C Palace 0

Nothing changes after the break and Burridge has to have his shoulder-joint pushed back in place after a brilliant twisting save from a Brownlie pile-driver.

82m - SHOULDER bravely heads a Withe pass past Burridge [1-0].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 C Palace 0

Position: 11th

United are dominant but their excellent approach play is not matched by their finishing; although Withe is unlucky to see a 25-yard volley hit the bar.

D2: Burnley [9th] - 7,851

Hardwick, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin, Barton, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Hall

Former Liverpool star Brian HALL drives home his first goal for Burnley [0-1].

Half-time: Burnley 1 Newcastle 0

Numerous chances go begging and although Withe is unlucky when his 25-yard volley hits the bar he also misses much easier chances. Cassiddy and Shoulder both miss with 6-yard headers.


Full-time: Burnley 1 Newcastle 0

Position: 12th

The Blades have not won away from home for eight months but United (and keeper Hardwick in particular) are in charitable mood and hand them one on a plate with some calamitous defending.

D2: Sheff Utd [18th] -19,801

Hardwick, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin, Mitchell, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Scorers: Shoulder - Brownlie og, Rioch, Anderson]

Early on BROWNLIE heads a harmless Speight cross back to Hardwick but he is well off his line and the ball sails over him and into the net [0-1].

The nightmare continues for Hardwick when he fumbles a weak Anderson shot giving RIOCH an open goal [0-2].

A Nattrass shot is cleared off the line by Kenworthy but - despite dominating the first-half - that is as close as United get.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Sheff. United 2

The Magpies continue to boss the game and Kenworthy once again is on hand to block Martin's shot.

With time running out SHOULDER scores from an acute angle [1-2].

90m - A Mitchell slip allows ANDERSON to score [1-3].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Sheff. United 3

Position: 12th

A drab and uninspiring match in which there is more action on the terraces than there is on the pitch.

D2: Preston [11th] -12,966

Carr, Brownlie, Blackley, Martin (Walker), Mitchell, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

Hardwick is dropped after his calamitous display with Kevin Carr taking over in goal.

It is typical end-of-season fayre between two teams with nothing to play for.

Carr, who does very well on his return to the side, makes an excellent save from Bell.

Half-time: Preston 0 Newcastle 0

The second forty-five is equally uneventful of very few chances. Carr blocks and point-blank range with his face and Connolly is unlucky when he shoots just wide after an excellent weaving run.

Full-time: Preston 0 Newcastle 0

Position: 12th

A desperately poor game in which United don't even look interested until the last fifteen minutes. McGarry admits "we were awful" in a contest in which more defensive blunders cost them dearly.

D2: Notts County [6th] -12,101

Carr, Brownlie, Blackley, Walker, Mitchell, Nattrass, Shoulder, Cassiddy, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly (Suggett)

Scorers: Withe - Hooks, O'Brien (pen)

14m - County absorb some early pressure, take control and then take the lead when Cassidy loses possession and HOOKS nets [0-1].

United struggle to lift their game and lose even more impetus when Connolly has to retire.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Notts. County 1

58m - Mitchell catches Vintner's shot on the line and O'BRIEN scores from the spot [0-2].

82m - The Magpies finally rouse themselves in the last fifteen minutes and Shoulder goes close twice before WITHE scores a consolation [1-2].

Full-time: Newcastle 1 Notts. County 2

Position: 12th

A strong wind, a bumpy pitch and a patched up team all contribute to a game which McGarry calls "dire stuff". Brownlie breaks his collar-bone and Fulham defender Locke is sent-off for aiming a punch at John Bird.

D2: Fulham [8th] - 11,916

Carr, Brownlie (Wharton), Bird, Martin, Barton, Nattrass, Shoulder, Suggett, Mitchell, Walker, Nicholson

Withe is banned so Kenny Mitchell is asked to play at centre-forward in a youthful side.

Half-time: Newcastle 0 Fulham 0

68m - Carr saves brilliantly from a close-range Davies header.

Connolly is stretchered off with a broken collar-bone.

Locke is sent-off for aiming a punch at Bird.

Full-time: Newcastle 0 Fulham 0

Position: 12th

Peter Withe scores his first hat-trick for the club as United condemn their hosts to Third Division football in front of a pitiful crowd.

D2: Blackburn [22nd] - 4,902

Carr, Nattrass, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Bird, Shoulder, Suggett, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson

Blackburn are all over United (particularly in the first 15 minutes) and pepper shots at Carr who is in superb form.

27m - Brotherstone's shot hits the underside of the bar and a minute later he is thwarted again when Nattrass clears his effort off the line.

41m - Nicholson flicks on a corner at the near post to present WITHE with an easy chance [1-0].

45m - Two minutes into injury time Carr blocks Garner's drive but MCKENZIE shoots the loose ball home [1-1].

Half-time: Blackburn 1 Newcastle 1

50m - United are playing much more purposefully now and WITHE hits a crisp low shot through a crowded box after 'keeper Butcher was penalised for taking too many steps [2-1].

69m - Nicholson once again flicks on Martin's corner at the near post and WITHE - who has his back to goal - converts a brilliant overhead kick [3-1].

Full-time: Blackburn 1 Newcastle 3

Position: 12th

26/04 - McGarry reveals that although Terry Hibbitt will remain as club captain, Irving Nattrass will be captain during games. McGarry explains that "Terry probably took the responsibility of captain a little too seriously and it affected his form".


In a reversal of the corresponding fixture at St. James' it is Newcastle who go for all out defence against the second-placed Potters.

D2: Stoke [2nd] - 23,217

Carr, Nattrass, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Bird, Shoulder, Suggett, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson

Half-time: Stoke 0 Newcastle 0

Stoke start to attack more desperately and United survive two penalty shouts.

Just before the end O'Callaghan's 30-yard shot crashes against the bar.

Full-time: Stoke 0 Newcastle 0

Position: 11th

The first of three home games in the last week of the season draws a sub 10,000 crowd. Rovers could and should have scored at least once before Newcastle take control. It might have been May but there was a snowstorm at half-time.

D2: Bristol Rovers [13th] - 9,627

Carr, Nattrass, Mitchell (Nicholson), Manners, Barton, Bird, Shoulder, Suggett, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly

12m - Hibbitt sends over a perfect, curling cross and the unmarked WITHE's diving header flashes past Thomas [1-0].

31m - Connolly's shot is cleared off the line only for SHOULDER to hammer the ball in from close range [2-0].

Half-time: Newcastle 2 Bristol Rovers 0

46m - BIRD heads in powerfully from a Hibbitt free-kick [3-0].

57m- Withe hits the outside of the post with a header.

Full-time: Newcastle 3 Bristol Rovers 0

Position: 9th

03/05 - A United fan is fined £150 plus £10 costs for kicking a Sunderland supporter who was lying on the ground.

The attendance more than trebles for the visit of the Seagulls who need a win to secure promotion. Many travel from the South Coast but the match also attracts a lot of United fans back as Sunderland are battling Brighton for a promotion place. A crazy first-half sees United dominate but go in 3-0 down. Luck is not with them as they hit the bar twice, have a goal controversially disallowed and Barton gets in the way of a goal bound effort from Mitchell.

D2: Brighton [1st] - 28,434

Carr, Nattrass, Mitchell (Nicholson), Manners, Barton, Bird, Shoulder, Martin, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly

Position: 11th

08/05 - John Blackley has surprisingly been given a free transfer. It is thought that the club have not put a fee on his head as that would have meant they would have to give him a new contract. Andy Parkinson along with three others who have not appeared for the first-team (Steve Burn, Kevin Patterson and Colin Mullen) are also given free transfers.

The re-arranged match with the Welshman once again brings atrocious weather and sees the lowest crowd of the century. Shoulder and Pearson (playing his first game after recovering from injury) get the goals and after the final whistle the players applaud the die-hards who attended. Peter Withe and Alan Shoulder are joint winners of the Player of the Year award.

D2: Wrexham [14th] - 7,134

Carr, Nattrass, Mitchell, Martin, Barton, Bird, Shoulder, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly

Position: 7th

09/05 - Fr: Cognac 1 Newcastle 2 - Withe and Shoulder score against the French Division 4 part-timers in a game held as part of "English week" celebrations in the Bordeaux area. The United party is flown there and back in a couple of private jets laid on by the Martell and Hennessy firms.

13/05 - McGarry reportedly wants part-time England coach Bill Taylor to join as Assistant Manager. He was previously helping out at Manchester City but left when Malcolm Allison returned. McGarry has already persuaded Dave Woodman to join his backroom staff when his contract with the Saudi Arabia National Team runs out in July. The team fly to Spain for a six-day golfing holiday.

14/05 - Bill Taylor says he has not been approached by United but would be "very interested" if he was.

 John Blackley
John Blackley

22/05 - John Blackley agrees terms with Preston although his United contract does not expire until July 31st. He joined in October 1977, but although his class has been clearly evident he has had a succession of injuries which have kept him out the side. He made 52 appearances in all.

26/05 - Newcastle's legendary fifties mascot Jimmy Nichol has passed away aged 68. A number of ex-players and officials will attend his funeral next week.

Bill McGarry

28/05 - Reports allege that Bill McGarry is the "favourite" on a shortlist of three British managers for the Athletic Bilbao job. Frank O'Farrel and (possibly) Bob Houghton are the others. McGarry is believed to have met Bilbao officials in London last week. McGarry is not available for comment.

31/05 - McGarry admits that he has spoken to Bilbao but states that he has not been offered the job and claims to have "not given it a lot of thought". United chairman Westwood states that Bilbao have not approached the club and makes it clear that "Bill is under contract and we would wish him to honour it".