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NUFC 1949/50 - Season Diary


01/06 - Newcastle beat the Alberta All Stars 15-2. The Canadian team consists of players from Edmonton and Calgary.

04/06 - The British Colombia All Stars are beaten 5-2. The crowd of 8,185 is the largest ever attendance in thirty years at the ground.

04/06 - Director Westwood claims that the $4 per day allowance is causing discontentment amongst the players and he sympathises. "I would not like to visit America on an allowance like that and expect to enjoy myself, even to a limited degree" A sandwich costs $1.5.

05/06 - United rattle in 10 more goals against Washington State who get 1 in reply.

07/06 - United face British Colombia All Stars again, winning 8-1 on this occasion.

11/06 - United's request to enter their Third team in the North-Eastern League is rejected. Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Gateshead and Hartlepool all play their Reserve sides, but United's reserves now play in the Central League.

15/06 - Newcastle beat a Swedish Select XI 4-0 in Toronto in what is judged to have been the best soccer game ever seen in Canada. A record crowd of 24,300 witness the match.

19/06 - United take on Swedes Kamraterna immediately after a Scottish FA team takes on a USA XI. Milburn puts United ahead just before the break and United go on to win 3-0.

24/06 - The team has covered over 16,000 miles on their six-week tour including 20 days travelling in trains. The last match was cancelled due to the staleness and fatigue of the players. The Canadian hospitality was “wonderful" but their teams’ football was “disappointing".

26/06 - The United party sets sail for home on the Empress of France.


02/07 - The 20,000 ton liner docks in Liverpool, 24-hours behind schedule. The delay was caused because they had been hit by a freak Atlantic storm. The captain admitted that "we've never seen such a storm before". United skipper Harvey laughs it off, but admits "I think everyone in the team was sick". They are greeted by the Liverpool Chairman.

09/07 - Newcastle are still hopeful of signing outside-right George Smith from Hibernian.


13/08 - The final practice game takes place. The players involved are: Black and Whites (League team): Fairbrother, Cowell, Batty, Smith, Brennan, Crowe, Walker, Robledo G, Milburn, Lowrie, Mitchell. Whites (Reserves): Garbutt, Graham, Corbett, Robledo E, Frazer, Stobbart, Harbertson (former North Shields winger), Thompson, Graver, Taylor, Stevenson.

13/08 - Seymour and another United director watch George Smith in the match against Falkirk, but are unsuccessful in their attempts to discuss a transfer with Chairman Harry Swan.

20/08 - D1: Newcastle 1 Portsmouth 3 - There is huge interest in the opening game against Champions Portsmouth (who won 5-0 at St. James' last season) and queues start forming six hours before kick-off. In heatwave conditions a flaky and too individualistic United are comprehensively beaten.

24/08 - D1: Everton 2 Newcastle 1 - United are brilliant in the first half-hour, but although they take the lead they spurn a host of chances including three alarming misses. Let off the hook, the Toffeemen grab an equaliser and go on to win. Newcastle are bottom of the table.

27/08 - D1: Wolves 2 Newcastle 1 - Another hot day and once again Newcastle overplay the home side for thirty minutes before succumbing to defeat. United deservedly lead at the break, but Billy Wright inspires a revival from the Wolves. Lowrie is sent-off.

30/08 - Lowrie is not included in the First Team or the Reserves with an official stating "we have nothing to add to the team selection".

31/08 - D1: Newcastle 4 Everton 0 - Although inferior in craft, United’s more direct approach and greater fighting spirit secures the first points of the season. Part of the blame also lies with Everton goalkeeper Burnett, who was at least partially to blame for all of the goals.


01/09 - It is rumoured that Lowrie will be transfer-listed.

03/09 - D1: Newcastle 3 Aston Villa 2 - A huge crowd attends and ambulance men have to treat a few minor casualties caused by the heat and crush. It is an often ragged, but enjoyable game, where top-performer Milburn grabs a hat-trick.

03/09 - Newcastle accept a bid of £10,000 for Lowrie from Bristol City. His wife is a Bristol girl so It could be a good move for all parties. He will travel down to Bristol on Thursday.

05/09 - D1: Blackpool 0 Newcastle 0 - United fail to score for the first time, but return from Bloomfield Road with a point.

07/09 - Rutherford, Seymour and Martin all take-in the Inter-League match between Scotland and Ireland at Ibrox Park. United are one of a number of clubs interested in Irish League players Alf McMichael (left-back) and George Hannah (inside-forward). The Scots win 8-1.

G Lowrie

08/09 - After long discussions Lowrie agrees to move to Bristol City. The fee - in excess of £10,000 - is a record for a Bristol club. He joined United in March 1948 for £18,500 and scored 5 goals in 12 games.

08/09 - There are rumours that United have had a £35,000 bid for George Smith turned down by Hibernians, but this is angrily refuted by Chairman Rutherford. "It's ridiculous. Never at any time have we made an offer for Smith and it is about time these stories that we are prepared to pay such vast sums for any player were scotched".

G Hannah

A McMichael

09/09 - Newcastle pay a joint fee of £22,000 to Linfield for Alf McMichael and George Hannah. McMichael was formerly an amateur at Cliftonville and turned pro when he signed for Linfield three years ago. He soon established himself in the first team and has won several Inter-League honours. Hannah was born in Liverpool and was an amateur at Everton. He joined the army during the War and played for Linfield. The match against the Scottish League was his first Inter-League honour.

10/09 - D1: Charlton 6 Newcastle 3 - Slow and cumbersome United are outplayed in the first forty-five and could easily have trailed by more than 3 goals. They are much improved after the break and in a ding-dong battle both sides score thrice.

16/09 - United have banned players from signing autographs on the pitch before the game and during the interval. The number of spectators (mostly boys) running onto the pitch is an increasing problem for a number of clubs and against Villa the situation was so bad the start of the second-half was delayed.

17/09 - D1: Newcastle 4 Man. City 2 - Martin makes drastic changes: McMichael and Hannah make their debuts, Harvey makes his first appearance and Garbutt (Fairbrother has an ankle injury) and Graham are drafted in. Debutants McMichael and Hannah struggle with the pace of the game at times, but Brennan and Milburn are magnificent in a great battle.

19/09 - Ernie Taylor (who was dropped for Saturday's game) and Norman Dodgin have submitted transfer-requests which are to be considered by the Board.

19/09 - George Martin and Sten Seymour travel to Leicester to watch their home game with Chesterfield. They have talks with Leicester officials with regard to their clever inside-right, Don Revie, who asked for a transfer last week. A number of clubs have shown an interest but Newcastle is thought to be his most likely destination.

24/09 - D1: Fulham 2 Newcastle 1 - United take the lead but weakness in the half-back line allows the home side to come back and win. Only profligate finishing and a fine performance from Garbutt keeps the score down.

25/09 - It is revealed that Dodgin played on in yesterday's match without knowing he had a broken rib.

29/09 - Transfer requests from Sibley (who has wanted a move for some time), Stobbart and Taylor have all been granted.


01/10 - D1: Newcastle 4 Stoke 1 - A much improved performance with United displaying the enterprise and fighting spirit of the promotion season. They employ go-ahead tactics, quick into the tackle and finding their men with accurate long passes. There are several hurly-burly incidents as the tackles fly in.

G Stobbart

06/10 - George Stobbart (26) signs for Luton for £11,000.

08/10 - D1: Burnley 1 Newcastle 2 - United have an enthusiastic following at Turf Moor and they witness a dashing thriller. Newcastle give a thoroughbred exhibition of high-speed accuracy in the first-half but Burnley gradually get back into the match and the game ends with a storming finish after Burnley pull one back with five minutes left.

15/10 - D1: Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2 - Despite taking a 2-0 lead and playing against ten men for all the second-half, United's shooting lets them down and they have to settle for a share of the derby day spoils.

15/10 - Milburn scores a hat-trick and sets up another in England's victory over Wales.

17/10 - Milburn was injured in the international and an x-ray reveals a damaged bone in his right wrist.

21/10 - Newcastle announce a profit of £49,765 for the year ending 31st July. This is only slightly less than Spurs' record all-time profit and is up from £24,744 in the previous year.

25/10 - A further x-ray reveals that Milburn has fractured his wrist and is likely to be out for about six weeks.

22/10 - D1: Liverpool 2 Newcastle 2 - Liverpool are unbeaten for 12 games. It is widely regarded as one of the best League games since the War; a thrilling match in which both sides could have easily doubled their score. United play an inspired, aggressive game and miss three excellent chances when they are 2-1 ahead. Liverpool's attacking is breathless in the last 30 minutes.

29/10 - D1: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 3 - Newcastle's fighting spirit and speed fails to put Arsenal's first-class soccer out of its stride. Despite conceding an early goal Newcastle attack consistently in the first-half, but a mixture of bad shooting and bad luck lets them down and two goals in seven minutes after the break ends their hopes of a comeback.

31/10 - More injury problems for United as Mitchell has a cracked rib and is likely to be out for three weeks.

02/11 - Milburn and the Board decide to go against doctor's orders and he will play (albeit on the right-wing) at Bolton. He will wear a light plastic cast rather than a plaster.

02/11 - The Board refuse Graham's transfer request.

Leslie Downs (18) signs from Dawdon CW as an amateur. He is 5' 10" and weighs almost 12 stone. His kicking is not confined to one foot.


05/11 - D1: Bolton 2 Newcastle 2 - Milburn wears a plastic casing on his injured arm; the referee ignoring Bolton manager Walter Rowley's complaint that it could be dangerous for his players. United deserve a point in a fast and fluctuating game played out on a treacherous surface.

12/11 - D1: Newcastle 3 Birmingham 1 - The drastically reduced attendance is a result of the atrocious weather (wet and windy) which sees gates down all over the country. Before the game the groundsmen are kept busy trying to remove the surplus water from inside the goal areas. The visitors have not scored for six games and are very moderate opposition.

13/11 - Chairman George Rutherford is seriously ill in a Nursing Home.

14/11 -The AGM is held and it is revealed that although the close-season tour only earned a profit of £106 the club brought back $22,000.

19/11 - D1: Derby 1 Newcastle 0 (abandoned) - Fog causes the game to be abandoned after 75m with United trailing.

19/11 - Harvey, who has been on the sick list for a number of weeks, enters a nursing home. He will remain there for some time for observation purposes to ascertain the cause of his prolonged illness.

26/11 - D1: Newcastle 5 West Brom 1 - Torrential rain commenced during the night and has not cleared and as a result of the slippery ground mistakes are common. But with Milburn in top form the Magpies win at a canter.


03/12 - D1: Man. Utd. 1 Newcastle 1 - United have two "good goals" controversially disallowed as they gain a merited draw in a thrilling game on an Old Trafford mud-bath.

Dr. R Rutherford

07/12 - Newcastle Chairman George Rutherford passes away. He has been connected with the club for quarter of a century and joined the Board 20 years ago. He became Chairman ten years ago and has also served on the management Committee of the English League (for whom he was Vice-president) and on the council of the F.A.

M McNeil

07/12 - Seymour completes the £7,500 signing of Hibernians centre-half Matt McNeill (22) after several days of negotiations. He is 6' 2" and 12st 8lb and Seymour confidently declares "I think I have seen another Jack Hill in the making". He turned professional when he joined Hibs in 1946.

08/12 - Roy Dodds (18) signs from Scremersten VFC where he has played for three years. He is due to start his two years National Service with the RAF very soon.

United have decided to introduce a two-year rota plan for the position of Chairman, a policy operated by a number of clubs. Mr JW Lee is promoted following the death of Mr Rutherford. Aston Villa have refused to bring forward the kick-off of the match on New Years Eve. United had requested that the match started 15 minutes earlier so they could catch the train back to Newcastle. They will now have to travel back on New Year's Day.

10/12 - D1: Newcastle 2 Chelsea 2 - Although Newcastle fall considerably below their recent standards it is an entertaining game which is deservedly drawn. The visitors play the better football and dominate the first-half but having decided to defend their lead United do most of the shooting. It is a tough old day for Dodgin who is twice hit in the face by the ball and doubled up by another ball to the body.

13/12 - With United due to meet the victors in the next round the team take in Oldham's victory over Crewe at Boundary Park.

17/12 - D1: Portsmouth 1 Newcastle 0 - A punishing and (at times) ragged battle which is very heated at times. Both Dodgin and Graham are "roasted" by the crowd and spoken to by the referee following some rugged challenges. A strong end-to-end wind and poor refereeing does not help. After conceding an early goal United dominate the first-period (against the elements), but their play lacks poise and the increasingly fractious game peters out.

Milburn had his wrist plaster removed recently but he fell heavily on the same wrist during Saturday's match. Thankfully an x-ray reveals no further break.

24/12 - D1: Newcastle 2 Wolves 0 - It is a very ordinary game with the Wolves proving to be a very tame bunch. “Lightweights" Hannah and Taylor are both recalled and they are the top performers

26/12 - D1: Newcastle 0 Middlesbrough 1 - A poor game full of glaring errors.

27/12 - D1: Middlesbrough 1 Newcastle 0 - A record gate at Ayresome park as the Teessiders’ more methodical approach secures a Christmas double over United.

31/12 - D1: Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 1

A grim battle which becomes increasingly ragged as the game goes on. Villa do three-quarters of the attacking but their "storming tactics" are too crude to conquer United's determined defence. The Magpies finish the year in 12th.


07/01 - FAC R3: Oldham 2 Newcastle 7 - Some four thousand United fans - sporting rosettes, scarves and giant rattles - travel to Lancashire. United are two-ahead within six minutes and although the home side are on top for the next hour they are eventually punished by Milburn's pace.

10/01 - The Board accept Norman Dodgin’s transfer request. He started the season at left-half but got injured allowing Crowe to establish himself. After returning from injury he deputised for Harvey at right-half but was dropped after the Christmas games against Middlesbrough.

12/01 - Middlesbrough Inside-forward McKennan is suspended for a week and fined £15 for his behaviour during the Tees-Tyne derby.

14/01 - D1: Newcastle 1 Charlton 0 - A drab game In which United never really get going and Fairbrother has to be at his best to prevent Charlton from scoring. The Charlton defence is weak but the United forward-line is well off-form; although three efforts are cleared off the line.

16/01 - Seymour and Martin have been on the road fruitlessly scouting for six days. Seymour states that they have "not met a club willing to part with any players".

Tickets go on sale for the Cup match at Stamford Bridge and some fans start queuing before 5am (many of them women deputising for their husbands) and the tickets sell-out within twenty minutes of the box-office opening.

Ernie Taylor once again requests - and is granted - to be made available for transfer. He made a request earlier in the season and although it was initially granted injuries to Mitchell and Milburn led to the Board changing its mind.

21/01 - D1: Man. City 1 Newcastle 1 - After fifty minutes of dull, tedious football Hannah brings a splash of colour to the game and opens the scoring. The skill level does not increase but City equalise in a hectic finish. The home side are all nerves and hastiness whilst a half-steam United seem to have their minds on next week's Cup tie.

The Newcastle players have protested to the Board that a £5 fine imposed on Ernie Taylor for failing to turn up for a reserve fixture is too severe. On the occasion in question Taylor had not initially been selected to play for any of the three teams, but was called up at the last minute. Taylor has stated that he could not play due to a family illness.

28/01 - FAC R4: Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0 - Eleven special trains carry 8,000 Newcastle and Sunderland (for their game at Tottenham) supporters and they arrive in London waving rattles and singing lustily. In all, 30,000 fans from the North East travel to the Smoke. The home forwards give a superlative, sure-footed display and win comfortably against a pathetic Newcastle.

30/01 - England "B" will meet their Dutch counterparts at St James' on the 22nd February, Milburn is selected and Fairbrother is a reserve.


04/02 - D1: Newcastle 3 Fulham 1 - A much-changed side beats Fulham, but the visitors could easily have taken both points. They miss numerous chances in the first-half and are then undone by three players getting injured and becoming passengers.

11/02 - Fr: Newcastle 3 Middlesbrough 2 - Two pieces of characteristic opportunism from Milburn secure the points in the last fifteen minutes.

15/02 - An x-ray shows that Jackie Milburn has fractured a toe in training and is likely to be out for a month.

18/02 - D1: Stoke 1 Newcastle 0 - The football is not of a very high class and United (who twice hit the woodwork) are unlucky to lose. Highlight of the day comes when a dog runs on the pitch and evades all attempts at capture before running off the field of his own accord.

21/02 - Wednesday manager Eric Taylor has not given up on Robledo and returns to Newcastle. It is believed he is prepared to take George's brother Ted too, who will also be allowed to carry on with his University studies.

21/02 - Houghton has submitted a transfer request but the Board refuse to allow him to leave.

23/02 - Robledo telephones Wednesday manager Eric Taylor to tell him he wants to stay at Newcastle.

25/02 - D1: Newcastle 0 Burnley 0 - United are very poor and have Brennan and Fairbrother to thank for them not getting beat. Burnley take most of the football honours but are also guilty of some astonishing misses. A whirlwind blizzard after the break covers the pitch with snow in a matter of minutes.

28/02 - Barnsley have enquired upon the fee for Taylor and it is thought they have been quoted £20,000. They will discuss this at their Board meeting tonight but is likely to be too much for them.


04/03 - D1: Sunderland 2 Newcastle 2 - A League record attendance at Roker Park of 68,004 with many more locked out. It is a most enjoyable game in which the play is fast, alternating and sporting. Despite this referee Holt wants to exert strict control and administers a number of lectures including one to Shackleton who has his name taken for some retort.

The Board hold a "hush-hush" meeting (without the manager or any other officials) to discuss United's poor form and to find a way to restore confidence amongst the players and the - increasingly critical - fans. It is thought that they were ready to discuss "new appointments", but the performance and result at Roker Park seems to have raised spirits and nothing concrete comes of the meeting.

11/03 - D1: Newcastle 2 Derby 1 - Newcastle take advantage of the wind at their backs in the first half and do just enough to win with Taylor, who demonstrates some remarkable tricks, the top performer.

18/03 - D1: West Brom. 1 Newcastle 1 - It is another windy day and the ball proves difficult to control. Despite the conditions both teams offer grand entertainment and United come from behind to earn a draw.

25/03 - D1: Newcastle 3 Bolton 1 - United beat the Wanderers in a game in which the football is fitful and boisterous

29/03 - D1: Derby 1 Newcastle 1 - Both sides play the best football possible in difficult conditions; a liberally sanded, concrete-hard ground and a light-as-a-feather ball.


01/04 - D1: Birmingham 0 Newcastle 2 - Struggling Birmingham's play is riddled with tension and it is a fairly comfortable victory.

07/04 - D1: Newcastle 0 Huddersfield 0 - The combination of a strong wind, hard pitch and light ball does not make for a good game but both sides still manage to play some clever football.

08/04 - D1: Newcastle 5 Liverpool 1 - Despite losing goalkeeper Jack Fairbrother half-way through the second-half United coast home against the visitors who had to play with ten men after losing Stubbins within the first half-hour.

11/04 - D1: Huddersfield 1 Newcastle 2 - United come from behind to take both points. The game is played at Elland Road because Huddersfield's ground is closed due to fire damage. It is their biggest crowd of the season so far.

15/04 - D1: Arsenal 4 Newcastle 2 - A first senior hat-trick for youngster Peter Goring in the first 48 minutes kills off United's hopes.

19/04 - There are strong rumours circulating that Milburn is on his way to Derby. It is alleged that although he has not asked to be listed he would "rather like a move".

26/04 - Harvey (who is captain) and Milburn play for the English League against the Irish League at Windsor Park. Jackie's cousin Stan also plays. Milburn scores all three goals in a 3-1 victory.

22/04 - D1: Newcastle 2 Man. Utd. 1 - Milburn and Walker get the goals, but it is a superb display of goalkeeping from Lowery that secures the victory in a thrilling game played like a cup-tie.

26/04 - Fr: Newcastle 2 Dundee 3 - The visiting Scots play the superior football. Their centre-forward Gerrie wants to come to England and Newcastle have first-refusal.

29/04 - D1: Chelsea 1 Newcastle 3 - A game of comedy, thrills, mystery and drama provides excellent entertainment. United exhibit superior control of the wet ball and produce a dazzling display of attacking football with Walker at the fore.


04/05 - A weekend newspaper report claimed that Brennan has asked for a transfer but both the player and manager Martin deny that this is the case. It is alleged that Newcastle had made £50,000 available to sign George Aitken and Alan Brown (East Fife) and Syd Gerrie (Dundee) but the clubs were not willing to sell.

05/05 - United list 14 players including Dodgin, Fraser, Smith and Sibley.

06/05 - D1: Newcastle 3 Blackpool 0 - In the last game, man-of-the-match Taylor inspires United to an easy victory despite the atrocious conditions with a waterlogged pitch caused by a continual deluge of rain. The result takes Newcastle to their highest position of the season, fifth

08/05 - Newcastle have turned down an offer to go to Germany to play a Select XI at Gelsenkirchen as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations. They have decided the trip is not practicable. They have also turned down a number of other offers including one from Turkey.

11/05 - Fr: Newcastle 2 Ayr 1 - A friendly in aid of Ashington YMCA Building Club is played at Portland Park in Ashington. Mitchell scores twice in a half-hearted victory over the Scottish Division 2 side.

15/05 - Newcastle sign inside-forward Bobby Ayre (18) from Berwick Rangers Juveniles. A grocer, he has played-for England in Army cadet matches and has represented Northumberland.

18/05 - Milburn plays for England against Belgium but is injured after 15 minutes.

23/05 - Joe Steele moves to Bury. The reserve outside-left played 25 games in the Central League last season, scoring 6 goals.

29/05 - Tommy Walker wins the 100-yards handicap which nets him £50 at the Northumberland British Legion Sports at Wooler.