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NUFC 1949/50 - Season Review

Division 15th
FA CupR4
ChairmanG Rutherford, J Lee
ManagerG Martin
CoachN Smith
CaptainJ Harvey
Top ScorerJ Milburn (21)

The near success of the previous season had raised expectations that United could win their first trophy since 1932, but, with captain Harvey out injured for a number of weeks, they made a bad start to the season. Two defeats against Middlesbroughover the festive period left them in 15th.

They recovered well in the New Year, losing only two of the last nineteen games. Five wins in their last six games took them up to 5th.

New arrivals included George Hannah and Alf McMichael while big name departures included Georges Lowrie and Stobbart.

United thrashed Oldham 7-2 in the FA Cup Third Round but were easily beaten by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Fourth.

Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission


Division 1

20/8 H Portsmouth L 1-3
24/8 A Everton L 1-2
27/8 A Wolves L 1-2
31/8 H Everton W 4-0
03/9 H Aston Villa W 3-2
05/9 A Blackpool D 0-0
10/9 A Charlton L 3-6
17/9 H Man City W 4-2
24/9 A Fulham L 1-2
01/10 H Stoke W 4-1
08/10 A Burnley W 2-1
15/10 H Sunderland D 2-2
22/10 A Liverpool D 2-2
29/10 H Arsenal L 0-3
05/11 A Bolton D 2-2
12/11 H Birmingham W 3-1
26/11 H WBA W 5-1
03/12 A Man Utd D 1-1
10/12 H Chelsea D 2-2
17/12 A Portsmouth L 0-1
24/12 H Wolves W 2-0
26/12 H Middlesbrough L 0-1
27/12 A Middlesbrough L 0-1
31/12 A Aston Villa W 1-0
14/1 H Charlton W 1-0
21/1 A Man City D 1-1
04/2 H Fulham W 3-1
18/2 A Stoke L 0-1
25/2 H Burnley D 0-0
04/3 A Sunderland D 2-2
11/3 H Derby W 2-1
18/3 A WBA D 1-1
25/3 H Bolton W 3-1
29/3 A Derby D 1-1
01/4 A Birmingham W 2-0
07/4 H Huddersfield D 0-0
08/4 H Liverpool W 5-1
11/4 A Huddersfield W 2-1
15/4 A Arsenal L 2-4
22/4 H Man Utd W 2 - 1
29/4 A Chelsea W 3-1
06/5 H Blackpool W 3-0
W D L F A Pts
01 Portsmouth 22 9 11 74 38 53
02 Wolves 20 13 9 76 49 53
03 Sunderland 21 10 11 83 62 52
04 Man Utd 18 14 10 69 44 50
05 Newcastle 19 12 11 77 55 50
06 Arsenal 19 11 12 79 55 49
07 Blackpool 17 15 10 46 35 49
08 Liverpool 17 14 11 64 54 48
09 Middlesbrough 20 7 15 59 48 47
10 Burnley 16 13 13 40 40 45
11 Derby 17 10 15 69 61 44
12 Aston Villa 15 12 15 61 61 42
13 Chelsea 12 16 14 58 65 40
14 West Brom 14 12 16 47 53 40
15 Huddersfield 14 9 19 52 73 37
16 Bolton 10 14 18 45 59 34
17 Fulham 10 14 18 41 54 34
18 Everton 10 14 18 42 66 34
19 Stoke 11 12 19 45 75 34
20 Charlton 13 6 23 53 65 32
21 Man City 8 13 21 36 68 29
22 Birmingham 7 14 21 31 67 28

FA Cup

R3 07/1 A Oldham W 7-2
R4 28/1 A Chelsea L 0-3

Squad and Team

Batty R 20
Brennan F 43
Corbett B 13
Cowell B 20
Craig B 7
Crowe C 28
Dodgin N 17
Fairbrother J 24
Garbutt E 15
Graham D 17
Graver A 1
Hair G 27
Harvey J 22
Houghton F 34
Lowery J 5
Lowrie G 3
McMichael A 11
Milburn J 32
Mitchell B 40
Robledo G 32
Robledo E 1
Sibley J 3
Smith T 1
Taylor E 22
Thompson T 6
Walker T 40

Total Number of Games: 44

Total Number of Players Used: 26

Embed from Getty Images

01: Fairbrother/Garbutt

02: Graham > Cowell

03: Batty/McMichael > Corbett

04: Houghton/Dodgin > Harvey

05: Brennan

06: Crowe

07: Walker

08: Robledo G/Taylor

09: Milburn

10: Robledo G/Taylor > Hannah

11: Mitchell

Player Moves

Toon In

Name Date From Fee
Hannah George 09/49 Linfield £16,500
McMichael Alf 09/49 Linfield £16,500
McNeil Matthew 12/49 Hibernians £6,400

G Hannah

Newcastle paid a joint fee of £22,000 to Linfield for Alf McMichael and George Hannah. McMichael had won several Inter-League honours.

A McMichael

Toon Out

Name Date To Fee
Lowrie George 09/49 Bristol City £10,000
Stobbart George 10/49 Luton £11,000

G Lowrie

George Lowrie was sold within days of being sent-off in the match against Wolves.

G Stobbart


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

A "hush-hush" meeting (without the manager or any other officials) was held in March to discuss United's poor form and to find a way to restore confidence amongst both the players and the increasingly critical fans. It was thought that they were ready to discuss "new appointments”, but a good performance at Roker Park just before it was held seemed to raise spirits and nothing concrete came of the meeting.

Newcastle Chairman George Rutherford passed away. He had been connected with the club for quarter of a century and joined the Board twenty years ago. He became Chairman ten years ago and also served on the management Committee of the English League (for whom he was Vice-President) and on the council of the F.A. Vice-Chairman. JW Lee took over the post.

The Board decided to introduce a two-year rota plan for the position of Chairman, a policy already operated by a number of clubs.

There were rumours in March that a Shareholders Association was to be formed with the aim of increasing the size of the Board from eight directors to twelve.

United were linked with numerous big-name signings including Gordon Smith of Hibernians and at one stage there were rumours that United had failed with a massive £35,000 bid for him. This was 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".

Scotland had always been a happy-hunting ground for United, but the club now struggled to sign Scottish players as the best could earn three-times as much in the Scottish League.

In January Seymour and Martin spent six days on the road fruitlessly scouting for new blood. Seymour stated that they had "not met a club willing to part with any players".

East Fife had become so tired of clubs like Newcastle scouting their players that they sent out a circular making it dear that none of their players were available for sale.

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


American Tour

The team covered over 16,000 miles on their 6-week tour of America including 20 days travelling in trains. The last match was cancelled due to the staleness and fatigue of the players.

Director Westwood claimed that the $4 per day allowance provided on the tour was causing discontent amongst the players and he sympathised "I would not like to visit America on an allowance like that and expect to enjoy myself, even to a limited degree." A sandwich cost $1.5.

Clubs in British Colombia revealed that they were interested in signing Milburn, Fairbrother, Harvey, Graham, Fraser, Brennan and Mitchell in order to boost the quality of their game. Although they would be offered at least £8 per week and lucrative jobs outside football none of the players were interested. A club official also stated that "I don't think there's enough money in all Canadian football to pay the transfer fees".

Ernie Taylor's Fine

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

George Robledo

In February Sheffield Wednesday agreed a fee with United for the purchase of George Robledo. The player turned down the move after family discussions. Robledo lived in a club house with his mother and two brothers and his mother did not want to split the family up.

Jobs and Education

There were Rumours that the Board may no longer allow any players to take part-time jobs. Although this was encouraged in the past, some recent requests had been blocked.

The English FA introduced a scheme whereby they sponsored education courses for players. United stated they were happy to let their players attend and were willing to pay their fees as long as the courses did not interfere with their regular training.


Jackie Milburn was presented with a gold watch (worth £25) in recognition of the international honours he received last season.

Milburn scored a hat-trick and set up another in England's 4-1 victory over Wales but did not feature again until the end of season games against Belgium and Portugal. He was selected for the World Cup squad.

George Robledo represented Chile in the World Cup making his debut in the group game against England.

Alf McMichael remained a regular for Ireland and when England "B" met their Dutch counterparts at St James, Milburn played and Fairbrother was a reserve.

Bob Stokoe played for the Army team in a number of fixtures.

Harvey (captain) and Milburn played for the English League against the Irish League at Windsor Park in April. Milburn scored all three goals in a 3-1 victory.

Tommy Walker won the 100-yards handicap (and £50) at the Northumberland British Legion Sports at Wooler in May.


On the day tickets went on sale for the Cup Tie at Chelsea, fans started queuing before 5am (many of them women deputising for their husbands) and the tickets sold-out within twenty minutes of the box-office opening.

Four North-East members of the frigate Amethyst were given a civic reception and attended the match against Birmingham.

United had to ban the players from signing autographs on the pitch before the game and during the interval due to the number of spectators (mostly boys) running onto the pitch. Against Aston Villa the situation was so bad the start of the second-half was delayed.

Strange But Toon

When Newcastle played their away fixture against Huddersfield the match had to be moved to Elland Road due to a fire which destroyed the main stand at their Leeds Road ground on the previous night.

During the match against Newcastle officials saw smoke coming up between a section of seats and firemen discovered wood and rubbish on fire. They sorted the issue out whilst the game went on, as one spectator clarified after the game. "People were far too interested in watching the game to take any notice of the firemen. A few people had to leave their seats, but the rest stayed where they were".

In November Tommy Walker conducted the service at the Bond? Memorial Methodist Church on Nichol Street.

In an article in The Sphere on the Zulu dancers of Witwatersrand it was revealed that, as well as their more traditional costumes, some of them were attired with more modern items including deer hides and Newcastle United shirts.

On their return from America the United party arrived back in Liverpool 24-hours behind schedule as they had been hit by a freak Atlantic storm. The captain admitted that "we've never seen such a storm before". United skipper Harvey laughed it off, but admitted "I think everyone in the team was sick".


Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission

1940s Seasons