|Top Scorer||B Robson (11)|
A close-season talent search came to nought and United spent another season fighting desperately against relegation. They survived by the skin of their teeth; two wins in their last home games giving them a four points advantage over relegated Villa.
Once again the main problem was upfront with a paltry 39 goals in 42 games, but at the other end things weren't much better as they conceded 81.
There were some disastrous results along the way including a 6-0 thrashing at Blackpool; the relegated Tangerines' only home win all season. Both derby matches also ended in 3-0 reverses.
Harvey finally broke through in the transfer market when he signed centre-forward Wyn Davies from Bolton for a club record £80,000 and goalkeeper Iam McFaul for a mere £7,000. But things didn't improve and the whole squad (apart from the Welshman and Suddick) was transfer listed at one point.
Harvey then made the controversial decision to sell crowd favourite Suddick to Blackpool to fund the signings of John McNamee, Dave Elliot and Tommy Robson. Although Robson failed to make an impact the other two certainly strengthened the back-line and helped prevent United dropping back into the Second.
In the League Cup United exited at the first stage against Leeds whilst in the FA Cup they lost 3-0 at Forest after a thrilling 4-3 victory over Coventry in the Third.
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
The Magpies struggled even more in their second-season in the top-flight and they only survived relegation by 4 points.
Not only did they struggle to score (39 goals equalling the - up to then - worst record set in 1913-14) but they also conceded regularly too (81 goals). The goal difference of -42 was the worst in the club's history.
This was mainly the result of some hammerings away from home: 0-6 at Blackpool, 0-5 at Leeds, 1-5 at Fulham, 0-4 at Tottenham and 1-6 at West Brom.
Winning only 3 of the first 12 games, United were 16th after beating Manchester City at home on October 15th. In the next match they were thrashed 6-0 by table-footers Blackpool and the club responded by paying out a record fee for Wyn Davies.
The Welshman's arrival did nothing to halt the slide and United had slumped to the bottom of the table by the end of the year.
Harvey knew he had to make changes and he sold Suddick to finance the arrival of centre-back McNamee, midfielder Elliot and winger Robson.
AIthough the performances did not massively improve, United won one more than they lost and did just enough to survive.
|R3||28/1||A||Coventry (D2 - 1st)||W||4-3|
|R4||18/2||A||Nottm F (D1 - 3rd)||L||0-3|
R3 - The Sky Blues topped Division 2 and had already notched 51 League goals in comparison to United’s 20. Hilley was superb and Wyn Davies grabbed a hat-trick in a thrilling encounter.
R4 - Forest were having an excellent season and Newcastle were no match for them at the City Ground.
|R2||13/9||A||Leeds Utd (D1 - 10th)||L||0-1|
R2- Leeds tore into the Magpies like tigers and only Marshall and the woodwork (on three occasions) prevented a thrashing.
With United struggling to hang on to top flight status during the previous campaign mainly due to a lack of firepower it was no secret that United were after a quality centre-forward and a winger to supply him.
But although Harvey was linked with a number of players there were no new faces at the start of the season. Speculation in the media suggested the failings were largely a result of a lack of cash.
Allegedly Ron Davies could have arrived from Norwich if United had been prepared to match the £50,000 fee that the Canaries wanted. Davies ended up going to Southampton and was the top scorer in the League. Also Celtic manager Jock Stein blasted the directors over their handling of an abortive move for John Hughes accusing them of "stealing publicity" (ie making a play for a player they had no intention of signing).
In an attempt to raise some cash Harvey was looking to offload a number of players including McGarry, Penman, Knox, Napier and Hollins but willing buyers were just as elusive.
The summer was dominated by England's World Cup success, but on a parochial level the United fans missed on seeing games played at SJP as a result of the ongoing battle between the club and the council.
The war of words continued with the council and the club used the programme for the Fulham game to print a double page justification of their position.
They rejected claims that they had done nothing to improve facilities and pointed to a number of development requests turned down by the council.
As a consequence they made it clear in capital letters that "THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER THAT THE BLAME FOR THE LOSS OF THE WORLD CUP MATCHES LIES ENTIRELY WITH NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL".
They claimed that long-term planning was impossible with the five-year lease that they had been forced to sign (which was due to expire in January 1971) and complained bitterly about a 500% increase in the rent to £2,500 per year.
Large elements of the Gallowgate crowd were revolting against the board. The continuing struggle against relegation was laid directly at their door with their lack of spending being adjudged the primary factor.
The AGM was held at the start of October and most of the discussion centered around the club's shortage of money.
Shareholder Ernest Pringle put forward an "invest in United" plan which involved the club raising £250,000 capital by issuing shares on debentures.
The directors - having taken "professional advice" later decided that they thought the plan would not work claiming the Stock Market would "not accept" a football club due to it's fluctuating profits. They also said it would be too costly to administer and not feasible given the fact that the club's lease on the ground ran out in four years time.
Council leader Bert Abrahart declared himself "disgusted" and responded by demanding the wholesale resignation of the Board. He also reiterated that there was no way that the council would not renew the lease; although it was laced with a threat as he suggested the new lease would "carry conditions" about how the land was to be used.
As it happens there was more entrenchment, ex RAF Squadron leader and current glass manufacturer Jimmy Rush was co-opted to the board to replace the recently deceased Wally Hurford.
Ernest Pringle described the decision as ludicrous and suggested that the directors did not want to go to the stock exchange because they did not want to lose their control over the club.
So the impasse deepened and the ground remained undeveloped as encapsulated by Mr Pringle: "show me another ground in England where there is a refreshment counter eight feet from a toilet."
There was also talk of internal dissention with suggestions of disagreements between Harvey and the directors over transfer policy whilst Lord Westwood was forced to publicly deny that the board had meddled with team selection.
Coach Jimmy Greenhalgh left to take over as manager of Darlington; he was replaced by Ron Lewin
Total number of games: 45
Total number of players used: 28
01: (3) Marshall or McFaul
02: (3) Craig or Craggs
03: (2) Clark
04: (6) Burton > Elliott
05: (4) Thompson > McNamee
06: (5) lley
07: (6) Robson > Bennett
08: (7) Bennett > Noble
09: (2) McGarry > Davies
10: (4) Hilley
11: (5) Suddick > Knox > Alien > Robson
Harvey had drawn a blank during the summer from both a buying and selling point of view and he made no secret of the fact that he desperately wanted to strengthen the team.
United were being constantly linked with players and they made an unsuccessful £100,000 bid for QPR stars Rodney Marsh and Roger Young.
The breakthrough finally came when United almost doubled their previous record fee to bring Wyn Davies from Bolton for £80,000, although it took a few phone calls home to his mother before he finally put pen to paper.
|Kettleborough Keith||12/1966||Doncaster Rovs||£12,000|
Pop Robson won the Professional Footballers' Golf Championship with a round of 70 at Kenilworth.
The most important match of the year was the belated testimonial given to Jackie Milburn. When he left United in 1957 he had given them fourteen fantastic years but rather than reward him with a benefit and a free pass out they demanded a £10,000 fee and a player from buyers Linfield. Was this a case of the board relenting? Not really, it was the Supporters Club who put forward the idea and helped organise it; the club merely made the ground available.
United's 51 Cup winning team (minus Robledo) was re-united to take on a former International X1 in a 30 minute game followed by a full match between a Jackie Milburn XI and an International XI which included Bobby Charlton and Ferenc Puskas. Unfortunately bad weather brought proceedings to a premature halt.
The match was attended by 45,404 people and produced receipts of £8,200 which enabled Jackie to pay off his mortgage. Jackie was typically modest. "I am delighted, thrilled and quite frankly a little embarrassed. I really do not feel I merit it at all."
Another former player who was making the headlines was Ronnie Simpson. Deemed not good enough for United at the end of the fifties he won a European Cup Winners medal with Celtic.
Another struggle against relegation but the average attendance - boosted by some big end of season turn outs - stayed steady at just over 32,000. The lowest turnout was 16,253 for the visit of Man City; the best was 57,643 for the Tyne-Wear derby.
The early season terrace songs reflected the poor start to the season with "We're going down in a sinking submarine" and "When the Board go marching out" both getting a regular airing.
But it was the increasingly lewd songs and chants that were causing most consternation and the Supporters Club and directors were in unison on this. Len Coates, secretary of the Supporters Club said "at recent matches some of the chants have been obscene. Good natured bantering with opposing supporters has long been accepted by travelling supporters, but there is no excuse whatsoever for the unpleasant references made to them this season."
Lord Westwood stated "some of the songs are very dirty and embarrassing".
Meanwhile the club itself started playing records at the match "supplied by and obtainable from Messrs, Jeavons, Percy Street and Pudding Chare".
In reality there were bigger issues arising as the spectre of hooliganism continued to raise it's ugly head. It was a national issue with numerous incidents of missile throwing, ambushes and souvenir collecting.
Not surprisingly the general disaffection amongst United supporters occasionally manifested itself in violence. The worst trouble was encountered in the home game against Everton when fighting broke out on The Leazes and coins and bottles were thrown onto the pitch.
The Supporters Club stated it was "greatly disturbed by recent demonstrations at the club by so-called supporters" and urged true fans to cooperate with the police and the club to deal with them.
The National Federation of Supporters' Clubs secretary Tony Pullein suggested that if things continued "someone will be seriously or fatally injured one day" and asked Supporters' Clubs to set up "silent vigilante committees who would report any incidents to the police".
Officials from The Football League met up with some of Britain's Chief Constables in Manchester to discuss possible solutions and Newcastle announced that it had devised - in conjuction with Northumbria Police - a "secret plan" for dealing with the trouble makers. Unfortunately therefore we cannot tell you what it was.
One United supporter went to court to claim that the police had no powers inside the ground as it was private property but the case was thrown out on the basis that they are in the ground at the club's request and have full authority to enforce law and order.
Whilst hooliganism was the main concern the clubs were getting increasingly concerned about the number of "pitch invasions" by youngsters. These were usually joyous events in celebration of a goal but had been known to turn ugly like when Wolves star Derek Dougan turned to celebrate his goal with a supporter and found himself being punched in the face by a Millwall devotee.
When Wyn Davies scored against Chelsea hundreds swarmed on causing "untold damage" (to the playing surface) and prompting the referee to threaten to abandon the match. They swarmed back on at the end of the match too making it "very difficult" for the players to leave the field.
Concerned about potential sanctions and damage to the pitch the club warned that the Boys' gates would be closed and that the police had been empowered to remove any invaders from the ground.
Despite the prevailing disillusionment the FA Cup could still stoke the imagination and almost 10,000 fans made the trip to Nottingham for the FA Cup Fourth Round tie with Forest. Joe Harvey praised their "incredible loyalty" whilst Jim Iley more pointedly stated that it proved "what a small minority must cause the unsporting barracking at home games".
Fans attending the City Ground, Nottingham, were warned not to bring any flags or banners on poles as the police would confiscate them.
The Supporter's Club was going from strength to strength and now had over 6000 members. Profits for the season topped the £1,000 mark and the organisers were keen to use this money for the benefit of the club. Secretary Len Coates revealed that they were having regular meetings with the club in an effort to form a closer bond with the club's Development Association.
The Association had been set up primarily to raise cash for the maintenance and development of the ground into a "first-class" facility.
In return they wanted more permanent premises at St James' Park. At that time they only had a small space in the Gymnasium on match days to supplement their Tuesday evening residence at the British Railways Social Club on Forth Banks.
The BBC attempted to end the ban on live televised football by offering three quarters of a million pounds for a three year deal. The ban had been imposed because of falling attendances and the offer was turned down.