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NUFC 1968/69 - Season Review

Div 19th
Fairs CupWon
FA CupR4
League CupR3
ChairmanL Westwood
ManagerJ Harvey
CoachD Smith
CaptainB Moncur
Top ScorerB Robson (30)

Newcastle confounded both their critics and their supporters by beating a number of crack foreign sides to win the Fairs Cup; it was a remarkable triumph.

Unfortunately the semi-final saw major trouble with Rangers' fans bringing the game to a halt.

The European exploits certainly impacted their domestic form and after only one win in the first twelve matches United were 20th. After that their home form was excellent (11-3-0) and the Magpies finished the season in 8th.

In the FA Cup they lost to Manchester City after a replay; Southampton coasted to victory in the League Cup.

With relationships between the club and the council deteriorating United obtained planning permission for building a new stadium in Gosforth.

Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission


League Division 1

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An overall W-D-L record of 15-14-13 resulted in a ninth placed finish. United were very much reliant on their home form which improved as the season wore on.

Away form was poor and particularly disappointing against the teams in the bottom half of the table; their record against the top six was better than the record against the bottom six.

Captain Moncur was injured in pre-season and United made a bad start which only brought one win in the first twelve matches and 20th position by the start of October.

Moncur returned and United recorded three wins in succession (including two away from home) which lifted them to 12th. But although the Magpies started winning games at home they struggled away from Tyneside and remained stuck in mid-table until Christmas.

ln the New Year the same pattern continued. United were very impressive at home - where they only dropped two points - but away from home they only won one more game; a surprise victory at high-riding Tottenham.

H WHU D 1-1
A Sheff Wed D 1-1
A Burnley L 0-1
H Chelsea W 3-2
H Everton D 0-0
H Nottm F D 1-1
A Sunderland D 1-1
A Coventry L 1-2
H WBA L 2-3
A Man Utd L 1-3
H Tottenham D 2-2
H Leeds L 0-1
A Nottm F W 4-2
A Ipswich W 4-1
H QPR W 3-2
A Liverpool L 1-2
H Leicester D 0-0
A Arsenal D 0-0
H Man City W 1-0
A Wolves L 0-5
H Southampton W 4-1
A Stoke L 0-1
H Ipswich W 2-1
A QPR D 1-1
A Leeds L 1-2
A Leicester L 1-2
H Arsenal W 2-1
A Southampton D 0-0
A WHU L 1-3
H Burnley W 1-0
H Sunderland D 1-1
H Coventry W 2-0
A Tottenham W 1-0
A Chelsea D 1-1
H Sheff Wed W 3-2
H Man Utd W 2-0 H
A Everton D 1-1
A WBA L 1-5
H Wolves W 4-1
H Stoke W 5-0
A Man City L 0-1
H Liverpool D 1-1

Leeds 0-1 1-2
Liverpool 1-1 1-2
Everton 0-0 1-1
Arsenal 2-1 0-0
Chelsea 3-2 1-1
Tottenham 2-2 1-0
Southampton 4-1 0-0
West Ham 1-1 1-3
West Brom 2-3 1-5
Man United 2-0 1-3
Ipswich 2-1 4-1
Man City 1-0 0-1
Burnley 1-0 0-1
Sheff Wed 3-2 1-1
Wolves 4-1 0-5
Sunderland 1-1 1-1
Nottm Forest 1-1 4-2
Stoke 5-0 0-1
Coventry 2-0 1-2
Leicester 0-0 1-2
QPR 3-2 1-1
01 Leeds 27 13 2 66 26 67
02 Liverpool 25 11 6 63 24 61
03 Everton 21 15 6 77 36 57
04 Arsenal 22 12 8 56 27 56
05 Chelsea 20 10 12 73 53 50
06 Tottenham 14 17 11 61 51 45
07 Southampton 16 13 13 57 48 45
08 West Ham 13 18 11 66 50 44
09 Newcastle 15 14 13 61 55 44
10 West Brom 16 11 15 64 67 43
11 Man United 15 12 15 57 53 42
12 Ipswich 15 11 16 59 60 41
13 Man City 15 10 17 64 55 40
14 Burnley 15 9 18 55 82 39
15 Sheff Wed 10 16 16 41 54 36
16 Wolves 10 15 17 41 58 35
17 Sunderland 11 12 19 43 67 34
18 Nottm Forest 10 13 19 45 57 33
19 Stoke 9 15 18 40 63 33
20 Coventry 10 11 21 46 64 31
21 Leicester 9 12 21 39 68 30
22 QPR 4 10 28 39 95 18

Fairs Cup

H Feyenoord W 4-0
A Feyenoord L 0-2
A Sporting Lisboa D 1-1
H Sporting Lisboa W 1-0
A Real Zaragoza L 2-3
H Real Zaragoza W 2-1
H Vitoria Setubal W 5-1
A Vitoria Setubal L 1-3
A Rangers D 0-0
H Rangers W 2-0
H Ujpest Dosza W 3-0
A Ujpest Dosza W 3-2
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R1: At SJP United gave a fantastic display of attacking football in which they showed that they were not just hard-workers as they destroyed the Dutchmen with their pace and speed of thought. Naivety in conceding possession nearly cost them in the away leg but some desperate defending saw them through.

R2: United put in a wonderfully disciplined performance to return from Lisbon on equal terms. The Magpies made an electrifying start in the second leg and scored with a brilliantly executed free-kick routine which was enough to take them through.

R3: United suffered their first Fairs Cup defeat against their best opponents yet, but Harvey was satisfied with the narrow defeat and two away goals. A tight, but deserved victory at St. James' took United through on the away goals rule.

QF: Setubal struggled to adapt to the wintry conditions and never looked up for the fight. After the game manager Vaz accused United of being "killers". With time running out in Portugal the home side became increasingly desperate and their behaviour became more and more brutal. Moncur called Setubal "a disgrace to soccer".

SF: At Ibrox it was a close, tense affair with very few clear cut chances and was far from a classic. United's defence were nothing short of heroic and 'keeper McFaul saved a penalty. Newcastle made it through to the final despite the worst efforts of the Rangers fans who tried to get the second-leg abandoned.

F: Ujpest Dozsa's players made up over half of the classy Hungarian national team and they had just completed their domestic double. On Tyneside United struggled to get their game together until a Moncur double set them on their way. In the return the Hungarians led 2-0 at the break but at half-time Harvey prophetically told the players; score once and they will crumble.

FA Cup

H Reading W 4-0
H Man City D 0-0
A Man City L 0-2

R3: A comfortable home victory over 3rd Division Reading (managed by former player Roy Bentley).

R4: Man City are unlucky to hit the woodwork twice at St James' and deservedly win the replay at Maine Road.

League Cup

A Southport W 2-0
A Southampton L 1-4

R2: A relatively comfortable victory at Third Division Southport.

R3: An understrength Magpie side are dispatched easily by at The Dell.


Joe Harvey

The Fairs Cup run brought hitherto unheard of financial gains. Total income reached nearly a quarter of a million, net income was over £44,000 and 1969/70 season tickets sold out immediately.

It was to be Joe Harvey's greatest hour as Newcastle manager and he was deservedly rewarded with a new 5-year contract and a £6,000 "thank you" payment.

He scouted the opposition before each round and allegedly compiled extensive dossiers. However Frank Clark would later deny all knowledge of such assiduous planning and mischievously suggested the only reports would have been on the local hostelries.

lt was a long hard road for Harvey who smoked his way through the rounds whilst also having to keep a number of unsettled players happy.

Coach Dave Smith got a wage rise and a £1,000 bonus.

Harvey was also brave enough to give a number of youngsters a chance and he was repaid with some excellent performances from the likes of Dyson, Foggon and Craggs.

The success of the youngsters drafted in also reflected well on reserve team coach Keith Burkinshaw.

St James'

The row between the club and the council continued unabated with United actually applying for planning permission to build a new stadium at Gosforth Park whilst the council continued to pursue their plans to turn St James' into a multi-sports complex which would be shared by the club and the University.

Such was the stand-off that Denis Howell- the Minister of Sport - was asked to intervene and he appointed a working committee led by Lord Longsdale. But despite some signs of progress the matter remained unresolved.

Squad and Team

Allen, G 14 0 1
Arentoft, B 14 0 3
Bennett, A 3 1
Burton, O 49 1 1
Clark, F 54 0
Craggs, J 20 0
Craig, D 38 0 1
Davies, W 52 0 15
Duffy, A 1 0
Dyson, K 21 1 6
Elliott, D 19 2
Foggon, A 27 7 7
Gibb, T 58 0 7
Guthrie, R 6 1
Hindson, G 2 0
Hope, J 1 0
Horsfield, A 8 2 3
Iley, J 2 5
McFaul, I 58 0
McNamee, J 27 2 3
Moncur, B 43 0 3
Robson, B 59 0 30
Robson, T 3 1
Ross, E 2 0
Scott, J 40 2 7
Sinclair, J 25 4 5
Winstanley, G 3 1

Total number of games: 59

Total number of players used: 27



Harvey suprised everyone by making McFaul his Number 1 at the start of the season. He missed only one game and impressed everyone with his agility and bravery.


David Craig took over from Burton at right-back and partnered Frank Clark. John Craggs also played a number of matches at right-back. New captain Moncur was partnered by either McNamee or Burton.


New signing Tommy Gibb was the only consistently used midfielder, Arentoft became a regular after he was signed. Elliot played in a third of the games and the midfield slots were often filled by wingers being asked to play a bit deeper.


Pop Robson spent most of 1967/68 in the reserves, but he was the only ever-present (with a record-breaking 59 appearances) and became the first United player to score 30 goals in a season for seventeen years. He was a perfect foil for Davies who terrorised the continental sides. Nobody really established themselves on the flanks with Scott, Foggon, Sinclair, Dyson and Allen all getting a number of games.

Player Moves

Toon In

Surname Date From Fee
Dyson Keith 08 / 1968 Internal £0
Gibb Tommy 08 / 1968 Partick Thistle £45,000
Hindson Gordon 08 / 1968 Internal £0
Burleigh Martin 10 / 1968 Willington Ath £0
Horsfield Arthur 01 / 1969 Middlesbrough £17,500
Arentoft Preben 02 / 1969 Morton £18,000
Hope John 03 / 1969 Darlington £8,000

B Arentoft
T Gibb

Harvey struggled to find value for money in the English market and his two main signings came from Scotland.

Hard working midfielder Tommy Gibb was brought in as a squad player but soon established himself in the side.

Danish international Preben Arentoft was another midfielder with an impressive work ethic. English clubs were banned from signing foreign players unless they had been resident in the UK for at least two years and planned to settle in the country. As Arentoft had joined Morton in 1965 and had married a native the deal was officially sanctioned.

Toon Out

Surname Date From Fee
Marshall Gordon 10 / 1968 Nottm Forest £17,500
Robson Thomas 10 / 1968 Peterborough £20,000
Iley James 01 / 1969 Peterborough
Bennett Albert 02 / 1969 Norwich City £25,000
Horsfield Arthur 05 / 1969 Swindon £17,000

G Marshall
A Bennett

Harvey dispensed with a number of players who had been regulars during the previous season as he sought to give youth a chance.

Marshall had lost his place to McFaul and Bennett's injury problems had given Pop Robson the chance to takeover as Davies' strike partner.

Tommy Robson lost his place to Geoff Allen on the left-wing and Jim Iley left to pursue has managerial aspirations but remain a player at Peterborough.

Player Shorts

United players received four figure bonuses for their Fairs Cup success, but they certainly had to work for their money. Pop Robson McFaul, Gibb, Davies and Clark all notched over 50 games.

This was supplemented by cash from the "player's pool" which was boosted by the additional media and advertising income that their new found celebrity status brought with it.


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The minimum admission price rose to five shillings as a result of the March 1968 budget and this partly explained the half million drop in spectators with the afterglow of 1966 starting to wear off.

Newcastle's League average fell by 3,525 to 33,714 but the total average (taking into account the Fairs Cup games) was 39,296.

Entry to the Fairs Cup combined with cheaper air prices made Euro support a reality for the first time for the most loyal fans.

Travel deals were offered by both the Supporters club and the Development Association (in conjunction with the Evening Chronicle).

The Supporters Club provided packages for all the away ties, although the New Year's Day Zaragoza trip had to be cancelled due to a lack of demand.

The Supporters Club lost both their Saturday sales outlet (the club's gym) and the club headquarters (Working Men's Club). Sales were made from Strawberry Lane and the Bridge Hotel Pub became the new meeting place.

Undeterred by trouble caused by other supporters the Supporters Club also arranged a "soccer special" railway coach for some of the games in London. The 64 seater carriage was (judiciously) attached to the rear of the 7.50 am train to Kings Cross. Tickets soon sold out and it was suggested that plans were afoot to use two coaches in the following season.

The Miss Magpie Finals were held at a Gala Ball at the Mayfair Ballroom on 25th July 1969.

The songs and chants aired at grounds across the country were becoming a darker shade of blue and the Leazes Enders were no exception.

The club issued a plea in the Everton home programme: "sing by all means but keep it clean", but their concerns fell on deaf ears.

The Sunday Sun went on the offensive after the home match with Real Zaragoza and launched a campaign against "the lavatory language now regularly heard on the terraces".

The game had the well-established "Oh my darling clementine" chant which suggested the referee was born out of wedlock as well as a bespoke chant for the visiting Spaniards who were given a "luridly descriptive recommendation for a place for their Spanish onions".

The number of outbreaks of hooliganism continued to escalate and there was major trouble when Man City played on Tyneside in January in the FA Cup. Bottles were thrown on the terraces and a fight broke out at The Magpie pub opposite the ground.

Four arrests were made and 70 people were injured (including 7 who required hospital treatment). Most of the others were young fans who were crushed against the barriers or fainted in the near capacity 57,994 crowd.

But the worst ever violence thus far witnessed at a British football match occurred at St James' Park in June when Rangers arrived for the Fairs Cup semi-final second leg.

Police were called to more than 200 incidents during the day; including one where a man and his 7-year-old son were attacked at a bus stop in Westerhope. The worst injuries were caused when the Strawberry Place entrance gate was stormed by Rangers supporters and collapsed. One supporter (Michael Parks) suffered severe crushing to his chest and was attended to by Constable Bernard Cullen and other supporters until he was attacked by a Rangers fan.

When United went 2-0 ahead Rangers' fans rioted in an apparent effort to get the game abandoned. Welsh referee Gow was forced to take the players off for seventeen minutes whilst the boys in blue bravely restored order; four Alsatians finally doing the trick.The rest of the match was played out with a line of blue and a mountain of bottles separating McFaul from the seething Scottish hordes.

Many were injured during the game (mainly a result of the flying bottles). Over 150 people were treated inside the ground and 42 required hospital treatment. After the match Rangers fans form a human chain outside Central Station. There were 30 arrests and a shocked Mr Cavan (FIFA Vice Chairman) said "I've never seen worse riots".

Not all the trouble was caused by the Scots and in one incident before the game windows were smashed on a Rangers supporter's club coach by missile-throwing schoolboys.

Strange but Toon

When the United party returned to their hotel after the game at Zaragosa they were challenged by a couple of gun wielding coppers. They were on the lookout for a couple of English fugitives called Smith and Scott and they believed that coach Dave Smith and winger Jim Scott were their men. The confusion was eventually sorted, although it was galling for a couple of Scots to be mistaken for Sassenachs.

Club officials from Sporting Lisbon watched the match at Arsenal and Joe Harvey was approached by two Portuguese embassy staff who asked for - and were granted - permission to talk to the United players in their dressing-room and also quiz Harvey on his team selection.

Pop Robson described the away match against Victoria Setubal as like playing on the "Town Moor during The Hoppings". There were bands galore, men walking around on stilts wearing oversized masks and a flag-waving bugle-playing motorcyclist.

1960s Seasons