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NUFC 1972/73 - Season Review

Division 19th
FA CupR4
League CupR3
Texaco CupSF
AI CupWon
ChairmanLord Westwood
ManagerJ Harvey
CoachK Burkinshaw
CaptainB Moncur
Top ScorerM Macdonald (24)

Last season's recovery meant that hopes were high for the new season and Harvey believed that "on paper we have one of the best sides in the country". However a bad start to the season and an even worse finish scuppered the manager's hopes for European qualification.

The Magpies also lost the services of Tony Green in early September with an injury which would eventually end his career.

Harvey was desperate for a good FA Cup Run and he was furious when the players served up their worst performance of the season against Second Division Luton in the Fourth Round.

The new East Stand should have been ready for the start of the season but industrial action in the building industry meant it wasn't until February that it was partially opened and April when all accomodation was available.

The Magpies took part in both the Texaco Cup (where they lost in the semi-final) and the Anglo-Italian Cup (which they won).

Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission


League Division 1

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Although Newcastle finished in a solid 8th position, they could have done much better if they hadn't started and finished the campaign so poorly.

Newcastle were now attacking with confidence both at home and away and they only failed to score in 8 games all season, conversely they only kept a clean sheet in 9 games.

United won only 2 of the first 7 games and the defeat at Crystal Palace at the start of September saw them drop to 15th and lose Tony Green to an injury which would eventually end his career.

The next 10 matches brought a dramatic improvement and Arsenal, Leeds and Manchester United were all beaten at St. James' as United won 5 matches on the bounce on Tyneside. A couple of victories were also recorded on the road and the Magpies climbed to 6th spot.

The team cemented their position in the table during the winter months and when they beat Stoke at home on March 10th they were in 5th place and with an excellent chance of qualifying for Europe. Unfortunately, they only won 1 of the remaining 9 games.

12/8 H Wolves W 2 - 1 6
15/8 A Birmingham L 2 - 3 9
19/8 A Sheff Utd W 2 - 1 9 H
23/8 H WBA D 1 - 1 9
26/8 H Ipswich L 1 - 2 10
30/8 H Tottenham L 0 - 1 13
02/9 A C Palace L 1 - 2 15
09/9 H Arsenal W 2 - 1 13 H
16/9 A Coventry W 3 - 0 11
23/9 H Leeds W 3 - 2 9 H
30/9 A Everton L 1 - 3 12
07/10 H Norwich W 3 - 1 11
14/10 A Stoke L 0 - 2 12
21/10 H Man Utd W 2 - 1 11
28/10 A Chelsea D 1 - 1 10
04/11 A WBA W 3 - 2 9
11/11 H Birmingham W 3 - 0 6
18/11 A Liverpool L 2 - 3 8
02/12 A WHU D 1 - 1 8 H
09/12 H Southampton D 0 - 0 8
16/12 A Derby D 1 - 1 8
23/12 H Man City W 2 - 1 6
26/12 A Leeds L 0 - 1 9
30/12 H Sheff Utd W 4 - 1 5
01/1 H Leicester D 2 - 2 5
06/1 A Ipswich L 0 - 1 6
20/1 H C Palace W 2 - 0 5
27/1 A Arsenal D 2 - 2 6
10/2 H Coventry D 1 - 1 5
17/2 A Wolves D 1 - 1 6
24/2 A Norwich W 1 - 0 5
28/2 H Derby W 2 - 0 5
10/3 H Stoke W 1 - 0 5
17/3 A Man Utd L 1 - 2 5
24/3 H Chelsea D 1 - 1 5
31/3 A Leicester D 0 - 0 5
07/4 H WHU L 1 - 2 6
14/4 A Southampton D 1 - 1 7
18/4 A Man City L 0 - 2 7
21/4 H Liverpool W 2 - 1 6 H
25/4 H Everton D 0 - 0 6
28/4 A Tottenham L 2 - 3 8
W D L F A Pts
01 Liverpool 25 10 7 72 42 60
02 Arsenal 23 11 8 57 43 57
03 Leeds 21 11 10 71 45 53
04 Ipswich 17 14 11 55 45 48
05 Wolves 18 11 13 66 54 47
06 West Ham 17 12 13 67 53 46
07 Derby 19 8 15 56 54 46
08 Tottenham 16 13 13 58 48 45
09 Newcastle 16 13 13 60 51 45
10 Birmingham 15 12 15 53 54 42
11 Man. City 15 11 16 57 60 41
12 Chelsea 13 14 15 49 51 40
13 Southampton 11 18 13 47 52 40
14 Sheff. United 15 10 17 51 59 40
15 Stoke 14 10 18 61 56 38
16 Leicester 10 17 15 40 46 37
17 Everton 13 11 18 41 49 37
18 Man. United 12 13 17 44 60 37
19 Coventry 13 9 20 40 55 35
20 Norwich 11 10 21 36 63 32
21 C. Palace 9 12 21 41 58 30
22 West Brom. 9 10 23 38 62 28

FA Cup

R3 13/1 H AFC Bournemouth W 2 - 0
R4 03/2 H Luton L 0 - 2

R3: Bournemouth were top of the Third Division and there were fears of another upset, but although the Cherries started brightly their hopes were dimmed by two goals in ninety seconds.

R4: Second Division leaders Luton had recorded nine away victories so far and once Aston put Luton ahead United were clueless with nobody prepared to take responsibility. The players were booed off at the end of each half and thousands left early. Harvey was shocked: "There are no excuses, we were just so bad it wasn't true".

League Cup

R2 05/9 A Port Vale W 3 - 1
R3 04/10 H Blackpool L 0 - 3

R2: Third Division Port Vale (managed by future manager Gordon Lee) were dealt with relatively comfortably in a game which saw five bookings.

R3: Second Division Blackpool were managed by ex-United skipper Bob Stokoe (who won four times at St James' with Bury in the sixties) and included former favourites Keith Dyson and Alan Suddick (as well as future players Micky Burns and John Burridge). It proved to be a humiliating night.

Texaco Cup

R1 L1 13/09 A Ayr D 0-0
R1 L2 27/09 H Ayr W 2-0
R2 L1 25/10 A West Brom. L 1-2
R2 L2 08/11 H West Brom. W 3-1
SF L1 14/03 H Ipswich D 1-1
SF L2 10/04 A Ipswich L 0-1

Anglo-Italian Cup

Gp 21/02 A Roma W 2-0 H
Gp 21/03 H Bologna W 1-0
Gp 04/04 A Como W 2-0
Gp 02/05 H Torino W 5-1
SF L1 11/05 A C Palace D 0-0
SF L2 21/05 H C Palace W 5-1
Final 03/06 A Fiorentina W 2-1

Gp1 - Cup holders Roma were having a bad season domestically and the Magpies could easily have trebled their score; luckily the fears of violent play did not materialise.

Gp2 - Another totally one-sided game that neither thrilled nor entertained. Gibb scored the only goal and Macdonald was sent-off with a couple of minutes left.

Gp3 - United maintained their 100% record with another comfortable win.

Gp1 - United thrashed the Italians who started to resort to some outrageous conduct in a match which descended into shameful non-football. Fists started flying and Smith and Craig were sent off along with two Torino players.

SF L1 - Relegated Palace and United bored the pants of a surprisingly tolerant crowd.

SF L2 - United displayed greater class and infinitely more power as they made mincemeat of the Londoners; Macdonald scored three.

Fin - After a listless first-half in the humid and steamy heat of the Stadio Comunale the Magpies took control and helped by some hapless goalkeeping by Superchi scored twice. Clerici pulled one back in the 79th minute making for a nail-biting finish.


Harvey believed it "had not been a bad season," but he was disappointed that they had not secured a European spot and even more upset that they had once again failed in the FA Cup; serving up their worst performance of the season in the home tie with Luton.

A lack of strength in depth was still an issue and a number of injuries to key players at the start of the season stretched resources to the limit. "At one stage you would have thought that the Vietcong had been through here" moaned Harvey showing wonderful political insensitivity.

Harvey firmly believed they were only a couple of players away from having a side which could challenge for the title, unfortunately the majority of the club's money was tied up in the new stand.

Coach Burkinshaw continued with the "quiet revolution" in the team's playing style and he voiced his opinions very clearly in November: "There is only one way to play this game and that is going forward. Now I believe we have become pioneers for football. Our goals this season, particularly in away games, prove it."

Harvey was full of praise for the "marvellous job" Burkinshaw was doing and believed that all the hard work they had been putting in since the start of the 1972/73 season was now bearing fruit.

Prior to Burkinshaw's promotion Harvey and his coaches had always concentrated on stopping other sides scoring but they were now one of the most attractive sides in the League. "People work hard during the week and they come here to be entertained"

The players were happy too. Moncur said: "we have more flair and style now. we don't need to rely on defence so much to earn our points." Jimmy Smith was certainly benefitting from the new approach.

Squad and Team

Barrowclough S 55 8
Burleigh M 11
Cannell P 1
Cassidy T 2 3
Clark F 58
Cowan J 3 3
Craig D 57 5
Gibb T 21 2 4
Green T 6 1 1
Guthrie R 4 1
Hibbitt T 57 6
Hodgson G 7 2
Howard P 57 1
Kennedy A 4
Macdonald M 47 24
McDermott T 13 1 1
McFaul I 48
Moncur B 46 1
Nattrass I 28 4 3
Reid A 4 3
Robson K 2
Smith J 46 7
Tudor J 59 24
Young D 13 1
og 3

Total number of games: 59

Total number of players used: 24

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Figure in brackets relates to the number of players used in that position

01: (2) McFaul

02: (1) Craig

03: (3) Clark

04: (5) Gibb > Nattrass

05: (2) Howard

06: (3) Moncur

07: (3) Barrowclough

08: (4) Green > Smith

09: (2) Macdonald

10: (4) Tudor

11: (3) Hibbitt

Player Moves

Toon In

Name Date From Fee
Cannell Paul 07/72 Professional
Kenneddy Alan 09/72 Professional
Crosson Dave 11/72 Professional
Mcdermott Terry 02/73 Bury £25,000
Barker Michael 03/73 Professional
Bell Anthony 03/73 Professional
Hudson Ray 03/73 Professional

T McDermott

With money tied-up in the new stand the only signing was promising youngster Terry Mcdermott.

A number of youngsters were handed professional contracts including Paul Cannell and Alan Kennedy.

A Kennedy

Toon Out

Name Date To Fee
Kenneddy Keith 10/72 Bury £3,000
Guthrie Chris 11/72 Southend £10,000
Guthrie Ron 01/73 Sunderland £15,000
Young David 01/73 Sunderland £20,000
Ellison Ray 02/73 Sunderland £10,000
R Guthrie

A number of the reserves - including two great servants to the club in Ron Guthrie and David Young - were dispensed with for a grand total of £58,000. The latter three all moving to Sunderland.

D Young

Player Shorts

After the chaos of the previous season the football authorities revised the disciplinary system. Points would be "awarded" for bookings and a player would automatically be banned for two matches if they reached twelve. A sending off resulted in an automatic three game ban.

The United players had a brand new kit to play in; the first change since the "Charlie Mitten" kit which was introduced in the late fifties.

Man of the match awards included a £10 cheque from Kimberley Clark ("The Kleenex firm").



Attendances fell dramatically in the League. Newcastle's average - despite their improved form fell to 28,308 - although this was certainly impacted by the unfinished redevelopment work it was still a disappointment considering United's vastly improved form.

The top crowd was for the game against Leeds on September 23rd (38,964); the lowest crowd was for the next home match against Norwich two weeks later (18,103).

Defeat at home to Luton in the FA Cup Fourth Round had thousands of fans streaming out well before the end. One of them was Robert Bullock of Hewitson Terrace Felling. "I've been going to St James' for 25 years but I don't think I'll be going again. I've never walked out early before but today was the end".

Meanwhile a number of youngsters gathered outside Supermac's boutique and - following threats that they would smash the windows in - the manager called in some glaziers to board them up.

St. James'

Newcastle's new million pound East Stand was finally (partially) opened in February (Luton at home in the FA Cup) , it's completion being delayed as a result of the fuel crisis and industrial action within the building industry.

The stand was fully completed for the home match with West Ham in April at a cost of £420,000; almost half of the estimated cost for the whole stadium. The capacity was now 54,500

Ben Sullivan and the Newcastle Development association was certainly doing its bit with £200,000 net being raised over the last six years in support of ground improvements.

At the start of the season there was wonderment at the new "colouful display-advertising boards" and the new roofs.

Superstar singer Dionne Warwick attended the home match with Manchester United and Prime Minister was in the stands for the Chelsea match.


Hooliganism hit the headlines from the very first day of the season. On the second Saturday fifty Newcastle fans were arrested after the match at Brammall Lane; "everyone of them was a discredit to this Football club and everything it stands for".

Before the League match with Liverpool fighting broke out between rival supporters in The Strawberry. New manager william Stewart (a week into his residency) said "glasses were being thrown about and broken and tables were overturned. There was blood everywhere."

Matters did not improve during the game with fighting breaking out intermittently behind both goals with most of the trouble appearing to be caused by the home fans. In one incident a policeman was knocked to the ground then kicked in the face and had to be removed on a stretcher. Fifty fans were ejected, fourteen were arrested and a number were taken to the RVI for treatment.

Twenty minutes before the start of the home game against Manchester United hundreds of young thugs. including girls, swarmed onto the pitch from the Leazes End. They ran around the pitch, and then invaded the Gallowgate End, where the Manchester fans were housed. The police were hopelessly outnumbered and virtually powerless and there was a series of pitched battles. The arrival of three police dogs brought an end to the trouble.

In an effort to reduce vandalism on the way to the game the Football League invested in a 12 coach train from British Railways for £50,000 and spent a further £15,000 on customising it.

For trips to London, the NUSC used to hire their own railway carriage on standard passenger services as well as providing coach travel. The trip to London for the Crystal Palace match cost £4 on the train and £2.10 on the coach.

Strange but Toon

Macdonald scored after only four seconds in the friendly game at St. Johnstone.

1970s Seasons