Menu Players Managers Fans Seasons Miscellany

Charlie Crowe (1943/44 to 1956/57)

Charlie Crowe
Charlie Crowe
Bth 30/10/24 Walker Newcastle
P/H/W Left-Half 5ft 8in
Jnd 08/43 Heaton and Byker
Pro 10/44 £10
Deb 05/01/46 Barnsley FAC R3
Dep 02/57 Mansfield Free
App/Gls 2167

Charlie Crowe spent fourteen years at St James' Park between 1943 and 1957; his time at the club spanning almost exactly the same period as Jackie Milburn.

Hailing from Walker, Charlie was a noted schoolboy player for Newcastle Schools and became a wing half for Heaton and Byker Youth club. In 1943 he was one of the many local youngsters signed up after impressing during trials.

Charlie was a fantastic club servant who, despite facing constant competition for a place in the side, kept bouncing back. He became one of the the most reliable half backs in the game, reading the game very well and being especially strong in interception.

Although he did not always feature his game with polish, he was a rare grafter. Charlie had tremendous stamina, honed by doing his own personal training around the Town Moor. Tenacious and hard working, he never admitted defeat and rivaled players such as Billy Wright for the amount of sheer hard work he got through.

He was a keen but fair tackler As Charlie said himself, he "didn't stand on ceremony" when it came to putting in crunching challenges. This combined with a "never-say-die" attitude ensured that when called upon he never let the side down.

He wasn’t afraid to come forward and could be aggressive in attack, particularly when coming in for a fierce snap shot at goal. And with good vision he often provided the passes that set up one of United's devastating attacks.

He was a member of the 1951 FA Cup winning side and only missed out on the 1955 final due to injury; he was also a very proud captain for some games during the 1954/55 season.

Charlie developed an interest in coaching. With England's place in the world footballing order under threat, the FA, under the tutelage of Walter Winterbottom, set about training up a set of "coaching disciples". Charlie was one of them.

As a result he almost became head coach at Newcastle, Charlie Mitten offered him the job when he took over as manager in 1958, but Charlie was not impressed with the money he was being offered and turned the job down. He managed Whitley Bay for a while and in 1967 Winterbottom secured him a prestigious job in Egypt; unfortunately the Suez crisis put an end to that dream.

Using his scrapbooks and memories Charlie helped compile two brilliant books: "A Crowe Amongst the Magpies" and "Charlie Crowe's Newcastle Scrapbook".

The sale of the books had already funded the Jackie Milburn charity and after Charlie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he and his family decided to set up a fundraising appeal to help fund a new magnetic scanner for research. In November 2014 the new cutting edge kit was officially “opened” at the Centre for Life and Vitality. It will boost research into a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardio-vascular related diseases and boost neuroscience research.

When asked in later life which current players played most like him the answer was met with a shake of the head: "I played with my heart".

Season by Season

Charlie Crowe
Charlie Crowe


Charlie was one of the many local lads who were offered a trial at Newcastle during the war years. He was eighteen and playing for Heaton and Byker when he got his chance just before the start of the 1943/44 season. It was a match in which a young Ashington lad called Milburn was also being given a run out. Charlie impressed enough to be taken on as an amateur although he never appeared for the first team.

1944/45 (1 - 0)

October 1944 saw Charlie signing on professionally (entitling him to a £10 signing on fee which his dad looked after!) and a senior debut in a single goal defeat against Middlesbrough; but it was to be his only outing that season.

1945/46 (25 - 1)

The final War season saw Charlie break into the first team; his first match of the season being an astonishing 9-1 win over Stoke in which he blotted out the threat of Stanley Matthews. The professionals got £3 each, Charlie got two shillings and sixpence (one shilling traveling expenses and 1/6 tea money). His official debut, as the War League matches do not count, was in the FA Cup Third Round First Leg game against Barnsley.

1946/47 (4)

After serving in the army Duggie Wright returned to the club and reclaimed the left-half position, meaning there were only fleeting opportunities in the first team for Charlie as the League campaign restarted.

1947/48 (2)

Although Charlie got a couple of run outs towards the end it was another season of frustration for Charlie with Woodburn, Dodgin and Houghton all appearing to be ahead of him in the queue. He spent some time on the transfer list and a broken ankle sustained on Boxing Day added to his woes. The injury knocked his confidence and Charlie struggled to regain his form. There was some consolation in the fact that he played a big part in helping the Reserves win the Central League title for the only time in the club's history. Charlie could only train in the evenings as at the time he left home at 5.30am in the morning and spent all day working down the pit.


Dodgin monopolised the left-half position throughout the season and Charlie, who once again picked up a couple of injuries, did not get a sniff. His morale was at it's lowest point.

1949/50 (28)

After struggling to get into the first-team Dodgin's fallout with trainer Smith allowed Charlie to finally establish himself in the side with some consistently strong performances. He displayed excellent marking and positional play and there was little flaw in his use of the ball.

1950/51 (43 - 1)

Charlie's best season. Dodgin had been sold and Houghton was laid low with tuberculosis and he grabbed his chance with both feet; only missing seven games all season. He played in all but the first game of the FA Cup run and put in a starring performance in the 1951 Cup Final. Charlie also obtained his FA Coaching Certificate.

1951/52 (10 - 1)

A shock start as Charlie, along with two other members of the Cup Final side Bob Corbett and Ernie Taylor, were omitted from the team to play Glasgow Celtic in the highly prestigious pre-season Anglo/Scots tournament against Celtic. The season proper started well as Charlie scored in the first game, a 6-0 romp at home to Stoke, but after a few games he lost his place to Ted Robledo. After spending six years battling his way into the first team it was a hard blow and as a result he put in a transfer request. Seymour, who was not usually slow to get rid of disaffected players, refused to sanction his request. Eventually a promise of a possible Cup Final place and a place on the tour of South Africa persuaded him to stay. However he suffered a lot from illness and only got a couple more run-outs as United rested players between the semis and the final.

1952/53 (23)

With Ted Robledo out of favour, Charlie started the season as first choice until Northern Ireland international Tommy Casey was signed when he lost his place in the side.

1953/54 (17)

With Robledo returning to Chile, Casey and Crowe continued their rivalry for the left-half slot, but they also had a new challenger in the shape of Mickley born youngster Bob Stokoe.

1954/55 (34 - 1)

With Stokoe converted to centre-half Charlie (now 30) was preferred to Casey for the vast majority of the season. He also took the brave step of asking Seymour if he could take a part-time job to help his financial situation. He took a bit of persuading, but Seymour relented and he became a sales rep with a builders merchant. Seymour acceded on the basis that he wouldn’t let the other players know, but word got out and soon there were a number of players banging on Stan's door. He helped United reach Wembley again and was named in the team for the Final. On the Saturday before the Final United played at Tottenham and Charlie fell awkwardly under a challenge from Harry Clark. Despite intensive treatment and offers from the United players to "carry him through the game" Charlie missed out on the Wembley showpiece. Thankfully he still received a medal.

1955/56 (18 - 2)

Casey and Crowe shared the half-back position.

1956/57 (11 - 1)

Charlie got the nod at the beginning of the season only to lose it after a few games. His last senior game was at Old Trafford at the start of the New Year. It was not a memorable finish as United slumped to a 6-1 defeat. Now working full-time Charlie was granted a free transfer and moved to Mansfield Town in February 1957.


Painting by Piotr