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People forget we could've won the double twice


Stevie
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I just thought I'd share this piece with you. Everybody knows there's something a little bit different about Newcastle United, we were arguably the biggest club in England before the Munich Air Crash and Shankly, certainly the best supported and this piece tells you how close we were to doing the double several times, and offers an insight in to the baffling mystery as to why it's just not happened for us in half a century.

 

Geordies bemoan proud history lost in mists of Tyne

 

 

The current title favourites visit St James' Park today, 80 years after Newcastle's last league championship

 

Michael Walker

Monday January 1, 2007

The Guardian

 

 

Nelson Cairns can remember it, but he will be 94 soon. Tellingly, on Tyneside that is the sort of age you have to be. Much has been made of Sir Alex Ferguson reaching 65 at the weekend, but when Ferguson arrives at St James' Park today he will be struck by an anniversary of altogether greater magnitude: New Year's Day 2007 means that it is now 80 years since Newcastle United were champions of England.

 

"I have a very clear memory of the first game of the 1926-27 season," Cairns said. "At that time I was 12 years old and was visiting my aunt Hetty in Heaton. She had a family friend called Jack Riley and Jack asked me if I would like to go to the match with him. Newcastle beat Aston Villa 4-0 and Hughie Gallacher scored all four goals. I do not remember any particular celebrations - Newcastle had been quite successful in the previous 20 years - it just seemed a normal thing to happen. Actually, when I think about it now, it was the end of an era."

Those, indeed, were the days. When Newcastle beat Sheffield Wednesday on April 30, 1927 they clinched their fourth title in 19 seasons. Newcastle won two FA Cups in that spell, too, and lost four finals. In 1905 they were one lost final away from the first league and cup Double of the century. In terms of offside and the passing game, Newcastle were innovators.

 

"Intelligent, progressive, you could say they were the Ajax of their day," Roger Hutchinson said. "Where did that intelligence go?" Hutchinson is author of The Toon, a history of the club. He is also a believer, though inevitably one with a fair amount of doubt.

 

Eight decades of mediocrity, sometimes better, often worse, does that to supporters and yet when Manchester United reach St James' this afternoon there will be 52,000 waiting for them. It is an attendance figure that is now familiar but it should not be under-appreciated.

 

Old Trafford has endured its own title drought - from 1911 to '52 - but since then there have been 13, plus just a few cups. Everton, who beat Newcastle 3-0 on Saturday, have won seven titles since 1927. Those are solid, silver reasons why these clubs are well supported.

 

Usually Celtic and Rangers are the clubs compared to Newcastle for passionate fans, but Celtic's have been sustained by 23 Scottish titles since 1927. Rangers have won 88 trophies since 1927. That's a lot of good nights in Glasgow come May. Newcastle won three FA Cups in the 1950s and the Fairs Cup in 1969. That's four nights.

 

But still they come. "Ever since the 1890s when they took off," Hutchinson said, "Newcastle United have come to be a symbol of the region, a region that was cut off, and felt cut off, from the rest of Britain. It feels like pre-history but it's important because these are the foundations of the club.

 

"There is no alternative to Newcastle - from the Tyne Valley, north into Northumberland, east to Tynemouth and then down into Durham, plus the urban conurbation of Newcastle itself, this is an immense catchment area, unique in England I think. And the supporters are so loyal, even the slightest hint of success and they're there in tens of thousands. Everyone knows they will always turn up as they always have done and they're the only club I know where the support is guaranteed no matter what. You can't help but think that breeds complacency at boardroom level."

 

Cairns agreed: "The directors, managers and players all must take some responsibility. Probably the directors must take the lion's share of the blame. Certainly in the 1950s and 60s the directors did not seem to be in touch with the supporters."

 

In what seems an eerie example, on the way to winning the FA Cup in 1955 Newcastle City Hall staged a public meeting at which 2,000 members of the Shareholders' Association produced a vote of no confidence in the board. But still they came. The club had been part of Geordie identity for more than 50 years by then. The geography of apartness can seem exaggerated today but in 1927 and before it had literal meaning. The Tyne bridge had not been completed in 1927 and Geordies looked north as often as south.

 

That was how they got Gallacher, all 5ft 5in of him, from Airdrieonians. Made captain and No9, Gallacher scored 36 times in that championship-winning season and the Newcastle Daily Journal wondered if he did not possess "more than the usual complement of feet".

 

But Hutchinson asked another question: between Gallacher and the 1996 signing of Alan Shearer, name another world-class player bought by Newcastle? "Kevin Keegan was a big signing but he was past his prime, and Newcastle were in the Second Division. In the 1950s they had Jackie Milburn but he was local, not bought."

 

Hutchinson added: "And where is Newcastle's great manager, their Bill Shankly, Herbert Chapman, Bill Nicholson, Matt Busby? Keegan came close but he was never going to be Shankly. Bobby Robson was a major manager but he was not in his prime at Newcastle."

 

Historically, another reason for title failure cited by Milburn was the obsession with the FA Cup. In 1951, having beaten Wolves in the semi-final, Newcastle were fifth in the league, six points behind Tottenham with three games in hand. There were 13 games left and again it was all about Newcastle doing the Double. Newcastle won just three more times. In 1952 it was the same. But the Cup was won twice and Milburn admitted: "We stopped playing in league games after the semis."

 

The FA Cup had prestige then that it lacks now. Europe and the title have superseded it and but for Manchester United and Ferguson in 1996 Keegan would have ended the wait.

 

But that was last year's anniversary. This year's should be as painful as any. Newcastle are already 28 points behind their visitors today with their manager, Glenn Roeder, dealing with a sweeping injury crisis. Roeder is a rational man, someone who refuses to believe the club is cursed - "Bollocks" is his view of that - and someone who talks about infrastructure and long-term plans. It may yet work.

 

Whether Nelson Cairns sees it is another matter. "It never really occurred to me that I might not see Newcastle win another championship in my lifetime," he said. "But I'm not surprised that 50,000 fans turn up every week. I would be surprised, and disappointed, if they didn't. I do think Newcastle will win the Premiership some day but I do not want to predict when. It might bring bad luck."

 

I just hope in 80 years time, a similar journalist isn't writing a similar article. If you're from around here, no other club matters, no-one cares, and that's honest, from an outside point of view we can seem blinkered and maybe we are, everything revolves around the toon and nothing else matters. Genuinely I think the club is cursed, best supported club in the UK 20 times out of 106 year, only club to break the world transfer record in the last 25 years, third most spent of all English clubs since 1992, Consistently in the 12 richest clubs in the world over a 10 year period, and once as high as fifth - all of this points to the fact that in the last 20 years we should have won maybe 20 trophies, but no NONE. The Gallowgate End of the ground used to be a place 150 years ago where gypsy's were hung, and there was a mayth that some big gypsy fucka put a curse on the land, it would make sense if they did. They actually got a priest in to do an exorcism in the 70's F*** all good he done.

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As one Brian Clough used to say ; 'If your Aunt had b---s, she'd be your Uncle....

We didn't do it - end of story.

You've got to MAKE History, not try to re-write it..

Don Revie once got a Gypsy to exorcise Elland Road because of a so-called Curse.

 

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Good article - have to say.  :thup:

 

It does make you wonder about this 'curse' business. I remember Guillit saying that he felt the club was cursed, when he had his spell as boss.

 

Whether you believe in it or not though - it's only right that the directors take the majority of the blame. They have used people's loyalty towards the club to feather their own nests for too long. It's been a money-making machine for the powers that be since the 2nd World War.

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Guest Knightrider

I don't believe we are cursed but I believe we are the viticms of what goes around.... comes around. Over the years this club or rather individuals employed by the club have treat some of the good people who have worked for the club as players or managers and those who support this club, quite disgracefully.

 

From Sir Bobby's disgraceful treatment prior to his sacking to trying to fleece a fee out of Linfield for Wor Jackie.

 

From banning Hughie Gallacher from St. James' Park for writing a critical article in a column to the whole NOTW fiasco. The history of the club is littered with disgraceful treatment of those who served it best by club directors, managers etc.

 

I'm also a firm believer in positive and negative energy and throughout the years there has been far too much negative energy around the club/city. The times this club has done well has came when there was a buzz in the city, when fans and club were United.

 

And of course we can't forget that for the large part we just haven't been good enough, have bottled things or were very unlucky.

 

Our time will come though and when it does....

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Guest elbee909

'Positive or negative energy flow', curses and the like - superstitious bunk.

 

Newcastle United have won stuff before, therefore it's *always possible* to win stuff.  The various 'incarnations' of Newcastle United since their last trophy have failed to win stuff because each time other teams have won instead.  No spookiness involved.  It can happen.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds patronising; I admit there may be some mileage to be gained into looking into why we've never won shit in ages but any talk of supernatural forces and you might as well not speak, ever again, ever.  Ever. :)

 

 

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Guest Knightrider

'Positive or negative energy flow', curses and the like - superstitious bunk.

 

Newcastle United have won stuff before, therefore it's *always possible* to win stuff.  The various 'incarnations' of Newcastle United since their last trophy have failed to win stuff because each time other teams have won instead.  No spookiness involved.  It can happen.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds patronising; I admit there may be some mileage to be gained into looking into why we've never won shit in ages but any talk of supernatural forces and you might as well not speak, ever again, ever.  Ever. :)

 

 

 

WE ARE CURSED MAN ;)

 

Nah, you're probably right. However I really do believe positive/negative energy factors are an influence as well as karma, even if its minute.

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Guest Invicta_Toon

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

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Guest elbee909

 

WE ARE CURSED MAN ;)

 

Nah, you're probably right. However I really do believe positive/negative energy factors are an influence as well as karma, even if its minute.

 

Come up with proper, repeatable evidence for them then. :D

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Guest Knightrider

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Bollocks

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Guest elbee909

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Winning teams have a very similar attitude though.  It only seems shite and unfounded when you happen to lose all the time, when you win it's called 'confidence'.

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Good article.

 

It is incredible that we achieve the attendances we do, given that most of the people in the stands have never seen the club lift a trophy.

 

As for all this curse talk, please. That's the easy answer and the easy way to look at things, it's just feeling sorry for ourselves. If you genuinely believe we're cursed then why bother following the club? Every year we top the injury table and I can't remember the last time I saw our best 11 on the field, it was probably a few years back under Robson. I'm sure we have all thought at times that there must be an explanation for this.

 

If I thought we were cursed I wouldn't follow the club, that would be madness. It's all about keeping faith in the toon. Our day will come.

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Guest Invicta_Toon

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Bollocks

 

best writer 2006

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Guest elbee909

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Bollocks

 

best writer 2006

 

Bollocks

 

:cool:

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Guest Invicta_Toon

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Bollocks

 

best writer 2006

 

Bollocks

 

:cool:

 

ma arse

 

we have gone from the entertainers to the team everyone loves to hate

 

this is precisely due to the divine rightists, the worst being FF

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Guest elbee909

it's the divine rightist attitude that works against us. I woudln't be surprised if teams find an extra 5% when they come here precisely because of this 'we deserve to win' bollocks

 

Bollocks

 

best writer 2006

 

Bollocks

 

:cool:

 

ma arse

 

we have gone from the entertainers to the team everyone loves to hate

 

this is precisely due to the divine rightists, the worst being FF

 

And probably because our football went down the shitter too.  Though we became inherently unlikeable as soon as the club became a PLC.

 

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It's dumb to believe it's a curse. Apart from anything else, it embodies a fatalism that's counter-productive. If we're convinced we can never win anything, we'll never win anything.

 

it's even more dumb to think someone seriously thinks we're cursed.

 

We haven't won the league because we had a shit board who had no ambition, no imagination and lived in the past up until 1992.

Since then we have gave it a fair crack, but I think the club suffers now from a pressure situation, whereby the very fact we have not won something for so long is counter productive and inhibits everyone at the club. As Grass says, we have bottled too many situations in good positions. There is a reason for this, its a winning mentality and the confidence which comes from actually believing that you can win when you are in these positions. Winning even the League Cup would be a massive breakthough psycologically for the club and the players. I saw the difference in the players after we won the Fairs Cup, it was amazing, they had a spring in their play and a belief that had not been there before, but at the time, the shit board didn't have the guts nor the ambition to build on it and it didn't last.

 

If Keegan hadn't bought Arsprilla and had kept Venison I think we would have won the title in 1996, in the end maybe it also came down to bottle - and experience of the situation - but other clubs have thrown the title away - if he had stayed he had the determination to overcome it and go better.

 

 

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ma arse

 

we have gone from the entertainers to the team everyone loves to hate

 

this is precisely due to the divine rightists, the worst being FF

 

Since when have you been the team everyone loves to hate? I don't get this at all. True, in the Keegan years, you were entertaining to watch and everyone had a soft spot for you.

 

Now, you've become one of the many "could be, also-rans" which most people are entirely ambivalent about (see also villa, spurs, everton, man city), but to say you're the club everyone loves to hate is ridiculous and a little self pitying imho.

 

The only other emotion i would suggest people have for you is jealousy re some of the players you have had. Moan about trophy signings all you like, but I wish we'd made a few in the Ellis years.

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Guest Phil K

Thats just it, isnt it - because we "could've" is insignificant.

"We DID" is the only way.

"We didn't" sadly, is the answer.

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It's dumb to believe it's a curse. Apart from anything else, it embodies a fatalism that's counter-productive. If we're convinced we can never win anything, we'll never win anything.

 

it's even more dumb to think someone seriously thinks we're cursed.

 

We haven't won the league because we had a shit board who had no ambition, no imagination and lived in the past up until 1992.

 

And even more dumb to think we had the same board from 1927 to 1992.

 

Some of the rest of your post actually made sense, though. Congratulations!

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NE5 is correct. The Board was rubbish during that whole period. Of course it changed periodically but being on the Board of a football club was like being a member of an exclusive men's club - invitation only.  What it regrettably did was endow clubs with Boards who by virtue of their position thought they knew something about the game. There was also a touch of feudalism about the whole thing.

 

I grew up in Newcastle during the late 40's and early 50's.

If Newcastle were at home then Gateshead were usually away. Supporters watched their local teams play in the morning then bussed to the Toon for the 3pm ko. If I was visiting my Grandparents I was taken to watch Trimdon play. This local team put out a full squad from miners who were not on shift and pulled crowds of 2-3000.

 

A large cachment area for fans - 1600sq miles either side of the tyne.  Sunderland tended to draw the south of the Tyne coastal fans.

 

St Jame's Park was usually well attended. Its only in recent years that our home gate div 2 record was broken - that was approaching 45000.

 

Leazes was roofed over, the main stand had the Directors box over it and paddock in front. The rest got wet.

 

We had some massive home crowds. Forget our official capacity. That was exceeded numerous times and I assume the cash went into the Directors pockets. Imagine 50000 for a home game with entry averaging 1 shilling - the cheapest apart from kids, its about 2500 pounds. The wages were pegged at 13 pounds pw. We had a reserve team plus staff. Even allowing for away games, rent etc the Directors must have been pocketing 1000pw.

 

Now imagine todays gate prices at say 30 pounds, a 600 fold increase and relate that to the current Directors scaled up theoretical "fees" = 600 000pw and you can see we have benevolence controlling the club compared to the past.

 

Things have improved greatly.

 

But for us to move on (can't see a Board dissapearing) we need to learn from other businesses. We achieved a degree of success with the old system but new ideas, control, development, focus are needed for the next step. The sort of approach that took Englands Rugby Team to winning the World Cup. Professionalism.

 

Some if not most won't agree but the new breed of Manager , like Roeder, is part of the answer.

 

Since he joined he salvaged last season and got us into Europe. This season we have continually had several 1st team players injured and have been unable to play our best lineup. He has had to bring in reserve and Academy players yet we are picking up points. Sure he has made what appear to be tactical errors but who's to say these were not forced. He has, because of injuries, had to play the youngsters and some older players out of position. Yet, narrow losses to Chelsea, draw with Manure and other results that could have gone either way.

 

Toon is moving ahead. Whether its in the right direction or fast enough remains to be seen.

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Buying new players without a coherent plan for their long term use or from another "technical"league (Luque/Hugo) with no real idea as to whether or not they will succeed. Just an example.

Really its developing a long term plan for the team to achieve without knee jerk buying and having the appropriate, qualified staff infrastructure to make it all work. Giving Roeder another 12 months then sacking him for Messiah Shearer is the wrong direction.

 

Comment was made recently re Bolton. Ugly town, ugly team. Allardyce has a 10 year contract and, by our standards, has paid peanuts for the players. Over the years they have overachieved but and improve (results) every year or so. A manager needs that sort of tenure to stabilise, develop and renew. Otherwise itsreaching for glory one year, crap the next and a succession of managers.

 

Thats what I'm hinting at.  How do you see it. 

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Buying new players without a coherent plan for their long term use or from another "technical"league (Luque/Hugo) with no real idea as to whether or not they will succeed. Just an example.

Really its developing a long term plan for the team to achieve without knee jerk buying and having the appropriate, qualified staff infrastructure to make it all work. Giving Roeder another 12 months then sacking him for Messiah Shearer is the wrong direction.

 

Comment was made recently re Bolton. Ugly town, ugly team. Allardyce has a 10 year contract and, by our standards, has paid peanuts for the players. Over the years they have overachieved but and improve (results) every year or so. A manager needs that sort of tenure to stabilise, develop and renew. Otherwise itsreaching for glory one year, crap the next and a succession of managers.

 

Thats what I'm hinting at.  How do you see it. 

 

I agree wholeheartedly.

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Good article.

 

It is incredible that we achieve the attendances we do, given that most of the people in the stands have never seen the club lift a trophy.

 

As for all this curse talk, please. That's the easy answer and the easy way to look at things, it's just feeling sorry for ourselves. If you genuinely believe we're cursed then why bother following the club? Every year we top the injury table and I can't remember the last time I saw our best 11 on the field, it was probably a few years back under Robson. I'm sure we have all thought at times that there must be an explanation for this.

 

If I thought we were cursed I wouldn't follow the club, that would be madness. It's all about keeping faith in the toon. Our day will come.

 

I'm With U, Waiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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