Newcastle United: The first 125 Years


Saturday was Newcastle United's 125th Birthday, it was a fantastic atmosphere before the game with all the flags but unfortunately, the players couldn't get a result. But let's take a look at the club's history so far to celebrate the 125th anniversary.

1880s - The beginning

The origins of NUFC can traced back to November 1881 when Stanley Cricket Club formed a football club in Byker that was renamed to Newcastle East End eleven months later. Meanwhile, Newcastle's West End Cricket Club formed Newcastle West End in August 1882 and they took over St James' Park in 1886 and became rivals with the East End in the Northern League.

1890s - NUFC is formed

East End became professional in 1889 and in March 1890, they became a limited company with a capital of £1,000 but towards the end of the 1891-92 season, their results were at an all-time low and West End were in serious trouble and eventually liquidated. East End took over St James' Park and were invited to play in the Second Division but turned the offer down and remained in the Northern League. In an attempt to attract bigger crowds, they decided to change their name and on 9 December 1892, they became Newcastle United. In 1893, we lost our first ever competitive match 3-2 at home to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup but we joined the Second Division later that year and our first competitive match was a 2-2 draw away to Woolwich Arsenal and we finished 4th in our first ever league season. The final day of the 1894-95 season saw us suffer our record defeat as we were trounced 9-0 by Burton Wanderers on Easter Monday. In 1898, we finished second in the league and qualified for the end of the season along with champions Blackburn and Burnley and Stoke, who finished in the bottom two positions in the First Division. However, Blackburn and Stoke deliberately played out a 0-0 draw, knowing it would be enough for both to play in the First Division. This led to the Football League getting rid of test matches and introducing promotion and relegation whilst all four teams would be playing First Division football in 1898-99. But we started life in the top flight with a 4-2 home loss against Wolves and it took us eleven attempts to win a game as we beat Liverpool 3-0 on Guy Fawkes Day on 5 November 1898. We finished our first ever top flight season in 13th but we won our first ever Tyne-Wear derby 3-2 against Sunderland at Roker Park on Christmas Eve.

1900s - The first successes

At the turn of the century, our league positions improved and in 1905, we won our first ever league title and reached our first FA Cup final but lost 2-0 to Aston Villa at Crystal Palace. A year later, we lost another FA Cup final at Crystal Palace, this time 1-0 to Everton. In 1907, we won the league again but we were stunned by Southern League club Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, losing 1-0 on Tyneside in the first round. In 1908, we recorded the biggest ever FA Cup semi-final win by hammering Fulham 6-0 at Anfield but Crystal Palace proved to be an unhappy hunting ground once again as we lost 3-1 there to a Wolves side, who finished 9th in the Second Division. In December 1908, we suffered our biggest ever home defeat, losing 9-1 to Sunderland of all teams despite the score being 1-1 at the break but we made up for it by winning the league that season.

1910s - Interrupted by war

In 1910, we finally won the FA Cup, we drew against Barnsley at Crystal Palace before winning the replay at Goodison Park. However, we returned to Crystal Palace for the final time for the 1911 final, which we drew against Bradford before losing 1-0 in the replay at Old Trafford. Our last competitive game before competitive football was suspended at the end of the 1914-15 season due to WW1 was a 3-0 home win over Aston Villa, when it returned in the summer of 1919, we beat Arsenal 1-0 at Highbury.

1920s - Wor Hughie

Our first visit to Wembley came in 1924 for the FA Cup final and we beat Aston Villa 2-0 thanks to late goals from Neil Harris and Stan Seymour, who became an influential figure at the club as a player, manager and director until his death on Christmas Eve 1978. Three years later, we won our fourth, and so far, last top flight title. However, that was the only time between the two wars that we finished in the top three in the First Division despite Hughie Gallacher's 141 goals in 174 games.

1930s - Relegation and another war

In 1930, Andy Cunningham became our first ever official manager and was player-manager in his first season in charge. That summer, Hughie Gallacher was sold to Chelsea and his return to St James' Park in September drew a record crowd of 68,386. In 1932, we reached the FA Cup final and the game became known as the 'Over The Line' final as the ball appeared to have crossed the line for an Arsenal goal kick but Jimmy Richardson crossed it in and Jack Allen equalised. Allen scored against to seal a 2-1 win and our third FA Cup triumph, however, despite a fifth place finish in 1933, we were relegated for the first time in 1934 despite hammering Liverpool 9-2 and Everton 7-3 in the space of a week. Things got worse as the decade and Cunningham left the club in 1935 and Tom Mather took over, three years later, we were only saved from relegation to the Third Division on goal average. The day after an 8-1 humping of Swansea, competitive football was once again suspended for WW2 in September 1939 whilst Tom Mather's stint in charge came to an end.

1940s - Back in the top flight

Whilst competitive football was suspended, Jackie Milburn, Tommy Walker and Bobby Cowell were brought in and played in Wartime League games. When competitive football restarted in January 1946, we beat Barnsley 4-2 in the first leg of the FA Cup third round before losing 3-0 at Oakwell to go out 5-4 on aggregate. When league football was resumed in the summer, we finished in the top five for the first time since relegation and recorded our biggest ever win by beating Newport 13-0 in October 1946, in 1948, we won promotion in George Martin's first season in charge despite selling top scorers Charlie Wayman in the summer and Len Shackleton in February as Jackie Milburn took over as the main man.

1950s - FA Cup fever

Martin resigned as manager in December 1950 but the early 1950s was a memorable period of our history as we won the FA Cup in 1951, 1952 and 1955, inspired by the likes of Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Robledo with Doug Livingstone taking over as manager five months before the 1955 triumph before leaving in 1956 due to issues with the board. We started to decline afterwards and after we only escaped relegation on goal average in 1958, Stan Seymour was replaced by Charlie Mitten and it was Len White's goals were what kept us up after Jackie Milburn's retirement in 1957.

1960s - European glory

Despite scoring 86 league goals in the 1960-61 season, we also conceded 109 goals and were relegated. Mitten was sacked in October after a bad start to the 1961-62 season and Norman Smith came in to save us from relegation but stepped down at the end of the season. Joe Harvey took over and led us to the Second Division title in 1965, in 1968, we qualified for Europe for the first time and our first ever game in Europe was a 4-0 win over Feyenoord in the first leg of the Inter-Cities Faires Cup first round and we eliminated Sporting Lisbon, Real Zaragoza, Vitória Setúbal and Rangers to reach the final against Újpest Dózsa. We won the first leg 3-0 at St James' before going 2-0 down at half-time in Hungary, but goals from captain Bob Moncur, Preben Arentoft and substitute Alan Foggon sealed a 6-2 aggregate win and made us champions.

1970s - S