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Preview Newcastle v Spurs, 21.10.01

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Newcastle United

Prem         Pl   W   D   L    For-Ag  Pts
Home          8   5   1   2    18 -10  16
Away          8   1   3   4     8 -17   6
Total(Prem)  16   6   4   6    26 -27  22
Lge Div 1
Home         43  24   7  12    87 -48  59
Away         43  15  14  14    70 -76  45
Total(Div 1) 86  39  21  26   157 -124 109
Lge Div 2
Home          6   1   3   2     6 - 7   5
Away          6   3   0   3     6 - 4   6
Total(Div 2) 12   4   3   5    12 -11  11
Total(Prem)  16   6   4   6    26 -27  22
Total(Div 1) 86  39  21  26   157 -124 109
Total(Div 2) 12   4   3   5    12 -11  11
Grand Total 114  49  28  37   195 -162 142

This will always be a painful fixture for us to review in view of past thrashings at Newcastle, the more recent being those 6-1 (in the FA Cup a couple of seasons ago) and 7-1 shortly afterwards. But our record there is not all doom and gloom as we had a fairly good record at St James' Park when we were in the Football League.

However, for a change, I thought I would talk about some individual players who have graced this particular fixture. We are all aware of Alan Shearer, who has worn the number 9 shirt for Newcastle in recent seasons but Jackie Milburn is still revered on Tyneside for his part in helping Newcastle to win the FA Cup three times during the 1950s. He was a graceful player in the air and just as quick to see a half chance as Alan Shearer has been over the past decade.

Their captain during those triumphant years at Wembley was Jimmy Scoular, who had won championship honours with Portsmouth and then won FA Cup medals with the Geordies. Scoular was an uncompromising player in the David Batty or Dave Mackay mould. He took no prisoners but he was a hard but fair player.

Ardiles and Villa were not, of course, the first foreign nationals to play in this country. The Robledo brothers, Edward and George, both played for Barnsley and Newcastle, whilst Edward also played for Notts County. George was the more famous of the two brothers from Chile, playing for his country. Both began as Juniors with Barnsley. George played on the left wing for Newcastle but I forget which position Edward played in.

George Eastham was a very frail schemer for Newcastle in the 1950s but he wanted to play for Arsenal. The Board refused to let him go, insisting they had the right to retain his services. Eastham promptly went on strike and refused to play for Newcastle. The whole matter was referred to the Courts for a decision and the decision came down in favour of Eastham, the judges arguing that in insisting on retaining Eastham against his will was a restraint of trade as people in other employment were free to resign from their present occupation and seek employment elsewhere. That was the start of the long trail towards the present state of affairs in which agents literally dictate what their clients require if the clubs wish to retain their employment.

Ronnie Simpson spent nearly ten years of his career playing for Newcastle before moving on to Celtic, where he won immortal fame playing in Jock Stein's 1960s team that won the European Cup, beating Inter Milan, 2-1. Simpson was an unflashy goalkeeper, who was that rarity a Scottish goalkeeper who was not a joke when he played for Scotland. He played for almost 20 years at the top, playing for Newcastle in the 1952 and 1955 FA Cup Finals.

Going back in time, Hughie Gallacher, who played for a number of clubs including Newcastle, was probably one of the greatest stars of his time. He certainly played some brilliant football according to contemporary accounts of games he played in. What was very sad about Gallacher was that he committed suicide at a very early age, finding life difficult to cope with after finishing his football career, plunging in front of an express train.

Tomorrow, of course, is another day, as they say. We have been playing more confidently away from home than for some time so, hopefully, we may be able to secure something from tomorrow's match. Spurs have played some good football recently but they have had a glaring failure to make the most of their chances in front of the opposition's goal. I take Spurs to secure a point at St James' Park to make the long journey worthwhile.


Cheers, Brian

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