John McNamee was a cult hero for Newcastle fans before cult heroes had even been invented.
In football terms, a cult hero is somebody who usually isn’t at the very very top in terms of talent and/or success, but has something that makes them a bit special as well as being good to very good as a footballer. At least that is my definition of a football ‘cult hero’.
John McNamee was at Newcastle from 1966 to 1971 and played 117 matches, scoring 8 goals. Helping United win the Fairs Cup, although he didn’t play in the actual final he featured in earlier rounds, including the excellent goalless draw at Ibrox in the semi-finals.
He was a central defender and a larger than life character who was fully committed – loved by the fans.
Yesterday we brought you news that an appeal had been launched to help John, living in Cockermouth, Cumbria, he had become one of the many flood victims who had been forced to leave his house due to flooding.
What made it worse was that this was the second time the former United player had been flooded out.
A Newcastle supporter who moved to Cockermouth 25 years ago and befriended John McNamee, started an online fundraising appeal on Tuesday, in order to help raise some cash to help the Toon legend get his life and house back on track.
In only 48 hours the fundraising is already two thirds of the way towards its £5,000 total.
There is a saying that the pleasure is in the giving and this is a perfect example of that particular saying in action.
Just have a read of some of these messages left by people as they contribute to the online fundraising appeal, you can picture the sparkle in their eyes as they press the button to give a little bit back to one of their heroes who gave them so much pleasure, in the days when by and large every footballer played football for the buzz it gave them playing the game in front of fans who identified with them.
Andrew S (Leazes Ender):
‘John is one thing of my all-time heroes. The type of centre half we need now – uncompromising and fearless. He certainly seemed to induce fear in the opposition.’
‘Haha.. I saw you score from a corner by bundling the ball into the back of the net…… you also bundled 2 of the opposing players there as well! Take no prisoners… Good luck mate.’
‘Legend – I remember you walking along Barrack Road to training at Hunters Moor with a fag while the others jogged along. Also, standing on Alan Whittle’s arm in a reserve match as he feigned injury.’
‘Best wishes to a Newcastle hero. From a Soft Southern Bastad who loves the Toon and wishes we had real players like you now.’
‘Putting Colin Stein off the pitch at Ibrox courtesy of a rather robust challenge is my personal highlight. Obviously the Fullwell end crossbar swinging rates highly too.’
‘My hero from the 1960’s and the best interview I ever did for the MAG (2 pots of tea in his kitchen!).’
‘Good Luck big man. Still fondly remembered , running out the tunnel, middle of winter. frost on the pitch and in the air. Big John, short sleeved shirt when all around were freezing. A real man’s man.’
Newcastle Supporters Club London
‘Des Kindley on behalf of The London Newcastle Supporters Club.Good Luck. Hope you get sorted out soon.’
‘Good luck to a wonderful servant of Newcastle United. I will always remember his heroic performance for Newcastle against Rangers in the Fairs Cup and also his wonderful goal against Sunderland.’
‘Count this as payment for the enjoyment you gave me when you swung on the net at Roker Park.’
‘We always wondered if you could kick the ball out of the ground at St. James’s. Good Luck with this.’
‘Great fella. From the Brighton exiles.’
‘For this great man. Swinging on the Mackems crossbar, what a sight. All the best John.’
If you would like to help and also add your own comment (though not compulsory), visit the fundraising page HERE.