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Tyne Talk

Does Anyone Care About Jackie Milburn and The 1950s?

8 years ago

This week we have been publishing a number of articles featuring the late great Jackie Milburn, this piece coincides with the 25th anniversary of his death at the age of only 64, 25 years to the day.

After we published an article on Tuesday, one of our readers left the following comment;

“Seriously, does anyone care about the 1950s? I was born in ’71. Supermac is as far back as I go…”

It got me thinking, just because Jackie Milburn, the 1950s, Newcastle’s history etc. matter to me, why should that automatically apply to others?

I suppose when you seemingly have many people now who appear to have no interest in the two world wars of the twentieth century, then why should the past (ancient?) history of their football club have relevance for all Newcastle fans? If you are leaving school/college in the next year or two then even the 1982 Falklands war and the Gulf war of 1990 might seem to be in the dim and distant past.

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Similarly, those of us who harp on about the KK and Sir Bobby days may sound a bit tedious to those who are 18 and under.

In the overall scheme of things it doesn’t matter if a minority don’t have any interest in Newcastle United’s rich history, the same probably applying to the history of our proud city which has had more than its fair share of ups and downs.

For most of us though, I do think the history of both the club and city matters because it makes us the people we are today. When you meet people from other parts of the country, they are often quite disparaging about the place where they grew up, a concept totally alien to all but a handful of Geordies.

Our pride in the city and football club will always be there, no matter how often it is tested…

I remember back to October 1988 and standing on Collingwood Street as Jackie Milburn’s funeral cortege made its way to St. Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle City Centre, I was there along with an estimated 30,000+ others, as well as those inside the Cathedral.

The Mag was less than two months old back then, which shows how long ago Jackie’s funeral was and reminds me of my age. I was too young to have seen Jackie Milburn play but I still wanted to be there, paying tribute to somebody who had helped make our football club and city a better place for all.

Many years later I was lucky enough to work with Jack, Jackie Milburn’s son, and heard first hand so many great stories of the Milburn legacy. Jack putting his thoughts into an excellent book documenting the lives the Milburn family lived with arguably Newcastle United’s greatest ever player in their midst.

So, coming back to the original question; does Jackie Milburn, the 1950s and whatever else matter? I would say without question it does and not just because we need to go back to the dim and distant past to recall the days when Newcastle United were famous for their silverware and not just the phenomenal support.

The history lesson for me is that when everybody pulls together then Newcastle United can achieve great things and I don’t think that ever changes. Under Kevin Keegan and to a slightly lesser extent under Sir Bobby, we almost went all the way to becoming a club who lifts silverware again.

One day it will happen and we’ll all have our part to play, then it will be us making history.


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