The I to P of Newcastle United – Not to be missed
Thanks very much to writer David McAvelia for taking on the task of an A-Z of Newcastle United.
Obviously the idea is not to include every single person or event but this is a very entertaining look at many of the things that make our club what it is.
So here is David’s (with a little help from friends) I-P of Newcastle United (if you missed A-H go HERE):
I is for Indian War Cry:
Red Indian cry that would mysteriously come from the East stand during games in the 80s and 90s.
Thank you @nufc_1980_1994 for the link.
J is for Jinky Jim:
Possibly the greatest nickname in NUFC history, describing a Newcastle great who loved to dribble and loved a nutmeg.
The Chronicle one time likened him to Hatem Ben Arfa. Enjoyed a pint and would no doubt frequent Julies with Tino had he been born a couple of decades later.
J is for Jones, Vinnie:
In the late 80s a glossy poster from The Pink (see P is for Pink) adorned the walls of many a young NUFC fan.
The iconic photo of Vinnie Jones getting a handful of Gazza captures the hard man Jones and one of NUFC’s greatest icons at their very best.
The full story is highlighted romantically in the clip below but Newcastle fans have good memories and Jones was always going to cop some grief every time he visited St James’ after this incident.
In the 1995 fixture between NUFC and Wimbledon a red card for Paul Heald meant that Vinnie would get the keeper’s jersey. Newcastle were rampant that day winning 6-1 but it could have been a shed load more were it not for Jones’ keeper skills. A fine double stop from Ginola and Gillespie being the highlights.
K is for Keepers:
We’ve had some absolute stinkers but some real cult heroes over the years.
Steve Harper, Tony Caig, Mike Hooper, Kevin Carr, Gary Kelly, Martin Thomas, Tommy Wright, Beasant, Shay and Shaka.
Some special mentions for John “Budgie” Burridge who for a big fella could daintily walk on his hands, to Pav for being Pav, and Mick Mahoney who had his own song that my Dad still sings to this day, “Mick Mahoney Super Goalie (Tra La La La Lah).”
Jimmy Lawrence deserves a section of his own. See below.
K is for Kinnear:
K is for Kelly, Ned Kelly:
The man whose goal was the springboard for the modern NUFC. The catalyst for the Keegan adventure, the Premier League riches and those European adventures.
Aside from THAT goal, the man encapsulated what we want from our players: heart, bravery, skill, commitment, honesty and connection to the fans, all sorely missing nowadays. A true legend and hero.
L is for Lawrence, Jimmy:
None of us have seen him play, many of us won’t even know his name, but as you look to the right at the exit of St James’ Metro station you’ll see a picture of arguably our greatest player.
Jimmy should have a statue, in fact we should name the stadium after him. Jimmy Lawrence played for 18 years at Newcastle featuring over 400 times and is one of our most decorated players. An astonishing record. A true great.
L is for Local Hero:
Mark Knopfler guitar song that has for many years accompanied the Magpies onto the pitch. Though a soft rock instrumental that won’t be found in the record collections of many Geordie punks or mods, its stirring opening chords bring a half cut Geordie public into life on a Saturday at 15.00.
M is for The Mag:
Up until the late 80s the only way to catch up on your NUFC news was via the Chronicle or Teletext but a mini media revolution brought the fanzine scene to match days.
Back then you could pick up the likes of Half Mag Half Biscuit (that I used to sell at the East Stand), Talk of the Toon, Talk of the Tyne, Toon Army News and The Number 9.
The magazines offered the public a different take on the sports headlines, with other insightful pieces such as “Football Makes You Swear” and “Speak Czech with Pavel”.
Well done The Mag, still flying the flag after all this time.
M is for Milan:
Italian city in which you have never seen a Mackem.
M is for Mirandinha:
“We’ve got Mirandinha, he’s not from Argentina, he’s from Brazil, he’s ‘flippin’ brill.”
I am awaiting the day that I hear the following question in a pub quiz –
“Who was the first Brazilian player to play in the English League”.
When I do I will stand on my stool and scream “Francisco Ernani Lima da Silva”.
Mirandinha played over 50 times for Newcastle and scored 19 goals, he perhaps lacked the skill of Pele but he scored some bangers and slotted home a number of pens. It’s hard to imagine how bewildering it must have been to land in Newcastle and meet Gazza. Apparently Gazza once made Mira ask the gaffer McFaul “Mister Willie, I’m hungry, can I have fish and chips?”
N is for Nails :
From the ankle biters like Bowyer and Batty, the wiley blokes whose pint you wouldn’t like to spill such as Pearce, to the big lads such as Pat Howard, Ron Guthrie, Duncan Ferguson and Kilcline.
Billy Whitehurst was a personal favourite because he looked like he’d scare his own granny and he was rumoured to be a handy fighter amongst the gypsy community. Possibly a myth but one I’m happy to believe.
Another notable mention would be John McNamee who, according to my mate’s Dad, was nuttier than a Marathon. In a Fairs Cup game against Rangers he warmed up in his old Celtic shirt. Nails!
N is for Nicknames:
Wyn the Leap, Supermac, Jinky Jim, Pedro, Ned Kelly, Killer Kilcline, Wazza Barton, Bez, Salty Sellars, Gazza, Big Al, Sir Les, Pav, Pop Robson, Wor Jackie.
N is for “No Goal!”:
in 1996 a young David Beckham gracefully chipped the ball over Neil Sullivan of Wimbledon from the halfway line. Shortly after he’d marry a Spice Girl, win numerous honours for Man United and be an England hero.
For Robert Lee of Newcastle the story is slightly different. You can keep your pop stars, your sarong and bleached blonde hair, Lee is a Geordie icon. The greatest goal there never was –
O is for O’Brien:
Liam O’Brien, Andy O’Brien
Any Any Any O’Brien
Who Put The Ball In The Mackems Net?
Whoever thought of this song deserves a Brit award.
Liam O’Brien specifically deserves a mention having played over 150 times and featuring in a relegation and promotion battle. Like Ned Kelly he was surplus to requirements after promotion. Well known for donning the number four shirt and regularly wearing long sleeves. Also wore the classic yellow and green in the early 90s.
O is for Over the wall:
Ryan Taylor, injury ravaged full back who never got the chance to fulfill his potential. Honest, solid and a decent tackler. Played under two of our least favourite managers having been signed by Kinnear and released by Carver.
After getting released was famously asked if he could pass the phone to Jonas. An extremely cruel way to end both their NUFC careers. Could bang in a decent free kick as the Mackems, Scunthorpe and Atromitos found out.
O is for Owen, Michael:
One of Newcastle’s most high profile signings who brought fans from across the north east to witness him sign at St James Park in scenes reminiscent of the Bernabeu or the Nou Camp.
Rarely do you see a player who could bang in goals, take home a bumper pay cheque and give less of a flying monkey than this lad. Had the potential to become a legend but legged it when the going got tough. You won’t hear anyone ever say “Owen…… what a great lad!”
P is for Pack of Cards:
“What’s the matter? They’re foreigners. Just score a goal and they’ll collapse like a pack of cards.”
The words of the late, great Joe Harvey spoken at half-time to a Newcastle team facing defeat in the Inter City Fairs Cup final. He was right, we scored, they collapsed and we won. Possibly the most famous quote in Newcastle history, but another from David Craig highlights the stature of the man who originally said it – “I would have walked through a brick wall for Joe.”
P Is for Palmer, Harry:
“An N and an E and a wubble-u C”
“Slap your lass with a Christmas tree”
“We’ve got Terry Terry Terry Terry Hibbitt on the wing, on the wing”
“Hey eyyyyy, Alan Gowling”
“He’s here, he’s there, we’re not allowed to swear, Micky Burns, Micky Burns.”
Geordie busking icon who walked onto St James Park in his jeans and toon top to serenade the crowd with his guitar. Never threatened the UK top 40 but he did have a cassette that I bought from HMV.
Quite astonishing how this ever came to be and something you will never see again. If you weren’t around to see him please watch this –
P is for Pink:
Part of the Geordie curriculum circulated for over 110 years.
A sports paper printed in less than an hour and delivered to pubs, your chance to review the day’s results and the league table and for youngsters a chance to unfurl a centre spread poster to Blu-tack to the wall much to the dismay of your dad who’d just decorated.
I remember forgetting to buy an edition that featured a Newcastle Legends poster. I ran to the shops on the Sunday morning and the newsagent had kept a few back. The relief!
The Pink was replaced by mobile phones and Jeff Stelling’s gang of knackers. A huge part of our footballing heritage.
P is for Player Postcards:
Years ago, in the Newcastle supporters shop, somewhere by the till there would always be a tatty box, in the tatty box would be a box of postcards featuring Newcastle player head shots.
If you were lucky you might find a hero amongst them, more likely you find duplicates of players we’d just sold, fringe players or last season’s squad.
Frank Pingel and Brian Tinnion would often be found near the back. I’ve still got my Mira card.
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