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Terry Hibbitt…On the wing

2 weeks ago

Terry Hibbitt was born in Bradford and joined Don Revie’s Leeds United as a youth player in 1962.

This Leeds team was about to embark on an unprecedented journey to the pinnacle of English football, becoming infamous for their ruthless professionalism.

Terry Hibbitt was part of the Leeds side that won the Inter-City Fairs Cup in 1968, and played 12 times and scored three goals as Leeds won the League in 1969.

During this period, Terry was competing with the mercurial Leeds legend Eddie Gray for the left-wing/midfield position and when Joe Harvey came calling in 1971, Terry Hibbitt jumped at the opportunity to become a first choice player at Newcastle United.

One of the most famous ever Newcastle United photographs taken during this period, was of Terry Hibbitt hanging like a monkey on Malcolm MacDonald’s back after Supermac’s hat-trick on his home debut.

The two became great mates on and off the pitch, developing an almost telepathic understanding when wearing the black and white stripes. Who can ever forget Terry’s exquisite first-time 50 yard pass with his left peg, that set Malcolm on his way for the killer goal in the 1974 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough?

The erstwhile Joe Harvey knew the value of keeping the two of them sweet and he used to light their fags up at half-time, so that they could have a quick drag in the tunnel before the half-time team talk.

Terry was a feisty little fella and when Gordon Lee took over from Joe, he put the new boss straight in his place.

Apparently the story goes that Lee was ribbing “Supermac” by saying….”Who ever heard of an England centre forward called Malcy MacDonald?….You should be playing for Scotland son.” Quick as a flash Terry jumped in and asked: “How many caps have you got for China then, Mr Lee?”

Terry was on his way to Birmingham City in 1975 but returned to Newcastle in 1978 to sign for Bill McGarry after our relegation to Division Two. He went on to make another 90 league appearances in three seasons, before joining Gateshead, who he would go onto manage.

Later, Terry would become a popular pub landlord at The Diamond in Ponteland, with a reputation for not putting up with any nonsense or cheeky beggars.

I once met Terry just before he left Newcastle in 1981 for the second time and when we learnt of his passing in 1994 at the age of 46, my mates and I who had stood on the terraces in the 70s chanting his name were devastated.

Around about 2004 my eldest daughter came back from working at Newcastle airport and said that she had met a lovely girl there. She said that her new friend had told her that her Dad had once played for the Toon but that he had died when she was quite young.

Aye well, to cut a long story short she was Terry’s little lass and my memories were stirred.

I told Wor Carly to tell her friend that her Dad was a fine player and well remembered. As I’d had a few pints….I also sang his song, to the amusement of my family…

“We’ve got Terry, Terry, Terry, Terry Hibbitt on the wing, on the wing!”

(*Terry’s brother Kenny played in the First Division in the 1970s for Wolverhampton Wanderers and was also a club legend)


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