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A Countdown Through Time: 1930s

A Lone Bright Spot in a Decade of Sadness

Allen With FA Cup Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One week down, eight weeks to go. So that means it’s time for another Countdown Through Time. We did the 1920s last week so its only logical we cover Newcastle United’s history during the 1930s this week.

The year is 1930. Newcastle United has just narrowly avoided being relegated from the First Division at the end of an otherwise strong decade of performance by the club. Newcastle has just sold Hughie Gallacher to Chelsea and Andy Cunningham becomes the club’s first team manager.

It didn’t take long for Newcastle to regain their winning ways as they would find themselves in the 1931/32 FA Cup final against Arsenal. Newcastle’s Jack Allen would be the one to lead the club to victory that day, scoring both goals in the 2-1 win over the Gunners. The win did not come without controversy, however.

The 1932 FA Cup Final is now often referred to as the “Over the Line” final due to a controversial call in the first half. With Arsenal leading 0-1, Newcastle would play a long ball into the attacking third which appeared to go out of bounds across the goal line. The play was not blown dead, however, and Newcastle’s Jimmy RIchardson would cross the ball back into play, where Jack Allen was waiting to score the equalizer.

At the time, referee W. P. Harper ruled the ball did not cross the goal line and therefore the goal stood, but later photographic evidence shows the ball had indeed crossed the goal line. Jack Allen would later score in the second half and secure Newcastle their third FA Cup.

Moss Versus Allen

Unfortunately, Newcastle’s reign didn’t last long, as 1934 saw Newcastle United relegated to the Second Division after 35 years at the pinnacle of English football. Between the 1934/35 and 1936/37 seasons, Newcastle United would finish in the top 10 of the Second Division, nearly making it back to the first division in 1935/36 with a fourth place finish.

But in the 1937/38 season, Newcastle fell down the table, finishing in 19th place, barely avoiding relegation out of the Second Division thanks only to a better goal difference than Nottingham Forrest. Luckily, this was the only time Newcastle was in danger of being relegated further as the 38/39 season saw the Magpies return the 9th place in the tables. The 1939/40 season saw Newcastle start with a 1-2 record before the season was abandoned due to England declaring war on Germany.

Looking back at it all, the 1930s feel like the exact opposite to the Newcastle United of the 1920s. The 20s saw Newcastle United sit at the upper end of the table until 1924, when they won the FA Cup. They would later build on this by winning the First Division Championship in 1926/27. From there, Newcastle United stayed fairly consistent, finishing toward the top of the table until the end of the decade. The 30s, on the other hand, had Newcastle win the FA Cup in 1931/32 and they get relegated only a few years later. The rest of the decade would see Newcastle trying and failing to return to the First Division. And with the last season of the decade abandoned due to World War II, it will forever be a mystery if Newcastle would have been promoted back to the First Division in 1939/40.