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A Countdown Through Time: 1960s

A Quick Rebuild Leads to European Success

Soccer - Newcastle United Parade The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup - St James’ Park Photo by Peter Robinson - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Another week, another chance for me to pretend to be a history professor. This week, we look back at the 1960s. A decade that saw The Beatles rise to become international rock legends, NASA put a man on the moon, and Newcastle United go from being relegated from the First Division to finding international success.

The decade begins on a sour note, as Newcastle United after struggling for the last four seasons to keep their place in the First Division, is relegated once more under manager Charlie Mitten. Mitten would call it quits after just one season in the Second Division, capping off a three year stint full of struggles and underachievement. Newcastle would replace Mitten with former player, Joe Harvey.

Soccer - FA Cup Final - Newcastle United v Arsenal - Wembley Stadium
Former Newcastle United captain Joe Harvey after winning the 1952 FA Cup
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Harvey would perform a quick turnaround for Newcastle, as just four years after being appointed manager, Newcastle would win the 1965 Second Division championship and return to the First Division. But Harvey wasn’t just satisfied being in the top division again, he continued to build on his momentum and after the 1967/68 season, Newcastle qualified for European competition for the first time and in 1969, found themselves in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final, the predecessor to what would later be the UEFA Cup.

Newcastle United would face Hungary’s Újpest Dozsa in a two leg final, the first played in St. James’ Park, the second played in Megyeri úti Stadium in Budapest. 60,000 people would see Newcastle take the field against Újpest Dozsa at St. James’ Park. The game would stay in deadlock until the 63rd minute, as then captain Robert Moncur broke the tie. Then, not even ten minutes later, Moncur would find the back of the net again at the 72nd minute. However, this wasn’t the end of the scoring, as Jim Scott would also beat the goalkeeper with a goal of his own in the 83rd minute and wrapped up the trouncing of Újpest Dozsa in the first leg.

Soccer - Inter-Cities Fairs Cup - Final First Leg - Newcastle United v Ujpest Dozsa Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

13 days later, Megyeri úti Stadium would host a far more competitive game than the first game in the final. Újpest Dozsa would strike first, as Ferenc Bene finds pay dirt in the 31st minutes. The next goal wouldn’t be scored until the dying minutes of the first half as János Göröcs scores in the 44th minute. Going into halftime, Newcastle needed to regroup, re-energize and refocus. And that’s just what they did, as Moncur would score in the 46th minute followed shortly after by Preben Arentoft in the 50th minute, bringing the game back to a stalemate. In the 73rd minute, Alan Foggon would be subbed on in place of Jim Scott. Less than a minute later, Foggon would break the tie and seal the victory for Newcastle United, winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup by a total of 6-2.

Soccer - Newcastle United Parade The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup - St James’ Park Photo by Peter Robinson - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Newcastle was able to quickly turn their fortunes around after getting relegated at the start of the 60s. They were able to not only return to the First Division in just 5 years, but in the very same decade, they not only qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup for the first time, but also won it the same year. Coming off what many consider to be the golden age of Newcastle United football, Joe Harvey was able to recapture the same energy and even brought Newcastle their first taste of international success.