We continue to creep closer to the start of the season, so that means it is that time of the week again. This time we’re covering the Golden Age of Newcastle United. A decade that saw the Magpies win three FA Cups in five years. A decade of domination when seen at a glance.
From the outset, Newcastle found itself in the 1951 FA Cup final against Blackpool. The match, attended by 100,000 people, saw Newcastle United striker Jackie Milburn score twice in the second half to secure Newcastle their 4th FA Cup in club history. Newcastle didn’t take long to return to defend their title, as they would be back the following year.
The 1952 FA Cup final pitted Newcastle United against Arsenal in the hitherto second only Cup final to be played in May. The majority of the match was close, with neither team scoring until the 84th minute, when Chilean striker Jorge “George” Robledo finally broke the stalemate. His goal would be the only one scored that day as Newcastle was able to raise their second FA Cup back to back.
The next two years saw Newcastle fall out of championship-winning form, as they went from finishing in the top ten for both FA Cup victories the past two years, to finish 16th and 15th following the 1952 FA Cup victory.
Luckily, Newcastle was able to get out of their slump by 1955 and finished 8th in the league and found themselves in the FA Cup final again, this time against Manchester City. The match would see striker Jackie Milburn score in only 45 seconds, a record that would stand until 1997. City’s Robert Johnstone would tie the match in the dying seconds of the first half. Newcastle would come out of the break re-energized, with Robert Mitchell and George Hannah scoring in the 52nd and 59th minutes respectively. And as the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 3-1 and marked Newcastle’s third FA Cup in just five years.
But just like they did after the ‘52 Cup win, Newcastle would fail to keep their winning ways as they would never finish in the top ten for the rest of the decade. Striker Jackie Milburn would leave the club in 1957 to become a player/manager at Linfield in Belfast. The 1956/57 and 1957/58 would see Newcastle come very close to being relegated to the Second Division even.
Most people will look back on the 50s with rose-tinted glasses, only seeing the three FA Cups in five years. But what they’ll forget to mention when talking about the decade is Newcastle never finished in the top ten in the years outside of the Cup victories and the fact that Newcastle had to fend off relegation not once but twice in back to back years. I’m not saying the team was bad back then, but if the 50s were a graph, it would be a pretty flat line with three huge spikes at the beginning.