This is a trip down memory lane from a reader of ours that has experienced more of the Toon highs and lows than the vast majority of us. Tom Page has captured our imaginations with vivid stories of his experiences of Newcastle United from times before man landed on the moon or PC’s ever existed. He has even witnessed what has ling been a Holy Grail for most of us fans – our club winning meaningful silverware… The following is just one of Tom’s many Toon memories.
For the 1952 and 1953 Wembley appearances tickets were issued some months before. My Dad and I sent in our postal orders for some tickets as required by our season ticket books. Unfortunately, they were returned, without the tickets and with no explanation other than we had been unsuccessful.
Consequently, we went to the Lyric Cinema in Heaton to watch the movie to news on both occasions and were thrilled with the performances of our favourite team. We also went to the Newcastle Central Station to see the team return with the cup and mingled among the crowds who were there to cheer the team aboard a bus as they moved along from the central station to Collingwood Street. We then hurried up Pink Lane, then up Bath Lane and along Stowell Street to St James Park. We took our seats and watched the cup paraded around the ground and heard the players each give their little speech about their great day at Wembley, before returning home.
Sometime later, stories started circulating around Tyneside about the club allocating ‘blocks of tickets’ to the players so that they could give them to family and friends. However, the stories going around were not related to the gifts of these tickets to the players but were concerning as to the amount of blocks of tickets being sold around the region by the players. Eventually, the Evening Chronicle printed the allegations that the players had indeed been selling the Wembley tickets that were meant for families and friends, to anyone who would pay.
Several well-known stars of the time were alleged to have been involved. One of whom, was reportedly selling his share in a well-known Newcastle West End social club. John Gibson was at the time on the staff of the Evening Chronicle and may recall these events.
Undaunted, we both resumed to attend the games following the return of the team. However, from then on we were both very sceptical about the running of the club.
I was luckier than my Dad because I was able to draw a ticket for the 1955 cup final. For our two tickets only one was available from the club. My Dad gave the ticket to me so that I might be able to go to London and see my team win the cup.
I would like to make it clear that Newcastle United football club have not always had their fans considerations at heart. And today’s directors don’t appear to be any different.