Blast from the past – Len White.

lenwhiteThis series would not be possible if it were not for some excellent past articles constructed by contributors to sites such as the Chronicle, Spartacus-Educational and several other open sources – so thank you.

Len White was born in Skellow near Doncaster in 1930. His love of the game was formed whilst turning out for Upton Colliery before he joined Rotherham United in May 1948. Len was employed a right winger and managed 15 goals in 43 appearances for the Millers during his two seasons with them.

By now Newcastle United had taken notice of Len. We needed a replacement for the ageing Tommy Walker, the Newcastle winger who had now turned 30-years-old and was beginning his inevitable decline. Len signed for the Magpies in February 1953 for £12,000 – leading to Walker’s exit in 1954 following 12 loyal and dependable years with the Toon. The same season would see the arrival of Jimmy Scoular for £26,000, with Jimmy immediately being handed the Captain’s armband. Len would find himself in the company of some very good players in the shape of Scoular, Jackie Milburn and 1 goal-in-4 left winger Bobby Mitchell. We have some brilliant wide players back in those days and knew how to supply the forward line, something we sadly lack today.

Len White was signed as a winger. He made his debut against Liverpool and scored 2 goals in 12 appearances that season. The following season Len scored 14 goals in 29 appearances from the wing – helping the Toon to finish Division One in 8th place. In 1955 Newcastle would win the FA Cup for the 3rd time in 5 years. Len had scored in a 2-0 semi final victory versus York following an assist by Jackie Milburn, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIWOA6pnBo

In the final, Len set Jackie up from a corner kick to put the Toon one up against Man City after just 1 minute. City pulled one back by half time, but they had lost a player to injury. This was significant because substitutions were not introduced until 1965, so the Magpies were playing against 10 men. In the second half Jimmy Scoular tuned into a beast, spraying the ball across field with a series of pin point passes to set the likes of Mitchell and White off on marauding runs down the wings. It was a real Captain’s performance and Newcastle would go on to win comprehensively with a 3-1 victory.

Interestingly, Wor Jackie had spend a lot of time injured in the run up to the final and the manager Dugald Livingstone had planned not to start Milburn. Back in those days, managers had to present their proposed line-ups to the Board and upon seeing Milburn excluded, Livingstone was ordered to play him. They could see a fan backlash if their hero was left out. A a result of this forced change, Len White was removed from the team. However he was given a reprieve when Reg Davies went down with laryngitis. Lucky Len!

White had an unspectacular season following the FA Cup win, but did find himself playing as a centre forward following injuries to Wor Jackie and Vic Keeble. By the end of 1958 Len was the undistributed #9, following in the footsteps of the great Hughie Gallagher. He was unstoppable, running at players with power and pace, creating his own goals and getting the Gallowgate end on their feet in rapturous applause on many an occasion. He was only 5’6’’, but as proven by many great diminutive players down the years, sized means nothing so long as you have the talent and drive to succeed. Ken McKenzie, the Newcastle reporter for The Journal, described Newcastle’s second goal during a 4-1victory over Man City in 1958;
“A solo dribble by Len White from 15 yards inside his own half ending with a great 12-yard shot into the net past the advancing Bert Trautmann, the best goalkeeper in football, made memorable the burial of the relegation blues in the St James’ Park floodlights last night. The crowd of 53,280 cheered a back to form Newcastle off the field for a stirring show.” That Ryan Giggsesque goal helped keep Newcastle in the top flight.

In the next 2 seasons Len would score 53 goals in 70 games. The 1961 season would see Len score 28 goals in 33 games. Len took part in two spectacular wins in the 1959-1960 season. The first was an 8-2 drubbing of Everton at St. James’ Park. Newcastle were not doing well in the League and nobody expected the Toon to come up with much, however Len was in devastating form and secured a hat-trick by half time as the Magpies went in 4-0 up at the break. Expectations had been so low, only in the region of 23,000 fans turned up. In January 1960 Len would secure another hat-trick in a stunning 7-3 win against Manchester United, with 4 goals being scored at the Leazes End. There were calls made for Len to be recognised by England, but the call never came.

By the end of the season Len had been moved to outside left, but the goals continue to flow and he scored a screamer against Wolves in a goal regarded as goal of the season. Unfortunately his footballing year would end prematurely in March 1961. A nasty tackle came in from Spurs’ Dave McKay during a 2-1 victory for the Toon in a year that we were again fighting relegation whilst Spurs were aiming for the double. We had won that game having gone 1 down. That’s the difference between then and now, fighting spirit. Our current crop need to read up about our past hero’s and realise what wearing the shirt means.

Len would never truly recover from that tackle and was moved on to Huddersfield Town in 1962. He would return to St. James’ park in 1963 with the Terriers, receiving a massive applause before helping his new side take all 3 points in a 2-1 victory. He’d go on to turn out for Stockport County before retiring in 1966. Despite his retirement, he’d play on in non-league football into his 50th year! Over 25 years after his Newcastle exit, the fans arranged a testimonial for him in 1989 – such was their admiration for him. Of course Newcastle United would not allow this to happen to St.James’ (why?!), so it was done at Whitley Bay and 2,000 fans turned out. This Newcastle United legend passed away in 1994, aged 64. No personal controversies in this bloke’s career. He was described as quiet and hard working. A proper pro.

Newcastle record: 245 appearances, 197 goals. What a record. He is a 3rd highest total goal scorer in history, behind only Alan Shearer (206) and Jackie Milburn (201). What is so impressive is that a lot of Len’s appearances came as a winger. Furthermore, Shearer need 395 appearances to reach his 206 goals, whilst Wor Jackie needed 399.

Written by Shamrock.

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

279 thoughts on “Blast from the past – Len White.

  1. I am going to Italy for a week when I meet Santon I will say – That Jonna Carva, he looka like a peekled walnut with haira. he shoudda not be coching full stoppa, the fooly man.

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  2. a couple of measley points is all we needed… look how sunderland, in fact anyone goes about not losing a match. But Carver plays a weak attacking team away to QPR and we lose… madness…
    ffs you could play 6 men in midfield for the rest of the season and that would prevent the opposition scoring and bring us a point in surely ? wHAT A MICKEY MOUSE CLUB::: 👿

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  3. Past caring who wins tbh. I will say one thing though, watching Sunderlands last few games, they are making a better fist of it than us 🙁

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  4. organised 10 men behind the ball defence from the makkems. So many bodys back in the box just a question of smothering Arsenals balls into the box. Sure aint pretty but it will bring them a point…

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  5. Could you ever see us putting in a performance like Sunderland are putting in tonight? We’d have folder after 5 mins!

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  6. It’s a good job that Fletcher is ****, any half decent striker could have had a hat trick 🙄 🙄

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  7. When the games really matter sunderland tend to step up, like the Derby games. They can be ****e all season except them games and relegation battle games. 🙄

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  8. To be honest I think I’d rather a draw here as it means Man Utd have something to play for on Sunday.

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  9. I hope Sunderland get beat tonight. I got an effected rout in my tooth and am taking omoxicillin for it. It nearly went to eye level so Sunderland losing would cheer me up a bit.

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  10. its a shame wor pussies will be tucked up in bed watching wrestling. They could of learned a lot watching the commitment Sunderland showed.

    We never look like that, we havent got enough passion in the team. We are similar to QPR in that nobody seems to give a ****. although we made them look pretty good 🙄

    I can see Hull getting a win. Have we got enough to win? 😕

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  11. I so hope we don’t get relegated and Ashley decides to sell up. I have to admit I hope Manu do us a favour but we should still go out against West ham all gun blazing.

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  12. Mackems stay up. That puts playing for a draw on Sunday by us out of the equation. If Hull win and we draw then we are down. All out for a win on Sunday except I doubt Carvs will have figured this out. Hopefully one of his coaches will break radio silence and realise this. Stoney, hello? Woodman, hello? Pedro, hello? Total media blackout at SJP and you all didn’t watch the Arse/Mackem game under Carvs’ instructions. Good lads, we should be very proud of you.

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  13. well, there’s gonna be fun and games on Sunday… 👿 👿
    Can see the toon losing and Hull drawing actually…
    There is NO WAY that Carver will get his tactics nor team selection right at the weekend. A constant throughout the toons last 2 seasons is that no-one seems to know where they should play… I can see West Ham sucking us in as we are going gung-ho for the win then picking us off on the counter attack… Fat Sam knows exactly where we will attack them via Perez, the rest of the attack are too lightweight to trouble a strong West Ham defence… Toon 0 West Ham 2 Hull Man Utd 1-1…

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  14. Hull have had some really bad luck over the last few weeks, they are due a break at the weekend.
    The toon on the other hand have been consistently **** for at least the last 3 months…

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  15. Munich Mag it wouldn’t surprise me if Manu did Steve Bruce a favour on saturday and field a weaker side. I’m not looking forward to sunday.

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  16. I’m not necessarily bothered about being in the championship because Ashley gets less money and advertising. We should not be in this situation anyway. How Ashley could let things get this bad is really dumb.

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  17. MM: if NUFC lose and Hull draw, we stay up. Hull need a win. If they get a win then we also need a win. A draw is useless for us on Sunday because it does not change our situation at all given the goal differences of the 2 teams.

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  18. Kim it will hurt Ashley more than me 🙂 Everybody watches Sky and BB1these days not channel 5 🙂 Less coverage for sports direct and that makes me happy in a way.

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  19. it breaks my heart to admit it but if we continue to be run by Ashley is the same fashion as this season, I’m not bothered if we go down. it’ll happen next season anyway.

    A lot of my mates, arent bothered, cant be bothered. H’e sucked the life out of our club. I’m very surprised someone hasnt had a pop at him. does he have bodyguards?

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  20. I refuse to buy anything out of ****e direct and I certainly won’t buy a wonga top. We deserve to go down. 34 million in the bank! 2 million could of been spent on a manager but Ashley’s to greedy and knows best NOT! Sheer greed. I could start swearing because Ashley has really got on my nerves.

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  21. Gashley I want be bothered if we went down either to be honest. Sheer and utter greed by one man. It’s his own fault. 1 point out of 30 utter dog ****e.

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  22. Mark I am surprised to see you pick a side now 😀 I am sure it was sore sitting on that fence for so long, as for Jabba yeah I know he has atleast 2 minders looking after him.

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  23. A direct quote from Tuesday from the pickled walnut with hair where he contradicts himself in the same few words when talking about the staff meeting they just had:

    “I don’t think bringing in them just to tear a strip off them would have achieved anything. That’s definite. I did that after the Leicester game, and you can’t really say that it worked.”

    The BBC link @264 says everything you would ever need to know about why moron Carver is failing.

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  24. Carver is trying everything he knows but unfortunately he knows nowt. The BBC article says they brought in SENIOR STAFF and players and asked anyone to walk out if they “weren’t up for it”. Previously Carver had intimated it was the regular folk like cleaning people, ground staff and office assistants that were brought into the meeting to show players who would lose their jobs if we are relegated. Now it turns out it was “SENIOR STAFF” and it was yet one more David Brent moment from Clown Carver.

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  25. I have lived in the USA for 25 years and the term “bull****” has come to have a significant meaning in my life. I have worked with securities and insurance brokers first hand and know it when I see it. We Brits say people talk Tripe but “bull****” has a totally different meaning – it means F-up artists like Carvs are deliberately trying to fool and mislead us.

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  26. Covered wagons, medicine show. The John Carver experience. Roll up, Roll up for the next JC press conference. As Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute…

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  27. The problem with Ugly John is that he may not be just a BS artist, but he believes his own BS?

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  28. “There is no greater fool than someone who fools themself” – Les Kellet 1865.

    And “there is no bigger dope than anyone who believes a word John Carver says” Baba Ganoush, 2015.

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  29. It’s not looking good for us, is it. Not to worry. I’ll be there on Sunday, and I haven’t been to a Newcastle match and seen them lose for more than 40 years.

    I don’t think Ashley is to blame here. I imagine he’s fuming about this situation we’re in. Charnley should take the blame for it. His decision to appoint Carver has been a disaster.

    Carver should be sacked on Monday morning no matter what happens. And I reckon Charnley knows it’s either him or Carver that has to go.

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  30. @Bris

    I don’t think Ashley is to blame here 😯

    its not Carvers fault we’ve failed to sign adequate players over 2 seasons but managed to sell / off load without a problem

    Charnley was picked to do Ashleys dirty work. This is one of the reasons Pardew left. he admitted its difficult working under Mikes financial prudence..

    I’d say it ALL Ashleys fault

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  31. What is Eric going to talk about if Carver doesn’t get the job?

    I will so though, doesn’t it make a complete joke that Carver will still be here regardless next season even though half the players don’t like him… What a joke!

    Anyway, Sunderland staying up and I would say that’s because when change was needed they acted. They brought in someone with experience and we give John Carver the gig! Doesn’t it say everything?

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  32. Stu – I’ll be honest and say I had no problem with Carver taking charge for the rest of the season. The way I saw it, we needed 12-15 points to be safe and did it make sense to pay an interim manager 500k-£1m bonus for that period. I also considered (and i know you like history) the season we went down and the manager merry go round then – when we should have just installed Hoots from the off. However, what I didn’t know was just how little respect the players seem to have for JC, and just how poor he is at motivating and organising players.
    I don’t think anyone expected JC to maintain the league position Pards left us in, but I think most (including Ashley & Charnley) expected him to at least get those 12-15 points to safety.

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  33. To be honest I just thought it was ridiculous that we appointed Carver. It was always the cheap option and if you buy cheap you usually don’t get value for money!

    We are where we are because we made two ridiculous decisions in January. We let a defender go and we didn’t replace our manager. Most people saw it!

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  34. Stu – it has proven to be ridiculous now, but at the time it was more unambitious than ridiculous. Letting 2 defenders go without replacing them was ridiculous, and letting 5 players go out on loan when we have such a small squad just to gain favour & coin from a club you want to buy – that too was ridiculous.

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  35. Begas

    Did you ever leave the Star Inn coming out with that statement. 😉
    You must still be supping. 😉

    You can’t blame Charnley for appointing Carver without blaming Ashley for appointing Charnley.

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  36. Charnley, Ashley and Carver are the only ones left aren’t they ? Everyone else has left …. 👿

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