Gateshead and Newcastle in the scottish league

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StAndrewsHMFC
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Gateshead and Newcastle in the scottish league

Post by StAndrewsHMFC » Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:16 pm

I've read many articles which refer to Gateshead applying for the scottish league after they got voted out of the english league, but today I stumbled across a reference to Newcastle applying for the scottish league in the inter war period. This seems completely bonkers to me so was wondering if anyone knew if this was true and could shed any light on the reasoning

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Post by Scottish » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:35 pm

There was certainly talk of Gateshead applying in 1966 and 1974 but if they did then their application must have been rejected by the SFL as their name was never put to the vote.

As for Newcastle I can believe the special circumstances of wartime might have prompted a similar idea though, like you,I've never come across it before.

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Post by Gunboat Briggs » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:08 am

It crops up in Crampsey's centenary history of the SFL. Bob tells us that when Armadale and Bo'ness both withdrew from the League midway through season 1932-33 that Newcastle United and Berwick Rangers volunteered themselves as replacements, but that it was eventually decided that a reduction in numbers was preferable in the economic climate of the time.

Given that Newcastle were flourishing in that era - they had won the FA Cup the previous season and would go on to finish fifth in Division One that year - it's somewhat baffling to try and work out their motivation for considering the move.

Found this piece by Roddy Forsyth which gives a little more background:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/233125 ... story.html

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Post by Scottish » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:06 am

I can only assume they must have meant their reserve team. As you say it seems unthinkable that Newcastle would have given up the English first division for the Scottish second.

Another thought was that it might have been one of the North-East clubs that had dropped out of English league membership around that time, like Ashington or Durham City but then I went and read the bit in Bob Crampsey's history. If he wrote it then it must have been so. I can't imagine the great man making so big an error but I wished he'd expanded on it.

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Post by Scottish » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:50 am

After trawling through London Hearts newspaper cuttings the only reference I can find is of Newcastle sending a team to play King's Park in Stirling on December 3rd 1932 as the latter had a free Saturday because of the expulsion of scheduled opponents Bo'ness from the league.

That certainly can't have been their first team as they played a home league game v Leeds United the same day.

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Post by StAndrewsHMFC » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:44 am

I'm still struggling to get my head round this, would travel costs have been less to scottish teams than english teams at that time? It surely must have been a reserve XI, perhaps they were thinking instead of first team and reserves alternating Saturdays at home they could have had english first division alternating with scottish first division.

Was the maximum wage in force in England at this time? Would that mean Newcaslte could have offered higher wages through the back door of a scottish league team?

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Post by Scottish » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:37 pm

From 'The Leaguers' by Matthew Taylor, pg 203

"The national constituency of these leagues remained fluid enough to encourage Newcastle United to volunteer the inclusion of its reserve team along with another English club, Berwick Rangers, when two members withdrew from the Second Division of the Scottish League during the 1932-33 season."

They certainly wouldn't have been saving on travelling. At that time Newcastle reserves played in the North Eastern League which consisted of reserve teams from the North-East & Cumbria (six) and the first elevens of 14 non-league sides. Their longest trip west was to Workington and furthest journey south was Middlesbrough.

Invariably the reserves from the 'big three' of Newcastle, Sunderland & Middlesbrough were a cut above the rest so it may have been that Newcastle felt the SFL offered a higher standard of opposition. Their manager at this time was Andy Cunningham, ex-Kilmarnock, Rangers & Scotland, who would have been well aware of the comparative strengths of the various leagues.

Newcastle actually withdrew from the North Eastern League at the end of 1932-33 which suggests they may simply have spotted an opportunity in Scotland for something they had been planning anyway.

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