Newcastle United Change

Newcastle United Moya Rooney

One of my best memories of Newcastle United takes me back to 2 April 1988. We didn't win a cup and we weren't challenging for the title and in fact we had a fairly mediocre team (so what's new?!). The team that day was sprinkled with a little bit of stardust in the form of the irrepressible Paul Gascoigne but mostly it was a team of workhorses and ten-a-penny footballers who would give maximum effort but were a little short of ability. One such footballer was Kenny Wharton. About 6 stone when soaking wet, Wharton, or "Bones" as he was affectionately called, was full of endeavour and Geordie passion and a supporter who was living his dream in a black and white shirt.

On this April day, Newcastle were facing Luton who had mercilessly thrashed us 4-0 earlier in the season. Today was revenge day. A hat-trick from Michael O'Neill and 1 from Paul Goddard ensured that the score lines had been reversed but that wasn't the story. Footballers have long memories when they feel they have been wronged and Newcastle's players felt that Luton had taken the mickey in the previous match. So, when the 4th Newcastle goal went in, Newcastle decided to do some mickey-taking of their own. Much to the delight of the crowd, those in black and white played an extravagant game of keep-ball and while Gazza entertained with some flicks and "keepy-ups", it was Wharton who brought the house down when he decided to taunt Luton by sitting on the ball. I can't remember seeing anything like this either before or since and the crowd lapped it up. Luton's players didn't seem to share that opinion as they chased young Kenny around the pitch at full time. By then though it hardly mattered. Kenny Wharton had cemented his place in this fan's heart. It just goes to show, you don't always have to be winning leagues and cups to keep the fans happy!

Moya Rooney



Newcastle United Foundation have a heritage project for fans of all ages called Toon Times.

Toon Times will culminate with a major Newcastle United exhibition at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, although in the lead up to this event Toon Times wishes to reach out to all Newcastle United fans across the North East and further afield to get involved and share their memories, experiences, photos and memorabilia what people have collected over the years.

We are supporting the project by helping to collect NUFC memories online - fans can share their memories on the Replay Football website, simply select the Toon Times tag when submitting yours.

For more info contact the Toon Times Heritage Project Coordinator, Newcastle United Foundation,


1 Comment

OMG!! I can't believe that was 25 years ago. I was there too, stood in the Gallowgate. They had that big useless centre back with the headband (Steve Foster). He wasn't a happy chappy when we started to mess around with the ball. I think I nearly wet myself laughing. Ah, happy days.aL

– JEY, August 30 2013 at 13:01

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