Newcastle United Change

Newcastle United Peter Malone


As a fourteen year old in 1965 I was a pupil at St. Josephs's in Hebburn which at that time was the closest Catholic Grammar School to my home in Consett, Co. Durham. I went to as many NUFC games as I could get to. Newcastle were down to play Bolton Wanderers on April 16th and a win would guarantee promotion to the 1st Division. My problem was that this date was Good Friday, and, coming from a Catholic family I was expected to attend the Easter service at our local church. I knew that I had no chance of my being allowed by my parents to go to the match instead. This is how I got to the match.

I had a classmate who was faced with the same situation. This was future Skellig, Clay etc author David Almond. David lived in Felling and, as I said earlier, I lived in Consett. Between us we came up with the following plan. Before the Easter break from school began I got permission from my parents to sleep over at David's house on the Thursday night on the understanding that I would go with him to the service at his local church. Meanwhile David told his folks that he would be going back to Consett with me and attending church up there before returning home.

As neither family had a phone in those days it was a sound plan. On Good Friday morning we left Felling after breakfast and made our way to St. James's Park. Security was a lot different then and hours before kick-off we were easily able to get into the Gallowgate end via an unlocked gate. A bonus for us was that Trevor Hockey was jogging round the pitch and came over and chatted to us, curious as to why we were in the ground so early. Eventually the ground filled up and the match took place in front of a crowd of just under 60,000. Willie Penman and Jim Iley scored the goals in a 2-0 win for Newcastle and everyone went home happy! The only downside was that neither David nor myself were able to tell anyone that we'd been there in case it somehow got back to our parents. I left St.Joe's at the end of that term and transferred to a newly built school in Co. Durham.

I lost touch with David but understand from media reports that he remains an NUFC fan.

Peter Malone



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,

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