United’s Hall of Fame must open its doors wider
NOTABLE OMISSIONS IN LIST OF MAGPIE LEGENDS
AND now there are 21! This week saw Andy Cole and Frank Clark inducted into Newcastle United’s Hall of Fame alongside fellow greats down 126 years of kaleidoscope history.
If, like me, you have spent a lifetime of devotion to the black-andwhite cause then who has so far been left off the list is as great a debate as those so honoured.
Before we can go any further we need to recall who stands within the great Hall. This is the official list in alphabetical order as to show no obvious bias: Shola Ameobi, Peter Beardsley, Frank Brennan, Frank Clark, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Hughie Gallacher, Steve Harper, Joe Harvey, Kevin Keegan, Jimmy Lawrence, Malcolm Macdonald, Bill McCracken, Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell, Bob Moncur, Bobby Robson, Jock Rutherford, Alan Shearer, Pavel Srnicek and Colin Veitch. So who are the great overlooked? One name immediately leaps out in 6ft high red letters: Stan Seymour, though there are quite a few others.
The wing feed for No 9 legend Wee Hughie when United last won the championship of England in 1927 and an FA Cup winner three years before, Seymour was also chairmanmanager during the Magpies’ great FA Cup exploits of the early fifties.
Remember the ability to run the club as well as play comes into the official reckoning...consider Joe Harvey and Kevin Keegan, not to mention Sir Bobby, who only managed in our case.
No one should dare to underestimate Seymour’s ultimate power in the glorious fifties signing the great players and creating the best knockout team in the country. If only silverware counted then he is way ahead of the beloved Robson.
There are a few more whose claims I can support. For example, if Steve Harper and Pavel Srnicek can be privileged then surely a couple of other keepers have a more than genuine shout.
Shay Given for 12 years and 462 appearances when he kept Harps out of the team for exceptionally long stretches, and Fairs Cup-winning keeper Willie McFaul who boasted an incredible 22-year association with United culminating in managing them of course.
I genuinely love both Steve and Pav as people, and they contributed much, but to make the 21 greatest over 126 years ahead of some we can name is stretching generosity to breaking point.
So, for that matter, is Shola.
Which brings us nicely to a centreforward of huge stature, Wyn Davies, the human battering ram and attacking focal point of the Fairs Cup years who struck terror into defenders across Europe. If there is a legend built round No 9s and if Andy Cole qualifies primarily for an outstanding season of 40 goals then Wyn The Leap surely also has a shout for what he brought to these parts. I know a lot of fans who would cry out for Len White with some justification and even Tony Green despite his tragically short career in blackand-white. There are more too of considerable stature worthy of thought like Bobby Cowell, who played in all three Cup victories at Wembley in the fifties (only the legendary Wor Jackie and Bobby Mitch did likewise), the immaculate David Craig, who partnered Frank Clark, and SuperMac’s provider, Terry Hibbitt.
In recent times we could consider a couple of local lads who went on to enjoy illustrious careers with England – Paul Gascoigne and Chris Waddle.
And if we delve back deep into the mists of time, as we ought, then a fella called Frank Hudspeth has as strong a CV as any.
Born at Percy Main and known as ‘Old Surefoot,’ he is second only to Jimmy Lawrence in United’s list of record appearances with 472 over a 19-year career that saw him skipper Newcastle to FA Cup final victory in 1924.
Oh there are many still sitting in the waiting room who can in chorus yell: don’t forget me!
Frank Clark and Andy Cole, below, are inducted into United’s Hall of Fame earlier this week