Thursday, 18 December 2008

NUFC: Cup Winners, in black and white... has been running its customary top-notch advent calendar since December 1, and this year it's been devoted to classic team photos (the 'classic' not always reflecting the actual playing quality of the ensemble, you understand...)
But it's hard not to get a bit misty about the 1951 line-up pictured here: them 'uns who brought home the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Blackpool.
Front and centre in this picture, of course, the scorer of a brace at Wembley: Jackie Milburn. At the start of his Toon career Jackie was also a part-time employee of Hazelrigg Colliery, who generally took the bus to games from Ashington having done his pit shift on Saturday morning. Eventually, I think, he got himself a motorbike; then trouble in one ear led him to quit the pit and throw in his lot with the Toon for £12 a week.
To Milburn's left is another canny goalscorer, George Robledo; the 'gangling' Tommy Walker on the far right had goals in him too. In general you look at these 11 lads and you just wouldn't mess with them, would you? Of course one could say the same of Joey Barton today; and yet the sentiment would be -how can I say it? - different.

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