Another day off from the "looks
familiar" countdown, as we check on those Football League sides who have
avoided playing us in a competitive game so far.
No less than 21 former members of the Football League fall into this category
Aldershot, Ashington, Barnet, Barrow,
Boston United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Darlington,
Rushden & Diamonds,
Stalybridge Celtic, Thames & Workington.
Moving on to the current FL, the following seven sides are yet to face us
Fleetwood Town, Forest Green Rovers, Macclesfield Town, Rochdale, Wycombe
Wanderers, Yeovil Town.
Macclesfield Town visited SJP in the Checkatrade/EFL Trophy earlier
this month, but the format of that competition meant that the Silkmen faced
our U21s, which opens up a whole can of worms...
Of the rest, most have risen up the pyramid since automatic promotion was
introduced. And although we're yet to meet Crawley or Wycombe,
our reserves are no strangers to their home grounds due to their use by
Brighton and Reading respectively.
Rochdale remain the most elusive of clubs, with our only meeting since
they joined the Football League in 1921 a wartime fixture at Spotland in
That leaves the eternal question of Wimbledon and how to add that into
The last of our 23 meetings was in 2000. Since then, two different clubs have
appeared and by fair means or foul, joined the Football League. We're yet to
face either MK Dons or AFC Wimbledon.
Here's a random selection of sides we've faced in friendly action but not
competitively as yet:
Our belated FA cup exit at the
hands of Watford in 1989 (after four meetings) left us with a free weekend in
February and the opportunity to play a meaningless friendly to integrate new
Nowadays we'd be jetting off to some Spanish golf resort, but twenty years ago
things were rather more mundane (although we'd been to Bermuda a few years
earlier) and manager Jim Smith fixed up a kickabout at former club Boston
United, then of the Conference.
Just over 3,500 fans were in York Street to see Frank Pingel score the only
goal of the game and some of the away support that day have tales to
tell; some southern-based ones almost causing the game to be called off
after "borrowing" Newcastle shirts from the dressing room and others
dealing with assorted lunatics who'd travelled from across Lincolnshire
for a ruck.
PS: Newcastle returned to
this part of Lincolnshire in July 2004, when a pre-season friendly pitted our
reserves against a Boston first XI including ex-Magpies Paul Gascoigne and
The outcome was an embarrassing 0-4 defeat when Tommy Craig's side were woeful
- and such was the lack of entertainment for away followers that we were moved
to wonder whether the operational windmill visible from the away end was
unique in the Football League. The intervening years and the mushrooming of
wind farms has rendered that line even more irrelevant....
1984: Darlington I
24 hours after rounding off
their promotion season with a 3-1 home win over Brighton, some bright spark
had agreed to Newcastle providing the opposition to Darlington at Feethams in
a benefit game for SJP old boy David Barton.
Wearing their silver change kit, United won 3-0 in blazing sunshine, with raging hangovers
on and off the pitch....
2009: Darlington II
the province of some local eggchasers - with the current incarnation of the
Quakers playing on another site outside the town - the eccentric and
egotistical George Reynolds was responsible for Darlington's ill-advised move
to a massive new stadium, nicknamed the Combover Arena.
Facing them there at reserve level, United's senior debut then came in July
2009 as they debuted the yellow striped away kit and continued preparations
for second tier football with a 7-2 win.
It would be our pre-season visit to the Reynolds Arena/Northern Echo Arena two
years later that grabbed the headlines though, a pitch invasion following
Sammy Ameobi fulfilling the request of the terrace ditty, "if Sammy
scores, we're on the pitch."
Newcastle travelled to rural
Northamptonshire in July 1995 to face non-league "superclub" Rushden
& Diamonds, who were progressing thanks to the spending power of Doctor
Marten boot owner Max Griggs, responsible the building of their smart new Nene
There was a first sight of David Ginola in a Newcastle shirt, while Les
Ferdinand scored his first goals for the club and reserve propsect Paul
Brayson netted for the second game running.
Rushden's rise and fall would be rapid though, promoted to the Football League
in 2000 but then relegated six years later and ceasing to exist by 2011. Nene
Park was then levelled in 2017.
August 1990: Yeovil
For a club who have specialised
in bonkers pre-season schedules (thankfully we weren't going when they visited
Iran), the 1990/91 one was worthy of note. Eight games over 19 days saw United
play games in Leicestershire Somerset, Gloucestershire, Hungary, Scotland and
The second of those took Newcastle to a sun-drenched Yeovil as the Glovers
officially opened The New Huish Stadium. FA Chairman Bert Millichip and
Football League President Gordon McKeag did the honours on the pitch before
kick-off, along with a priest and a parachute display team. Obviously.
McKeag was of course also there in his capacity as NUFC Chairman and many of
the 250 travelling fans barracked him throughout over the club's lack of
investment in talented players.
On the field, Newcastle ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Mark McGhee
and John Anderson.
PS: This seems as good a
place as any to log our random observations of NUFC in the FAC.
Three of our 25 most opposed teams have avoided us in this competition for
many a long year, namely the smoggies (last met in 1900/01), West Ham
(1914/15), the mackems (1955/56).
Other familiar foes we haven't met in the FA Cup for a significant period of
time include Leeds United (1932/33), Cardiff City (1938/39), Oldham Athletic
(1949/50) Huddersfield Town (1954/55) and Fulham (1960/61).
And despite having faced them in competitive matches no less than 28 times,
Newcastle have never played Bristol City in this competition.
In terms of the clubs we've been drawn against most often*, Chelsea and
Nottingham Forest lead the way with 10 pairings each, while our forthcoming
tie against Blackburn will be the ninth meeting with them, one ahead of a
clutch of sides on eight, namely; Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City,
Sheffield United and Southampton.
* no account of replays is made in these totals.
Back to Calendar