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Halcyon Days 
   Part IV

1980-81 Season

Two days after our spectacular 3-2 victory over Bury, Bill
McGarry receives his P45. The impact on my disturbed
12-year-old mind is immense and the diary entry for August
29th is headlined McGARRY SACKED. After the usual
meanderings about scran and bikes I embark on a deep
analysis of the ebbs and flows of McGarry era. I write:

"McGarry sacked."

Some might say that this contemplation is worthless but I
argue that its minimalistic form is metaphorical. The
poignant finality of that full stop speaks volumes for the
denigration and degradation that the evil man from Stoke made us
all suffer. Oh dear....

Joe Harvey takes charge of the rabble for the visit of Luton.

80-08-30-luton-h-f.jpg (319467 bytes)Luton (h) Sat Aug 30th 1980

In time honoured tradition the programme is obviously out
of date - being printed well before the McGarry outting.
Arthur Appleton writes in praise of beleaguered Bill and
commends him on his inclusion of Phil Leaver against
Bury, stating, "when his strength and assurance begin
to function well, Newcastle could have another first team
player". Phil's proud record in his five years at the club
is played 1 goals 0.

The Dave Hogg column is again a lively read. In extolling the virtues of Head Groundsman John Somerville he waxes lyrical about John being from a "dedicated but sadly dying breed" whatever that means. Hogg then tries to lighten the mood with another rib-tickler:

"the popular misconception of some supporters that the Park
didn't need any fertiliser during the summer (since enough of
its proverbial derivative had been played on it in the winter) is
just not true! Ah, well....". Nice one Dave.

The Luton side is the one with David Moss, Ricky Hill and
Brian Stein in it. We obviously stand no chance although Joe
sees this as an opportunity to give his bigotted foreigners and gumption
diatribe another airing. It works.

Diary entry

"Then got stuck in a jam on way to meet John and Cun. It
went 0-1 (v Luton). Then after H.T. 1-1 Hibbitt, 2-1 Koenen.
We won!"

The exclamation mark says it all for me.

Journal Merit Marks: Hardwick 6, Carney 6, Davies 7, Walker 6, Boam 6, Barton 6, Shoulder 5, Rafferty 6, Nicholson 6, Hibbitt 6, Koenen 8.
Sub Wharton 8

Battler Kenny's superb substitute appearance sends him top.

Player Ave
Wharton 7.00
Carr 6.75
Rafferty 6.60
Koenen 6.60
Hibbitt 6.50
Nicholson 6.50
Davies 6.40
Shoulder 6.25
Kelly 6.25
Cartwright 6.00
Carney 6.00
Leaver 6.00
Hardwick 6.00
Walker 6.00
Shinton 5.67
Boam 5.60
Barton 5.50
Clarke 5.33

Bury (a) Wed Sep 2nd 1980 League Cup 2nd Rnd 2nd Leg

80-08-27-bury-h-f.jpg (303335 bytes)The second leg against Bury is just a week later. None of this
fortnight break nonsense. The trip to Gigg Lane ends in cup
humiliation as we go out on away goals after extra-time. The
lone home goal proves decisive. Presumably there were no
"foreigners" in the Bury side as Caretaker Joe's honeymoon
period is abruptly over.

Diary entry

"Bury went 1-0 up. Stayed even after extra-time so Bury go
through on away goals."

Journal Merit Marks: Hardwick 6, Carney 6, Davies 6, Walker 8, Boam 6, Wharton 5,
Shoulder 6, Shinton 5, Rafferty 6, Hibbitt 7, Koenen 8
Sub Mitchell 7.

What a contrast among the table-toppers. Dame Allen's boy
meets hairy heavy-metal hooligan. The Dutchman stays on
their shoulders with another dazzling 8.

Player Ave
Walker 7.00
Mitchell 7.00
Koenen 6.83
Carr 6.75
Hibbitt 6.67
Wharton 6.60
Rafferty 6.50
Nicholson 6.50
Davies 6.33
Kelly 6.25
Shoulder 6.20
Cartwright 6.00
Carney 6.00
Leaver 6.00
Hardwick 6.00
Boam 5.67
Shinton 5.50
Barton 5.50
Clarke 5.33

Next time - Can Joe steer the good ship NUFC away from troubled waters? Cardiff and Q.P.R. stand in the way....

Niall MacKenzie

Halcyon Days

Page last updated 25 June, 2009