Newcastle United 1894 Team

By Dan Sheridan - Newcastle United Managing Editor


As transformations go, Newcastle United's journey from a small fledgling club in the east of the city to one of English football's most recognisable names is a remarkable one.

It was some 130 years ago this month, in 1881, that the story began in the Byker area, and over the next decade events unfolded that would eventually lead to United's formation.

Now the Club's entire history has been meticulously documented in a new book, Newcastle United: The Ultimate Record 1881-2011, which charts the Magpies' history season-by-season, match-by-match.

And in a recent interview with nufcTV ahead of the book's launch, author and club historian Paul Joannou went back to the start, mapping out the events that led to United's emergence.

"It's worth explaining the origins of the Club and why November 1881 marked the real formation of the Club," said Joannou.

"Football in the North-East started in earnest in the late 1870s and the two pioneering clubs - Tyne Association and Newcastle Rangers - started playing association football and began to develop the game.

"Lots of other sporting clubs in the region then started to take an interest, and some of those were cricket clubs.

"This is where Newcastle United's origins come from as it was a small cricket club in St. Peters in the Byker area called Stanley Cricket Club that kicked things off at one of their annual concerts."

At some point during that evening, the conversation turned to the subject of association football, and it was at their next AGM that the same gentlemen decided to form Stanley Football Club.

They played their very first fixture on 26th November 1881, against the Elswick Leatherworks Second XI, and as Joannou explains, they got off to a flying start.

"In effect, that was the very start of Newcastle United," he said, "and our very first game - and thankfully we won 5-0!

"It is this club that would eventually change their name to East End FC and turn professional in 1892 following the demise of rivals Newcastle West End.

"Having taken up the lease at St. James' Park in May 1892, East End changed their name to Newcastle United seven months later and played their first game under their new title against Middlesbrough."

The following May, United were elected into Football League Division Two and our first league fixture took place in September 1893, with the new boys making the trip to London to face Woolwich Arsenal and returning with a 2-2 draw.

The famous black and white stripes didn't make an appearance until August 1894, and the change came about after frequent colour clashes with the Club's red shirts. The change in kit also prompted the Club's nickname - the Magpies.

Make sure you get a copy of the official 130th Anniversary book, NEWCASTLE UNITED: THE ULTIMATE RECORD 1881-2011. Packed with facts and figures on the Magpies, it truly is the United Bible and is available now from our Club Stores

130 Year Anniversary