Hughie Gallacher


By Tom Easterby

 

Legendary Newcastle United striker Hughie Gallacher is to be inducted into the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame.

The Bellshill-born forward netted an incredible 143 goals in just 174 games during a five-year spell on Tyneside, cementing his place as one of the finest players to have ever graced the hallowed turf at St. James' Park.

Signed from Airdrieonians for just £6,500 in December 1925, the diminutive Scot skipped United to the 1927 First Division title, bagging an impressive 39 goals in 41 appearances that season. He was the Club's leading scorer in each of his five campaigns, amassing a stunning strike rate of over 82 per cent in the process - a statistic that is yet to be topped.

Gallacher also managed to replicate his club form on the international stage, scoring 23 goals in 20 caps for Scotland. After a £10,000 switch to Chelsea in 1930, he continued to excel in front of goal, going on to feature for with Derby County, Notts County and Grimsby Town before returning to the North-East and retiring following a stint at Gateshead in 1939.

Along with Gallacher, another heroic Newcastle number nine will be take his place amongst football's elite at the Manchester-based museum's October ceremony.

Alan Shearer is the Club's all-time leading goalscorer, having hit 206 goals in all competitions since joining in a then-world record £15million transfer from Blackburn Rovers in 1997.

Born in the city, Shearer had made no secret of his desire to pull on the famous number nine shirt in front of the Gallowgate. He enjoyed fruitful spells at both Southampton and Blackburn Rovers, where he won the Premier League title in 1995, thanks in no small part to a prolific 49-goal partnership with fellow forward Chris Sutton.

Though another major trophy was not forthcoming during his time at St. James' Park, Shearer captained the Club in two FA Cup finals and a number of European campaigns, bowing out with a typically emphatic penalty at arch-rivals Sunderland in April 2006.

He also hit 30 goals in 63 games for England, making him the joint fifth highest goalscorer in his country's history.

"I am so looking forward to attending the Hall of Fame awards this year," said Shearer.

"It is a special honour to be recognised alongside so many greats of the game's history. I am particularly pleased to be receiving my award in the same year as Newcastle legend Hughie Gallacher."

Shearer's former strike partner for club and country, Michael Owen, has also been honoured with a place in the Hall of Fame. Owen scored 30 goals in an injury-ravaged four years on Tyneside and also captained the side for a considerable spell.

The one-time European Footballer of the Year found the net regularly at his first club Liverpool before a move to Real Madrid, and plundered 40 goals for England during his decade in the international fold.

After a title-winning spell at Manchester United and a solitary season with Stoke City, Owen called time on his career at the end of the 2012/13 season and he too expressed his pride at being added to the illustrious list of inductees, who have been hand-picked by some of football's greats, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I am delighted to be selected to join the Hall of Fame," said the Chester-born forward.

"What a fantastic way to end my playing career. My whole family are very proud. It is great to be joining a list that includes so many of my heroes."

Along with Gallacher, Shearer and Owen, five other notable names will be inducted at the Hall of Fame dinner on 16th October at the Manchester-based museum.

England's first ever £1million player, Trevor Francis, is included alongside fellow former international Ray Wilkins, while England's cerebral palsy team captain Matt Dimbylow completes the list along with Sylvia Gore MBE - scorer of the England women's team's first ever goal.