FORMER star winger Stan Seymour had been appointed to the Board of Directors just before the outbreak of WWII. A determined character, he set the foundations of United's next great period.
By the time peace was restored in 1945, Seymour was at the forefront of affairs, manager in all but name. He ensured that the Magpies possessed an entertaining eleven full of stars, a mix of home-grown talent like Jackie Milburn, Bobby Cowell and Ernie Taylor, as well as big signings in the shape of George Robledo, Bobby Mitchell, Joe Harvey and Frank Brennan.
Newcastle returned to the First Division in double quick time. Promotion was achieved in 1948 in front of vast crowds. An average of almost 57,000 at every home game saw United's fixtures that year, a national record for years to come. That was just the start of another period of success.
During the Fifties decade United lifted the FA Cup trophy on three occasions within a five year period. In 1951 they defeated Blackpool 2-0, a year later Arsenal were beaten 1-0 and in 1955 United crushed Manchester City 3-1. The Magpies were known in every corner of the country, and so were their players; "Wor Jackie" Milburn and Bobby "Dazzler" Mitchell the pick of a side that was renowned the nation over.
Despite having quality players throughout the era, stars like Ivor Allchurch, George Eastham and Len White during the latter years of the decade, United slipped from the First Division in 1961 under the controversial management of ex Manchester United star Charlie Mitten. It was a huge blow to the club.
An old war-horse returned to revitalise the Magpies in the shape of Joe Harvey who had skippered the club to much of their post-war success. He teamed up with Stan Seymour to rebuild United and the Black'n'Whites returned to the elite as Second Division Champions in 1965. United then became very much an unpredictable side, always capable of defeating the best, but never quite realising their huge potential until very recently.
Joe Harvey's side qualified for Europe for the first time in 1968 and stunned everyone the following year by lifting the Inter Cities Fairs Cup; the forerunner of the UEFA Cup. United possessed a solid eleven and Newcastle's tradition of fielding a famous Number 9 at centre-forward since earliest years continued as big Welshman Wyn Davies was prominent alongwith the likes of Bryan "Pop" Robson, Bobby Moncur and Frank Clark.
In the years that followed European success, manager Harvey brought in a string of talented entertainers who thrilled the Gallowgate crowd. Pleasers like Jimmy Smith, Tony Green and Terry Hibbitt. And especially a new centre-forward by the name of Malcolm Macdonald.
Nicknamed "Supermac", Macdonald was one of United's greatest hero figures. Brash, arrogant and devastating in front of goal, he led United's attack to Wembley twice, in 1974 and 1976, against Liverpool in the FA Cup and Manchester City in the League Cup. But on each occasion the Magpies failed to bring the trophy back to Tyneside.
Copyright: P. Joannou, Newcastle United Club Historian