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Title Winners - 50 Years On

Written by Newcastle Utd

Former players and fans gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of United's 1964/65 Second Division triumph

By Paul Joannou - Newcastle United Club Historian


At the end of April, a supporter-organised event celebrated the 50th anniversary of Newcastle United's 1964/65 Second Division title victory.

A large gathering of former players and fans gathered at the Village Hotel, in West Allotment, for a nostalgic evening with guest speaker, England World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

Organised by Bill Bruce, George Vickers and Chris Emmerson, of the Toon legends Club, and sponsored by Gateshead Bearings, a fantastic night was had by all.

Among the players from the 1960s and 70s to attend were several of that successful squad; Jim Iley, David Craig, Frank Clark, Bryan Robson, Bob Moncur, Ron McGarry, Ollie Burton, Willie Penman and Dave Hilley.

Former stars travelled from far and wide, including Duncan Neale, from Cornwall, John McNamee, from Cumbria, and goalkeeper Stewart Mitchell, from Hamilton.

It was great to also see fans' favourite 'Jinky' Jimmy Smith as smart and fit-looking as ever, now with grey hair rather than the jet black supporters of that era were accustomed to.

Club historian Paul Joannou - who started watching the Black'n'Whites in 1964 - was there and caught up with the two goalscorers who clinched promotion on a special Good Friday against Bolton Wanderers at St. James' Park, watched by a near 60,000 crowd.

Scot Willie Penman struck the crucial first goal.

Now living in retirement in Walsall, he recalled: "It was from a free-kick, and the ball came over in a bit of a crowded box. I got up with a bunch of players and the ball came off my shoulder and the side of my head. It was a bit lucky, but the ball hit the net!"

The second came from Jim Iley, who joked: "It was perhaps the finest toe-ender on record!"

These days residing in Bolton, Iley continued: "The ball came into the box, then rolled loose on the edge of the area. I met it with a toe-poke, (Bolton) goalkeeper Hopkinson couldn't see it through all the legs and it ripped into the goal."

1964-65 title winners

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