NUFC History - 1890s

We are the Geordies

With neither West End or East End well supported they both struggled to keep themselves afloat;

By the summer of 1892 West End's financial position had become untenable and the directors decided to throw the towel in and offer the SJP to their rivals from the East.

As SJP's position and limited facilities gave better potential for growth East moved West during the summer of 1892 in preparation for the new season.

The Football League had been formed in 1888 and East End officials decided to apply. The League was introducing a second rung for the first time and offered East End a place in Division 2.

Concerned about the travelling expenses and that the opposition wouldn't attract sufficient supporters the club decided to stay in the Northern League.

The club believed that fans would be more likely to turn up for prestige friendlies against Scottish and First Division clubs.

But with the club struggling to attract support they decided on a name change and in December 1892 Newcastle United was born. At the end ot f that season and with the club in a perilous financial state they decided to accept the Leagues offer of a place in the Second Division.

United played their first League match away against Woolwich Arsenal at Plumstead on September 2nd 1893; the game ended in a 2-2 draw. It would take them five seasons to get promoted and even then it was a fortuitous back-door entry.

The Management

The West End directors ensured their futures with the main directors, Neasham and Black, both changing their allegiances and moving on to the East End board.

In December 1895 United made probably the most appointment in the history of the club when they recruited secretary Frank Watt from Dundee. "The Guv'nor" as he became known was an excellent administrtor and would be the club's saviour and guiding light in those early years.

The Players

The dissolution of West End meant that their players had to find new clubs; although Dave Whitton, Harry Jeffrey and James Collins all joined east End.

The Fans

Even when there was only one club to watch the fans still failed to turn-up in sufficient numbers to cover expenses. The Northern League games in 1892/93 averaged around 4,000 and it was only selected friendlies that raised the crowds to 6000+


Playing in Division 2 had little or no impact and the club issued a statement statin gthat the "Newcastle public do not deserve to be catered for as far a professional football is concerned".

But things gradually began to improve and by the end of the decade the average gate was around the 15,000 mark.