1926/27 Season - August

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In the reports below the prose within quotations is lifted from reports in the Sunday Sun.

In this period teams line up with a keeper, two backs [2 - 3] a middle-line [4 - 6] - although United innovatively started using one as a third defender to combat the change in the offside rule introduced in the previous season - and a five man forward line [7 - 11].

28/08/26 - Aston Villa [H] Won 4-0 [Gallagher 4] - 36,000

Line Up: 1 - Wilson, 2 - Chandler, 3 - Hudspeth 4 - McKenzie, 5 - Mooney, 6- Gibson, 7 - Urwin, 8 - Clark, 9 - Gallagher, 10 - McDonald, 11 - Seymour.

On a hot summers day United opened with a comprehensive victory in which Gallagher was untouchable . He notched four brilliant goals and dominated the match with "fascinating footwork, dainty dribbling, and shooting which was equalled in it's accuracy by it's power". The adoring Tyneside public "acclaiming him to the skies".

Wee Hughie

The mercurial maestro was well supported by an excellent all round team performance against a Villa side that just could not cope. Spiers in the Villa goal prevented an even more emphatic victory.

Hughie opened the scoring after 18 minutes, blasting in from an Urwin centre. United had to wait until the 54th for the second, Mooney put Gallagher in with a low through ball and he held off Mort before scoring with a deadly accurate low drive. The scot completed his hat-trick with a shot into the top left corner from an impossibly acute angle.

The final flourish came when he scored a goal which Stan Seymour would later call the greatest he had ever seen. Mort was favourite to gather a long cross from the left, but Gallagher flicked it away from him on the touchline before dribbling the ball towards the centre of goal. He calmly waited while the 'keeper and two backs took up position on the goal line before shooting past them.