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    Newcastle United forgotten number 9

    After losing our top flight status only months earlier, Newcastle United were struggling in the second Division in the 1961-62 season.

    Charlie Mitten sacked after boardroom feuds with the McKeag / Seymour hierachy.

    Trainer Norman Smith took over until the end of season and was allowed to bring in centre-forward Barrie Thomas from Scunthorpe United for a then club record fee.

    With Newcastle teetering above the relegation zone, an impressive six wins from the last ten league games kept us up, with Barrie Thomas plundering 10 goals.

    (Away from first team matters, Newcastle United’s youth team won the FA Youth Cup for the first time, whilst over 40,000 attended Bobby Mitchell’s testimonial at St James’ Park)

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    At the end of the season Newcastle United appointed club legend Joe Harvey as manager and Joe started rebuilding a club hardly recognisable from a decade earlier.

    The likes of Jim Iley, Dave Hilley and Ron McGarry were added to freshen things up, with Iley being made captain.

    However, it was Barrie Thomas who really took the bull by the horns and endeared himself to the supporters, by becoming the club’s top scorer in 1962/63 with 16 goals as Newcastle finished outside the promotion places.

    Then 1963/64 saw us miss out again, even though Thomas top scored with an even more impressive 21 goals.

    Joe decided though that a few tweaks were needed if we were to be promoted the following year, including Barrie Thomas somewhat surprisingly moved back to Scunthorpe United.

    Barrie had scored 48 league goals in 73 appearances for the black and whites.

    Suffice to say, Joe Harvey and Newcastle United went up as Champions in 1964/65, the spine of the team being Stan Anderson, Jim Iley and top-scorer Ron McGarry.

    As for forgotten man Barrie Thomas, he carried on doing wat he did best and retired from first class football after a 14 year career, having scored 211 league goals in 338 games…

    Not bad eh?

    Born in 1937, Barrie Thomas is now 84 years old, the Newcastle United forgotten number 9.

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