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A Geordie All-Rounder: 15 - Training With Newcastle United

...The Magpies had won the F. A. Cup in 1951 and 1952 and many people fancied them to do it again in l955. So it was with a mixture of pride and nervousness for the first time I entered St. James' Park as a player...

Continuing his account of a sporting life Malcolm Scott tells how his footballing career took a giant forward step.

During the 1953/54 football season whilst playing for the Durham County Youth team, we were watched by several league club scouts but I never got a formal offer. With the start of the 1954/5 season it took a personal recommendation from Bobby Donaldson, a former Newcastle player who worked at Readheads, to get me a trial with the Magpies. After meeting one of their officials he invited me to play for their 'B' team in a local Tyneside league. I must have made a good impression because he then asked me to come up to St. James' Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as an amateur to train with the part-time professionals.

Stan (Mr Newcastle) Seymour was manager at the time of my signing, but soon after, Duggie Livingstone was appointed. The Magpies had won the F. A. Cup in 1951 and 1952 and many people fancied them to do it again in l955. So it was with a mixture of pride and nervousness for the first time I entered St. James' Park as a player. We did most of our training at Hunter's Moor, near Fenham Barracks, but it was very exciting to be involved with experienced players like Joe Harvey and Frank Brennan who were coaching at the time.

Signing for Newcastle United with the requirement of training two nights a week presented another problem. I didn't finish work at Readheads until 5:00pm and I was expected to be at St. James' Park by 7:00pm. Also I was already attending evening classes on the two evenings I was supposed to be at St. James' Park. It was an impossible situation and after discussion with my dad I gave up evening classes, hoping for a sporting rather than a technical career. I thought the bosses at Readheads might have something to say, so I didn't tell them!

To be perfectly honest I was never keen on night classes and sometimes, when there was a good film on at the nearby Regent cinema, I used to leave my night class equipment in our coalhouse. It worked for a while but a drawing board is difficult to hide. One night dad discovered it and took it indoors. On returning from the Regent I though it had been stolen, until I saw dad standing at the back door. He was not pleased.

My daily programme on Tuesdays and Thursdays was exhausting. Up at 6:30am; Readheads 7:30am to 5:00pm; arrive home at 5:15pm; a quick tea and catch the 6:15 bus to Newcastle; jog across the City to St. James' Park; 2 hours training then the same for the return journey. I got home about 10:30pm, a quick supper, then to bed to sleep like a log. Looking back I can't believe how I did all that.

Occasionally, during the two nights a week training routine I would get a lift home on a scooter by Ken Wimshurst another part timer. Ken came from the west end of Shields and was transferred first to Gateshead, then to Southampton and finally to Bristol. We met again in Spain 50 years later and reminisced about the good old days.

During the 1954/5 season I played for both the 'A' and 'B' teams, captaining the latter on a number of occasions. By training two nights a week, apart from growing physically, my game improved by playing with part-time professionals.

We didn't get many Press reports playing for the 'A and 'B' teams but once United's great centre-forward from long ago, 5' 5" tall Hughie Gallacher visited us and wrote in the Evening Chronicle "that Scott was a wing half with a touch of class and great enthusiasm."


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