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A Geordie All-Rounder: 28 - Full-Time Professional Footballer

In the 1959/60 season Malcolm Scott played 26 games for Newcastle United, appearing in five different positions.

In mid-August 19591 reported to St. James' Park for the first time as a full time professional footballer. It felt good. It was even better living at home and working 'footballer hours'. One of my first jobs of the new season was to captain Newcastle United - in a charity cricket match against a Tyne Tees T. V Showbiz XI.

At this time Newcastle were going through a period of change that happens in football. To the previous talented fit and fighting side of the 50s, the inevitable was happening. Jackie Milburn had moved on and the likes of Jimmy Scoular and Bobby Mitchell still had their skills but their legs were going.

Changes were taking place under manager Charlie Mitton.
Our training consisted of mostly lapping with some sprinting work followed by a Probables v Possibles game. There was also a small gymnasium available but I was surprised how little skill training we did. Norman Smith was our long serving and much respected trainer.

I coped with training very well but my main worry was what position I would be playing? This was resolved during the initial game of the season when the first team's left winger McGuigan was injured during a 5-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. I was called up for the No. 11 shirt. We lost the next two games 4-3 away to Birmingham and 3-2 away to Manchester United. Not surprisingly I once again joined the reserves. After three games the first team had no points, were bottom of the league with six goals for and twelve against. It took a lot of hard work for them to struggle to eighth position in the league by the end of the season.

'Play anywhere' Scott was recalled for the game on the 26th September away to Leeds United. This time I occupied the No 9 shirt playing centre forward against Leeds and England centre half Jackie Charlton. The game will always be remembered because for the first time in 32 years we won at Elland Road and I scored two goals, one with my head. The Press went crazy with headline "Great Scott - He's the Hero" "Suddenly it was Scott the Great" "Scott of all trades does workmanlike job" "He could save the Magpies 30,000"

My claim to the permanent centre forward spot was further enhanced the following Monday when, in an away game against Aberdeen, which we drew three goals each, I scored another two goals. This led to some papers to ask "Have the Magpies discovered another centre forward?" The answer was supplied the following Saturday when we drew 0-0 at home to West Ham and I missed a sitter in front of goal at the Gallowgate end, during the final minutes of the game.

Len White was our regular centre forward and when he was injured in January 1960 I got another game as his deputy. It was against Burnley, away; we lost 2-1 and that was my last appearance in the first team for that season.

By the end of the 1959/60 season, I had played 26 games for United in 5 different positions. This caused James Nisbitt writing in the Evening Chronicle to ask "Whether any past United player can claim to have been selected for so many different positions as Malcolm Scott." "An all-rounder in the true sense of the word" he concluded. I was flattered.

The 1960 close season was famous for George Eastman's High Court judgement. George played in most of the games when I was lucky enough to represent the Magpies. He was a marvellous inside forward and a great guy to have in your team. However, when he asked for a transfer, United said a firm "no". So George went on strike and sought legal action.

Len Ashurst, Sunderland's long serving full back and a Player's Football Association representative describes how the High Court ruled in Eastman's favour and out went the so-called "football slavery" and the maximum wage of 20 per week. In November 1960 George was transferred to Arsenal and a few months later Johnny Hayes of Fulham became the first footballer to earn over 100 per week.


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