12 Lesser Known Facts About Newcastle United

st james park colourful sketch
Newcastle United (or the Magpies/Mags as they're often more commonly known to their fans) has an incredibly rich history and notoriously committed fan base. But did you know the club's origins are actually in... CRICKET?! Here's more about that and 11 more facts about Newcastle United that you probably didn't know.


Newcastle United Football Club, affectionately known as the Magpies to their fans, has a rich and unique history. While many are familiar with their more famous achievements and players, there are numerous lesser-known facts that are equally fascinating. Let’s dive into 12 of these intriguing tidbits!

1. Newcastle United has its Origins in Cricket

Believe it or not, Newcastle United’s origins can be traced back to cricket. Founded in 1881 as Stanley Cricket Club by the Stanley Company of Byker, the club later incorporated football into their activities, eventually leading to the establishment of Newcastle East End FC.

2. The Gallowgate End’s Gallows History

The Gallowgate End, one of St James’ Park’s stands, gets its name from a rather grim source. Historically, this was the site where public executions took place, lending a macabre twist to the club’s history.

3. Unique Shirt Sponsorship

In the late 1980s, Newcastle United was one of the first clubs to have a shirt sponsorship deal. Their sponsor wasn’t a large corporation but rather the local brewery, Newcastle Brown Ale. This partnership became iconic in the football world.

4. A Record-Breaking Transfer

In 1996, Newcastle broke the world transfer record by signing Alan Shearer for £15 million from Blackburn Rovers. This transfer made headlines worldwide and highlighted the club’s ambition to compete at the highest level. 

5. The Tyne-Wear Derby’s Historic Roots

The rivalry between Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC, known as the Tyne-Wear Derby, dates back to industrial disputes in the 19th century. This historic tension added an extra layer of intensity to their football matches. The most recent meeting of the two teams was just the yesterday at the time of writing this particular piece, when Newcastle took the spoils in the third round of the FA cup eliminating their Wearside rivals from the competition.

6. Pioneers of Floodlit Football

Newcastle United were among the first to experiment with floodlit football in the 1950s. These night matches were a novelty at the time and helped popularise evening games.

7. A Storied Women’s Team

Newcastle United Women’s Football Club, founded in 1989, has a storied history. They’ve been instrumental in promoting women’s football in the region, a fact often overshadowed by the men’s team’s exploits.

8. The ‘Toon Army’ Nickname

The passionate Newcastle fans are known as the ‘Toon Army.’ This nickname comes from the local pronunciation of ‘town’ in the Geordie dialect.

9. A Mascot With a Twist

Unlike many clubs, Newcastle United’s mascot isn’t an animal or mythical creature but a character named ‘Monty Magpie.’ Monty adds a unique charm to matchdays at St James’ Park.

10. Architectural Marvel

St James’ Park is not just a stadium but an architectural marvel. Its cantilever roof over the Milburn Stand is one of the largest in Europe, offering unobstructed views to the spectators.

11. The Magpies in the Movies

Newcastle United was at the centre of a 2005 film, Goal, which told the fictional story of Santiago Muñez, an aspiring Newcastle player.

12. The Club’s Literary Connection

Newcastle United has an unexpected literary connection. The club is mentioned in the famous spy novel ‘The Day of the Jackal’ by Frederick Forsyth, showcasing its cultural reach beyond just football.

Facts to Add?

In summary, Newcastle United Football Club is not just a team; it’s a mosaic of fascinating stories and historical quirks. From its cricketing roots to its architectural marvels, and from its pioneering ventures to its cultural connections, Newcastle FC embodies more than just the spirit of football. These 12 lesser-known facts offer a glimpse into the club’s unique journey, blending sports, history, and culture. As the Magpies continue to soar in the world of football, these intriguing snippets add depth and colour to the tapestry of one of England’s most beloved football clubs.

Got a quirky fact you think we should add? Get in touch via our contact page.


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