Tour de force: Newcastle’s epic 1949 US and Canada tour

As football clubs head off on their pre-season tours, this article tells the story of Newcastle United’s epic 1949 tour of the US and Canada. It was remarkable for several reasons, most notably because Jackie Milburn scored 31 goals in 31 days, and Newcastle chalked up the biggest win in the club’s history.

“The fog-delayed liner the Queen Mary arrived in Manhattan on a muggy afternoon in May 1949, after a six-day voyage from Southampton. On board in blue club blazers were the Newcastle United squad, including captain and half-back Joe Harvey, goalkeeper Jack Fairbrother, and centre-forward Jackie Milburn. They were embarking on a 15,000-mile summer tour of the US and Canada that would see them criss-cross the continent from New York to Vancouver, riding an unprecedented wave of football enthusiasm and scoring a remarkable number of goals.”

Read the article in the August 2013 issue of When Saturday Comes.

The article also appears on The Guardian website.

My book about the early history of Newcastle United is All With Smiling Faces.


Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football, history, true adventure. The Guardian, Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, Longreads, Deadspin, etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK