Date: 28th February 2018 at 10:05am
Written by:

Peter Withe on his time at Newcastle – Name that Toon

The Peter Withe Autobiography:

I was about to join a club which had just dropped into Division Two at the end of the 1977/ 78 season and it was as though I had gone back to square one with my career. Richard Dinnis was replaced as manager by Bill McGarry at the start of the 1978/79 season, and I was Bill`s first signing. It was Bill`s intention to sign a lot more players to improve the squad in the hopes of gaining promotion at the first attempt. That was the promise, anyway.

I was well aware of the importance of the nostalgic number 9 shirt, previously worn by the likes of Hughie Gallagher, Jackie Milburn and Malcolm MacDonald, so I knew the fans would expect me to deliver goals. In fact, it was one of the main reasons why I joined the Magpies – that and their passionate fans. They say if you hang 11 Newcastle United shirts on a washing line, 20,000 fans will turn up to watch them. The fans were just football crazy up there, so the expectation was sky high when I arrived at St James`s Park. However, I had cut down my chances of winning an England cap by joining Newcastle. Forest were always in the limelight, so naturally the players got more chances to show what they could do.


My first season ended with me as top-scorer with 16 goals in 43 appearances. Bill had spoken to the media during the start of my second season saying, ‘I wouldn`t sell him for a million pounds. He`s priceless because I couldn`t replace him. In his present form, Peter is a better player than Bob Latchford, who is in the England team. Where would you get a replacement for someone like Withe today for less than £1m?` I was fairly settled in the North East but I knew things could change pretty fast in football. During the season we were hit by too many injuries and used over 30 players. The club was crying out for success but the crowds were really low. If we had played in Division One we would have had 46,000 in the ground every week but Division Two was a poor standard, and the fans were fed up with mediocrity.

The Peter Withe Autobiography: