History Lesson – What Happened To Newcastle Back In 1898

This is the worst start to a league season for Newcastle since back in 1898 when I was a young lad.

That season we also took 3 points from our first eight league games – which is what Newcastle are on now.


Newcastle’s strip in 1898 – yes – blue pants

The 1898–1899 season was Newcastle United’s first season in the Football League First Division which had 18 teams at that time and it was six years after we became Newcastle United – with Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End coming together as one club.

In that season we lost the first three games – drew the next three games – and  lost the next two games.

So we had 3 points from the first eight games – that´s what we have at the moment.

We had conceded 16 goals and scored eight – today we have conceded 17 goals and scored six – so quite close there too.

We then drew and lost the next couple of games  in 1898 so after 10 games played we had four points from four draws and six defeats.

So we need to get more than one point from the next two games to beat that.

Newcastle won their first game of that 1898-1899  season in our eleventh game and survived relegation by finishing 13th of 18 league teams.

Interestingly enough our first win was when we took Liverpool apart 3-0 at St. James’ Park on 5th November, 1898  – Guy Fawkes Day.


We suppose you could say we burned Liverpool alive that day – but that would be daft – so we wont say that.

It was a good win because Liverpool finished second top that season.

For the history books the goal scorers that day were Jack Peddie (2) and Sandy MacFarlane.

We were bottom (18th) or second bottom from the beginning right thorough our 24th game on February 4th when we hammered Burnley 4-1 at home.

We moved up to 16th – out of the relegation zone for the first time that season – which in those days were the bottom two sides.

Newcastle won seven and drew one for 15 points out of the last 12 games of that season (2 points for a win one for a draw) and we ended up in 13th place with 30 points from the 34 games in 13th place.

So half our points came from those last 12 games of the 34 played.

We lost the very last game 1-0 at home to Sunderland and in the other derby game we beat Sunderland 3-2 at their place on Christmas Eve.

In 1898 Sunderland played at their stadium which was interestingly called Newcastle Road in 1898 – even then it seems they were obsessed by Newcastle.


Sunderland were 7th with 38 points and Aston Villa won the league with 45 points – two more than Liverpool.

The two relegated clubs were The Wednesday (later to become Sheffield Wednesday) on 24 points and Bolton Wanderers on  25 points.

Third bottom and the FA Cup winners that year were Sheffield United on 29 points.

Newcastle reached the second round of the FA Cup after beating Glossop 1-0 away but then we were beaten 3-1 at home by Liverpool. who were beaten in the semi-finals by Sheffield United after a replay.

Top goalscorer in that season was Jack Peddie with 20 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions and 18 from 29 appearances in the league.

The average attendance that season was 16,709 with the biggest home attendance being against Aston Villa with 25,000 in the ground.

So we got off to bad start that season but finished quite strongly.

There’s some hope for this season – right there.

Comments welcome.