#9 v2 - Page 15

THE NUMBER ONE OF THE FIRST PLAYERS TO NOT ONLY DON A BLACK & WHITE JERSEY, BUT ALSO THE FAMED NUMBER NINE, WAS TO BE THE WEE SCOTSMAN HIMSELF, HUGHIE GALLACHER. The diminutive addition to the United frontline arrived on Tyneside from Scottish side Airdrieonians in 1925. By the time he left five years later the £6500 fee paid would be an absolute bargain as the striker did what he was known to do best, tear apart the opposition. Gallacher’s time with the Magpies would see him top the scoring charts in each of those five seasons, eventually amassing an incredible 143 goals in just 174 appearances, including netting on his debut and the start of every season. The debut, against Everton on December 12th, would see ‘wee Hughie’ net a brace in a match that would finish level at 3-3 (Stan Seymour would score the other). He would finish the ‘season’ with 25 goals in just 22 games. Including the debut double Gallacher would be seen to score seven times in his first four matches, and seventeen in the first eleven of his United career. The Scotsman running the English defences ragged in every way. Within his early haul for the club there would be a hat-trick on Christmas Day as the Magpies fell to a crushing 6-3 defeat on Merseyside to Liverpool. He followed that treble up with a brace on Boxing Day at home against the same side. As the New Year dawned, January 2nd would see the number nine put visiting Bolton to the sword, scoring four times as United notched up a 5-1 win. The reminder of his first season would see United’s new goal-machine carry on in the same vein as there were to be doubles against West Ham, Leicester and Bury in the league as well as Aberdare Athletic in the FA Cup on January 19th. The 23rd, 24th and 25th goals of what was a prolific start to his 9 S career not only in United colours, but English football as a whole, came on the final day of the season. May 1st would see Gallacher’s new employers claim a tenth placed finish courtesy of a 3-2 home win over relegated Manchester City. The frontman would score all three for the home side as they finished with an impressive ninety goals (their best return since 1906), the third of which would be a century conceded by their relegated visitors. A seasonal best in the black & white of United would be registered in his first full season for the club, 1926-27, as the Magpies claimed their fourth (and last), League Championship. Not for the first time in English football, Gallacher would race out of the blocks. None however would be as prolific as this opener when, on August 29th, the wee Scotsman would smash all four in a 4-0 home rout of Aston Villa in front of 36,000 spectators. It was definitely the start of what was to be a special season for a player who, surprisingly, had replaced club legend Frank Hudspeth, as captain. Albeit a decision that caused many doubts, Gallacher rose to the challenge with incredible ease and emphatically. United’s attack would also be brought to question as to whether they were actually good enough. Some 93 goals were netted between a quartet of Gallacher (39), McDonald (23), Seymour (19) and McKay (11), answering the question and pretty much putting those doubts to rest. Overall in the championship-winning season Gallacher would be seen to score some five braces, four hat-tricks, and the opening day haul of four goals. North London rivals Tottenham (won 3-1 away on November 27th) and Arsenal (won 6-1 at home on April 6th) was to be on the receiving end of a Gallacher treble. He would also be seen to do the same to Everton at home in a 7-3 league victory and against Notts County in the FA Cup. HUGHIE 14 15 Cont. on pg 16