December begins with United making the long trip to South Wales to visit Swansea City in a rather inconvenient midweek trip for the travelling Toon Army. Our first trip came in 1915 for an F.A Cup tie at the old Vetch Field a defence that included the legendary duo of Frank Hudspeth and Bill McCracken keeping the home side out in a 2-0 Newcastle win. Jaunts to this part of the world have been rare up until the very recent past, last season going down to a solitary Luke Moore goal in the final few minutes in a game where we were arguably the better side.
One game I’m sure you’ll all remember was during the 2011/12 season during Papiss Cisse’s incredible goalscoring streak at the back end of that season, the man from Senegal scoring two impressive goals from United counter attacks against Brendan Rodgers’ side, which incidentally was the first time Swansea had hosted The Magpies in the top flight. Two years prior to that, we made our first trip to the newly built Liberty Stadium in our Championship season and were somewhat fortunate to come away from there with a point, Andy Carroll scoring one of his 17 goals that season late in the day to cancel out Dave Cotterell’s curling opener.
That encounter in The Championship was the first between the clubs on Welsh soil since 1983, in the promotion season when The Magpies came away victors in a hard fought 2-1, the goals coming from Kenny Wharton and David Mills, Wharton was one of the players involved a few years previous to that in 1980 when a less than memorable Newcastle side featuring the likes of Frans Koenen and Bobby Shinton were soundly beaten by 4 goals to nil by The Swans. A year previous to that however was a happier trip home for United when we came out 3-2 winners in November 1979, on the scoresheet that day were Bill Rafferty, Alan Shoulder and Terry Hibbitt.
The two sides met a few times during the early 1960’s whilst Newcastle were languishing in the second division, the highlight of these meetings was a 1-0 win in March 1964 when recently signed former Sunderland captain Stan Anderson got the winner. The men from Wales were one of our scalps on the way to F.A Cup success in 1952, coming out on top at the Vetch Field by a single goal scored by flying winger Bobby Mitchell. The final match of note came in 1947 when Charlie Wayman and the man nicknamed “The Clown Prince of Soccer” Len Shackleton secured 3 points in a 2-1 victory.