Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Great Moments Of Newcastle United's History As Depicted On LP Covers: #1 - The 1952 Cup Final

This is the first, in a, mercifully short, series. (Of one, probably.) Name a former Newcastle United striker who appears on the cover of a Beatles LP? Yeah, pure dead easy. Albert Stubbins on Sgt Pepper. Next ... Now, name another two. Not so easy. Although, it should be. As most insufferable Beatles-nerds (like yer actual Keith Telly Topping) will know, the cover of John Lennon's 1974 solo LP Walls and Bridges (not his finest work, although it's got the excellent 'Steel and Glass' on it, at least) features a painting - dated June 1952 - by the then-eleven year old Woolton tearaway (and future alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie) of 'a football match.' That's, err, 'soc-her' for our American cousins. It has also become quite widely known in recent years that the watercolour is, almost certainly, a depiction of the 1952 FA Cup final which occurred just a few weeks before hand on 3 May 1952. In which this blogger's beloved (although, even in them days, unsellable) Magpies - the reigning cup holders - took on the might of The Arse. And gave them a damned good shellacking. One-nil. Against ten men, for most of the game after Wally Barnes got injured in the first half. But, hey, a victory's a victory, right?What you probably don't know, unless you're sad to the point of infinity just like yer actual Keith Telly Topping, is that the painting is actually based on a contemporary press photograph of the Chilean international inside-forward George Robeldo scoring Newcastle's eighty third minute winner with a glancing header past the Arsenal keeper, George Swinton. After a pinpoint cross from the left wing by Bobby Dazzler Mitchell (out of shot). Just, you know, scene-setting in case you've never seen the Pathe News footageNote, for example, the curiously 'cocked' position of Arsenal full-back Lionel Smith's left leg in the photo (next to Robeldo) and compare with the painting. And, also the standing pose of Wor Jackie Milburn (wearing number nine) closest to the camera. In fact, the goalkeeper's position aside (artistic licence, we can assume) it's a pretty accurate study, to be fair, and proves that had young John actually stuck-in at art college, instead of getting involved with all that sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll malarkey (and beating up Cynthia on a regular basis), he might have had a half-way decent future as a talented sports illustrator. Fortunately, perhaps, football literature's loss was pop music's gain. We also have what could - if you're really stretching it - be taken as circumstantial evidence that Rockin' Liverpool Johnny was, in reality, a closet Mag! I'll get back to you on that one.

Next time on our exciting, if occasional, series 'The Beatles And Football,' that most vexed of questions was Paul McCartney really a Red or a Blue? Cos, you can't be both as he has claimed on several occasions. It's The Law.