The Tyne-Wear Derby Chronicles: Part Five


Crossing the Derby Divide 

There have been a lot of players that have turned out for both Newcastle United and Sunderland over their combined 200 plus year histories. However, considering all those that has pulled on the famous back and white stripes and the (not so) famous red and white jerseys of both clubs, playing for both sides of this particular north-east divide is pretty much sinful. If you were to put a religious spin on the matter then you would be breaking one of the Ten Commandments – thou shalt not covet thy neighbours club. That would be why there have been less than sixty players to have appeared for both clubs.

From those early East End and Amateur days of Newcastle United when players such as Matthew Scott, John Smith and John Spence appeared for both sides. Then, around the late 1800’s when those on Wearside were already an established side, and the Tynesiders were on the rise, the Scotsman John Robertson Auld, left ‘The Team of Talents’ for his swansong at St. James Park’, playing just the one season (1896-97), before retiring.

Another big name of the generation to leave the red and whites for the brighter lights of the Tyne was Andrew McCombie. In his five seasons on Wearside he would make over 150 appearances and win one league title. His move to Newcastle became the subject of an inquiry by the Football Association following a record £700 deal being sealed. Having won one title on Wearside, McCombie would collect a further three titles whilst at Newcastle and, in his six seasons would make more than 130 appearances. Overall, including behind the scenes, McCombie would stay near half a century.

More players to cross the divide were either little known, or where at the beginning and end of their respective careers, only playing a couple of seasons for either club. Players such as William Agnew, Henry Bedford, John Campbell, Joseph Divine, John Howie, Robert McKay, Raymond Robinson, Robert Thomson and Nigel Walker don’t exactly roll off the tongue, but they have coveted thy neighbours club.


(Above, Len Shackleton, ‘The Clown Prince’ bagged six on his Newcastle debut in a club record win against Newport County; and below ‘The Captain of the North’ Stan Anderson who played for, and captained, the regions big three)


The mid-forties would see probably the first ‘big’ transfer between Newcastle and Sunderland. A then record fee of some £13000 was paid in 1946 for a Bradford City striker whom had scored 171 times in 217 appearances. Then, on his Newcastle debut, he instantly endeared himself to the supporters by smashing a double hat-trick in a club record 13-0 victory over Newport County; Leonard Francis Shackleton had arrived on Tyneside. He would only stay for a season and a half, leaving fro Sunderland in early 1948, moving to Roker Park for another record fee of £20050. He would stay with the Wearsiders until an injury enforced retirement a decade later, scoring over a 100 goals in near 350 appearances.

Throughout the fifties a star was being born on Wearside, a player who would soon become synonymous within the region as a whole, that of Stan Anderson. He would become the only player in history that would both play for a captain the north-east’s big three of Sunderland (1949-63), Newcastle United (1963-65) and Middlesbrough (1965-73, six years as manager). Anderson’s move from Sunderland stunned Wearside and sparked Harvey’s Newcastle revolution culminating in the 1965 Second Division Championship. His contribution to all three of the region’s top clubs earned him legendary status (read ‘Captain of the North’ by Stan Anderson).

Anderson’s time on Tyneside coincided with the emergence of Robert Moncur in the United squad (see Fairs Club article). Moncur would become a United legend with the Fairs Cup success of 1969 before he made the short trip to Wearside in 1974 for a fee of £30000, staying there for two years.  In fact Moncur’s move to Wearside coincided with the arrival of his former team-mate, ‘Pop’ Robson. As a born Wearsider, Robson left Newcastle for a successful three year spell at West Ham before joining Sunderland. He would have three spells there (1974-76, 1979-81 and 1983-84). Those two alone, Moncur and Robson, racked up over 550 appearances between them.

Thomas Gibb was the surprise in the United ranks. Drafted in a reserve he took his chance and made 171 consecutive appearances of his near 200 that saw both a Fairs Cup and FA Cup final appearance before moving to Sunderland on a free in 1975, adding the Second Division title with them the following year (1976).

The eighties and nineties would see the most activity between the two rivals with that of Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark, Jeff Clarke, David Kelly, Barry Venison and Chris Waddle appearing for both sides. And then there was the one that Sunderland let slip away – Seamus John Given.

  (Captain fantastic – Bob Moncur with the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup)


About petermannwriter

Freelance (Sports/Music) Journalist

Posted on 24/10/2015, in Football, Newcastle United and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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