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Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties: part four

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Wooltonian brings us the part four of his great series looking back at Liverpool in the Twenties. In this episode Manchester United and Everton receive a lesson in clinical finishing when they visit mighty Anfield on successive Saturdays:

Match 6

Peter hits 17. Work on the Mersey Tunnel, "Queensway", started. Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf. Margaret Thatcher born. Music of the Day: click here

1925 Liverpool vs Manchester United

Headline of the Day
"Manchester for Skill - Liverpool for Goals"

A big gate was expected today as the Manchester United fans arrived in force at 1.30pm allowing themselves plenty of time to enjoy a pre-match aperitif in The Arkles.

Liverpool line up


Lucas    MacKinlay

MacNabb   Cockburn   Bromilow

Rawlings  Walsh  Forshaw  Chambers  Hopkin

The filthy day prevented a huge crowd today and the Spion Kop has rarely looked so deserted. Fortunately, when the game started the conditions did improve a little and with the Manchester crowd present producing some enthusiasm for their side, there was plenty of promise of sparkle for a joyful game.

Frank Barson dominated the early portion of play, and, like Tommy Boyle in his prime days at Burnley, he showed that he could engineer a throw-in with success.  Every time he got a throw in he made use of the ball. It was he, too, who brought a surprise packet to the home goalkeeper by making an up-the-middle pass that Bromilow caught and passed back quickly when only two yards away from Scott.  The wet ball eluded Scott at the first time of asking, but he then produced his customary “dummy” move and cleared.

Smith, in the Manchester forwards, was clever, but rather overworked the dribble. There would have been a stoppage for a “windy” affair in which McKinlay was concerned, but he very decently waved referee Haworth, of Blackburn, to play on. Later, the same player came in for further applause by the cunning way he got his body in the way of Spence, and by the way he stabbed the ball back to prevent what was a possible goal.

Apart from Spence, who was quite close with a highish drive, the shooting was not so clever from the East Lancs team. Hopkin sent one ball outside and after there had been rather too many fouls for hands to count, Walsh did well hitting the target from an oblique angle, from the resulting free kick.

Chambers did even better on the next Liverpool attack. Controlling the ball on his chest with his back to the goal, he turned an hit a scorcher that must have warmed Stewards hands. On the next foray, Chambers ran a half of the length of the field, with Barson and two others snapping at his heels, without being able to catch the wiry man. And when the ball the ball was pushed through to Rawlings, who had moved into the centre forwards position, a goal seemed the most certain outcome. That is, until Steward dived at his feet and smothered the ball. It was a lovely interlude.

Play became very lively from this point onwards, Manchester’s right winger Spence being very useful and intertwining in position with Hilditch, in excellent manner. They both made admirable responses to clever Barson’s passes with the outside of the foot. Lockhead on a through pass from Mann, made a drive that Scott handled securely and well in his usual manner.

At the other end, Steward had no work to attend to for some time, until his captain passed back in no uncertain manner, more resembling a shot than a pass. Steward calmly made the save as though they were used to doing this sort of thing as a defensive measure every week. A second shot from Lockhead was registered moments later, but in reverse, this looked more like a pass back to Scott, rather than a shot.

Suddenly a quick throw by Scott found Chambers on the right wing, with Walsh the most prominent player. No one seemed to know the reason of Chambers appearance on the right, except that he had drifted over that way in the ordinary course of play. But it so happened that he stayed there long enough to see a goal scored, before he returned to his true position.

“Smiler” on receipt of the quick throw, played an immediate ball down the middle, which Forshaw controlled in a single movement. As the ball dropped Forshaw unleashed a ferocious right footed drive that fizzed low across the Anfield turf and into the right hand side of the net. Steward was so caught unawares he didn’t move.

It didn’t just surprise Steward, it surprised everyone and to be candid, it was not on the run of play. A lead that Liverpool could only justify by saying “Manchester’s failings in front of goal are no concerns of ours”. The goal was scored in the 21st minute.

Manchester had certainly been the cleverer side so far, their methods were prompt, pretty and scooped up the ground in no uncertain manner, but all movements were void of a clinical finish. In the second portion of the first half, United had not so much of the game. But there was an occasion when McPherson centred so well that it looked odds on a goal. Lockhead however made a pigs ear of his drag shot and the ball simply drifted wide of the left hand post.

Nothing was better in the first half than the positional play of McKinlay, who sized up two moves ahead and was able to intercept balls to Spence time after time. Also noteworthy was Lucas’s new style of defence, where he lay full length on the ball, which is all very well, so long as you don’t get a good kicking while your there. Admitting that, the ball was hard to time, because it was running badly and allowing for other circumstance. Liverpool had shown more decision in front of goal than their rivals. For instance, Forshaw had a further snap chance, and had he caught the ball just a little more fully, he would have gained his second point.

Approaching the interval, Walsh delivered a shot which cannoned off Moore for a corner. This corner led to an immediate other from the opposite side, when Steward saved from Walsh. The third corner of the trot saw Walsh block attempted clearances four times, the last with his knees stretched apart, prevented Manchester defenders clearing, but at a personal cost. I don’t know about him, but it brought tears to my eyes and all those around me. Never has the magic sponge been required to work miracles so much.

The half ended on a good note for the home fans. Chambers unleashed a monster drive, which was saved by the fists of Steward. No goalkeeper could have caught it, it was travelling so fast it would have passed a model ‘T’. Manchester was proving to be a very solid defensive line, if only they had been as good in front of goal as at the back and in the middle, they would have been a very awkward side to hold. But the half ended with Liverpool a goal to the good and opportunities galore to be further ahead.

Half Time Score: Liverpool 1 Manchester United 0

No sooner had the second half started, United showed the same failings as in the first half. McPherson was clear, but he delayed his shot long enough for McKinlay to slide in and cut off his drive. Just after Spence, the most dangerous of the United forwards, went close, but again he was stopped by McKinlay. Lucas blocked a Rennox shot minutes later that was heading goal bound. For all the attacks United were throwing at Liverpool, Scott had seen no action due to his stalwart defensive line.

Then came a break. Forshaw controlled the ball in the centre and swept right. Rawlings reading the play moved inside. Forshaw feigned inside but overtook Silcock down the flank. Forshaw offered a nice centre to the middle of the goal, where Rawlings had anticipated the cross. His downward header caused Steward all sorts of problems, but somehow the keeper held on. Steward had performed miracles last week at Maine Road, but today he was looking decidedly dodgy. Rawlings went quite close again shortly after and in doing so gave a perfect impression of Steward, who at every save puffed out his cheeks.

He was puffing out quite a bit over the next few minutes having to make saves from a Chambers lob, a Forshaw bullet and a well placed effort from Walsh which saw the keeper diving full stretch to his right. The ever increasing numbers on the Spion Kop, probably due to the half time gate, began to smell blood and the famous “Kop Roar” reached deafening proportions.

Spence conjured up a little piece of magic in the next play, when he tried to chip Scott from the wing, but a backward dive by Scott finger tipped the ball over the bar for a corner. When Lockhead met the corner with a powerful header, all assembled thought it was destined to be the equaliser, but Scott, not only saved the incoming cannon-ball, he held it. You had to laugh, even when United did beat the defenders, there was little hope of them beating the brick-wall goalkeeping being shown by Scott. He was simply magnificent, not just this week, every week.

Yet another quick throw by Scott saw Forshaw racing forward, who having gathered three men on him, elected to shoot, but found the ball clogged in the treacle like surface that was now forming. The ball came back to him of a defender's heel and he neatly slipped the ball to Chambers who had continued his run, with one momentary glance up, Chambers released a thunderbolt, which never rose above six inches from the turf which Steward only fingered, without being able to do as much as the firm of Barkers. (make your own minds up on that one, it lost me!)

Chambers goal was a highly popular one and was celebrated rather over zealously, by the now, near bursting Kop. Little did the half-timers realise that Liverpool were still scoring against the balance of the whole game play. In fact, the Liverpool half backs as a line were still being totally outplayed, and in truth they were far from impressive.

A peculiar incident followed next and this will take some following. Liverpool attacked through Hopkin, his cross was hit on the volley by Chambers, who completely mis-timed his effort. His effort was met by Rawlings who headed on goal. His header was punched away by the keeper, which fell at the feet of Cockburn. Cockburn made a strong drive, which rebounded of a defender to Forshaw. Forshaw appeared to head toward an empty goal, but up like a jack-in-the-box came Steward from an earlier dive. He palmed away the header to the feet of Chambers, whose first time shot was caught by Steward. Five minutes? No the entire episode was complete in five seconds. It was like watching a steely in a bagatelle board.

Liverpool were now growing in confidence and were in ascendancy, spurred on by United’s ineptness at the other end. Ever pushing forward, Manchester had no option but to go in full retreat. Liverpool were not content with a two goal margin and after fine individual skills by Chambers, Forshaw hit one of his heartiest and best which flew into the net from all of thirty yards. Eleven goal keepers would not have kept that one out, let alone Steward. The whole ground stood, and applauded an effort which must be one of the best ever seen. As the players all shook hands returning to the half way line, a feeling was going around the ground that this game was about to ignite.

The game changed totally. Liverpool half backs seemed to find a new confidence, spurred on by McKinlay increasing their numbers. Rawlings went close, but a one handed punch by Steward saved the blushes. Bromilow fired a rocket, which came back off the upright. McKinlay, always one who wants to get involved in attack, fired one that could have ended up at the Pier Head. At least the ball was never to be seen again.

The “Boys from the Village” on the Bullens Road side began their chant of “One, two, three, four, five” when after Hopkin and Rawlings supplied the fuel, Forshaw lit the taper of his latest rocket. Whoosh, I swear it was harder than the last one. If the goal had been bricked-up it would still have hit the net. Four nil to Liverpool and Forshaw had once again secured his hat-trick of the afternoon's proceedings. Surely it doesn’t get much better than this?
The Bullens Road side boys kicked the Kop into gear. One Two, One Two Three, One Two Three Four, One Two Three Four Five, Five-Nil. Prior to today, the song had found little occasion to be aired, as Liverpool had only scored four goals in four games. Today however they had equalled that and there was still twenty minutes to go.

The famous “Kop roar” that greeted the latest and let's hope not the final kick off of the game was just simply amazing. If there had been any glass in the ground, I assure you it would have cracked. The Manchester United line up for the kick off was a beaten side and what’s more, they knew it. Wave after wave of Liverpool attacks battered against the shore of the Manchester defence. The crowd of the Kop in unison were holding up a hand indicating the five, that not so much they wanted, they demanded. A Chambers volley nearly met their demands, but Moore blocked it in his midriff and he doubled up like a closing book. But this book had not reached it’s epilogue.

Rawlings collected the ball five yards into his own half, he turned and left Mann motionless, he pushed the ball forward, avoided the lunging tackle of Barson and fired one from outside the box. The ball ended up in the net by where you would place a postage stamp. Absolutely stunning, the Kop went wild, the Village Boys in the Bullens Road side were dancing and even the Directors Box stood up and clapped. As Rawlings received his thanks from virtually every player on the Liverpool team, the whole ground applauded.

As the Boys from the Bullens Road Side started a new chant for SIX, the referee decided to call a halt to proceedings, to the relief of the travelling fans and the disgust of the home fans. There would be singing in the streets tonight, even from those who didn’t take libation.

Liverpool’s finishing was truly awesome today, and I guess most people in time, will forget the early balance of play. But as I said earlier “Manchester’s failings in front of goal are no concerns of Ours” !!

Full Time Score: Liverpool 5 Manchester United 0

Special Note to the Echo Editor
I’d be thinking of printing extra copies of tonight’s issue if I were you, they will be taken up quicker than the press can print them.

Special Note to the Spectators
There are no bookings for next Saturdays local derby. Get there early and avoid disappointment, Liverpool in this mode are well capable of scoring another five.

Writer's Note
I was most confused by certain phrases used in this part. “Boys from the Village”, “Boys from The Bullens Road Side”, “Kop half empty“ and “Half-timers”. But I assure you they are all documented facts and terms used by The Football Echo.

Match 7

Poster of the day:

Could the blues indeed keep the REDS out? Not at Anfield they couldn't!

Peter still 17. Garston Gas Works XI ruled the Amatuer Leagues. New Brighton Football Club playing in football league. Music of the Day: click here

John Logie Baird demonstrated the first working TV by transmitting an image of a dummy's head.

1925 Liverpool vs Everton

Headlines of the Day
"Echo Correspondent the New SEER"
After forecasting Liverpool win
"Liverpool Win Local 'Derby' With Ease"
"Limping Forshaw Helps Himself"
"Everton's Faulty Tactics"

Liverpool line up

Lucas    MacKinlay
MacNabb   Cockburn   Bromilow

Rawlings  Walsh  Forshaw  Chambers  Hopkin

Everton vs. Liverpool, historic meetings these, and always certain of huge assemblies. Everton at Anfield today were fearful about the goalkeeping position. Kendal was hurt at Birmingham and could not play. Harland had been hurt at West Bromwich three weeks ago and was not expected to be fit. He was the one man of whom it was said, “He’ll not be able to play”. So the club got in touch with Menham, the Northern Nomads keeper, only to find, after getting his permit, that Harland had indeed reported fit last night. Liverpool made no change from a side that went nap against Manchester United.

Little Tommy Tucker Tembey, and Liverpool’s regular mascot, who followed them to Southampton last year, kept the crowd of 50,000 spectators in comfort with their jolly burlesque. Tucker did not give the crowd a dance, which was very unfortunate, for I understand that he is something of an expert in this field.

The ground, the policing, the Kop and the conditions at the start were excellent. There was one or two ambulance cases, which the Kop dealt with in their usual overhead conveyor belt manner, but nothing serious had been reported. What was unusual, was the strangely silent manner in which the crowd greeted the entrance of the Gladiators. Perhaps the crowd were suffering from pre-match nerves as both teams were capable of winning this fixture.

Big Don drew the first blood of the day in winning the toss and elected to kick towards the Stanley Park End. Winning the toss meant the value of a fairly sharp wind and had Harland facing the full blast of the midday sun. He’d certainly be requiring his flat cap today. Such a shame no one has designed a cap with a larger brim to give his eyes more shade.

The referee today showed just as much impatience as the crowd, kicking the game off prior to the published 3 o’clock start and MacKinlay wasted no time in letting Dixie know what was in stall for him the rest of the game. Dean in his usual manner just brushed himself down and walked away leaving a glare that would freeze Sefton Park lake. Then there followed a free kick against Irvine for a cynical trip upon Bromilow. More glares from both sides threatened to turn today’s late summer warmth into something more reminiscent of the polar regions.

Rawlings made a lively run on the right without being able to pin point his cross to the waiting Forshaw. Naturally both sides were suffering early match nerves as was expected and for some time the players did not settle down to the normal fluency. In fact Kennedy, in his haste to make a first time shot, kicked right over the top of the ball, which is uncommon for him. But it brought great delight to the assembled Kop and derisory jeers followed him for the next few minutes. Afterwards he made a shooting chance for Irvine, but he too looked more reminiscent of a golfer swinging a fresh air shot. The Bullen’s Boys loved this and decided to jeer the Everton player with screams of “FORE”.
Everton had distinctly the best of possession early on and Liverpool were fortunate the chances had not fallen to Dixie. For if they had, the blue quarter could have been a goal or two up in the first five minutes. It was only a clever idea on the part of Walsh, acting as a defender, in back-healing, that helped stem the tide. MacKinlay also offered help with several well timed headers away from goal.

However, minutes later Chedgzoy was left alone two yards in front of goal, but somehow managed to put the ball over the bar. Elisha might as well go and enjoy a pint in the Sandon if Everton’s accuracy does not improve quickly. This was indeed a let off, but perhaps just as well, as the referee had chosen to ignore the linesman who was frantically giving us all his best impression of a cheerleader waving for offside. One wag in the crowd shouted “you need a bigger flag mate, and perhaps a rattle to get his attention”

Peacock’s persistence in the next phase of attack was worthy of special applause, and, as often happens in football, the side that had attacked practically from the start until this moment ended up a goal in arrears. In the sixth minute, it all happened in a simple manner.

Hopkin fell before making a pass, scrambled up, and eventually, as he was trying to centre, the ball struck Peacock in the face and passed for a corner. Hopkin took the flag kick, and in spite of the plan of campaign adopted by the Everton defenders, Forshaw, with the greatest of ease, bullet headed the ball home. I think McBain was supposed to be marking Forshaw, but if he was, he should learn to follow the striker when he moves, instead of staying riveted to the starting point.

This was Forshaw’s fourth goal on this ground within seven days and  defending like that would see him double his previous week's hat-trick.

Naturally Everton were very disappointed at such a turn of events. Troup and Hart did very clever things on the left flank, but Liverpool having tasted blood, improved their style of play and Chambers from Rawlings centre, was inches off heading Liverpool into a two goal lead. While Hopkin minutes later made the ball swing not more than a foot over the bar. Everton appeared to be taking tea and biscuits for the last five minutes, perhaps the hooter had gone for tea break, but no one had told Liverpool.

Finally Everton regained some composure and came back from their break. A fine straight drive by Irvine brought the best out of his fellow countryman Scott who saved sharply and surely. The new swerving run was becoming favoured by some of the Liverpool men, and when Rawlings let the ball pass by him so that he could swing first right and then to the left he performed a sort of crescent, quite a graceful movement if I say so myself. And far better than the swinging wild shot we were being treated to down the other end. Bromilow treated us all to three little dainties in the left hand corner and surprised both the crowd and the defence with a swinging shot that was quite close to scoring.

Then came a goal from the English-South African Walsh, who copied Rawlings new swerve and got the left flank of the Everton defence in an absolute turmoil. Dropping his right shoulder, but then cutting inside, he left Hart like a cloakroom attendant, holding his coat. Walsh moved up the park as if nothing on Earth worried him. It was as if he had an hour and a half to sink a putt. Moving in almost impertinent slow fashion, he eventually elected to make a drive from fifteen yards out, the ball nestled in the bottom left hand corner of the net. The ball had never rose above two inches from the surface and that was characteristic of the mans shooting, low and hard.

Neither Dean nor Irvine could find the mark in front of goal and as the game went on, I bet Elisha wished he’d have gone for that pint earlier as he had not been troubled to dirty his attire in the first half. Suddenly the crowd got windy. Forshaw went off with an injured foot. Smiles broke out on the faces of the Kopites for a short time when he returned five minutes later, but for fans with a more discerning eye, it was short lived as he was obviously still limping on his left leg. His lameness was evident to anyone who cared to notice and became apparent to all on his next shot when he appeared to wince with pain.

All the action so far had been on the opposite side of the pitch down Everton’s left and Liverpool’s right. Forshaw had become Liverpool’s inside right for the time being and opening a way for Rawlings, whose shot had been patted away by Harland. Minutes later Chambers helping the defence had the misfortune in crocking Chedgzoy’s ankle. After enquiring whether Chedgzoy was all right, Chambers returned to his attacking work. When Forshaw with a diagonal centre, put the ball into the goalmouth, Chambers thoroughly relished a nodding acquaintance with the goal. He firmly placed the ball up in the top netting and thus Everton were three down in thirty-six minutes.

Harland was again found flapping in the goal mouth minutes later and Everton were lucky not to go in four down. There had not been much enthusiasm for the game so far from the boys from across the park, in fact it was one of the most uneven derby games we have see for a long time and speaking thus early, it pretty much seemed to me, that the bottom had been knocked out of it.

Let's just hope the blue half of this game turn up for the second half.

Half Time Score: Liverpool 3 Everton 0

During the half time interval, I had the pleasure of a handshake with the Right Honourable Arthur Henderson, the former Home Secretary, who was with Mr Jack Hayes MP.

Quite as to why the former was at the game I’m unsure, because after a brief discussion on the merits of the first half, I began to wish I was having the discussion with my wife.

Mr P. O. Roberts was also present so Jack was cutting a lonely figure as the only person who was interested in sport in Liverpool. I’d guess the free tickets used would have been better served if given to fans of either club, or even someone remotely interested in the round ball game, rather than people who seemed more interested in the free half time sandwiches.

The second half started with both sunshine and wide grins on the Liverpool attack. Everton lining up looking more like a hooker without a date would never have been in their troublesome position had they not inclined to the close game as against taking part in open play like their counter parts. Certainly Kennedy and Troup had started the second half in a threatening manner and had at least tried to reduce the deficit. But the rest looked like they had come for the MP buffet. Had it not been for the massive display by both Cockburn and the equally massive MacNabb one of them might have made the score sheet.

The game was poised in this anxious enquiry "could Everton do to Liverpool what Manchester City had done to Everton the previous week and come back from three goals down and score four goals"? The prospect was not encouraging.

There was a rustle in the leaves at this moment, the referee apparently taking great exception to an action of Scott’s on Dean. If, as is alleged, Scott stuck up his foot, then play should have surely been suspended at once, and not have been allowed to proceed for some time before mention was made of that matter. Kennedy came close again shortly after with a finely taken free kick. I swear the ball moved half a yard in the air, but Scott proved equal to the challenge. Peacock came close with a good kick as did Kennedy.

But there were some other kind of kicks, just now. Forshaw was unlucky in catching one full back, but luck had nothing to do with it when he caught the other full back minutes later. Neither brought the displeasure of the referee who appeared to allow the return of an earlier kick on Forshaw.

It was Forshaw who scored the fourth goal at the fifty sixth minute. His work was easy, he simply had to conclude the lesson of the day. Bromilow and Hopkin having initiated the attack. Bromilow passing the ball up the line, Hopkin was able to keep it in play by a sturdy effort and his centre produced just sufficient length to enable Forshaw to finish off his master-class in how to head the ball.

This goal seemed to settle the issue. Everton seemed to believe that they had a chance up to the third goal, but their hearts sunk into their boots when the fourth went in. Everton’s shooting to be brutally frank was Tragic. Hart missed one to the right. Dixie missed one to the left. But the special award must go to Kennedy who fired a rocket over the bar, over the crowd and out of the ground.

Jeers from the Bullens Boys confirmed the earlier golfing "fore" had turned into a cricketing cry of “SIX”! Wags, the lot of them, I tell you. Altogether, the shooting of Everton players was only on a par with their general failure. Everton could do no right in front of goal even the usually prolific Dean was having a nightmare, I swear one shot went for a throw in. It got so bad even O’Donnell had a crack at goal. The result confirmed why he is a full back and should perhaps stay in his own theatre of play.

Scott stood mystified in his own box, would he have to make a save today? The prospects were not looking like he would have to get his kit washed today. I watched as Scott had a chat to a young lad behind the goal while leaning on one of his posts. He appeared to sign a slip of paper the young fan handed him. Confused? I was, he was in front of the Everton section.

Yet another shot passed Elisha’s post. He must have felt like a ball boy today for all the fetching he did behind his goal. The goal kick was one again sent down the Liverpool right, but a through ball to Forshaw seen him going through on goal. Forshaw netted again with a swift and again a low shot, which the keeper had no chance in getting down to. Thus in two weeks Liverpool had got five goals in each game. Forshaw had another hat-trick on the record books. And the boys from the Bullens started their now becoming customary, ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE chant.

Liverpool’s opportunism was their mainstay, but in addition one could not fail to see the teamwork of the side, and the fact that wherever the ball was, there, two or three Liverpool players congregated together.

Kennedy’s consolation strike on the 84th minute was probably missed by some of the exiting blue fans. Shame really, it wasn’t a bad goal, ask your friends who stayed, they will tell you because if you leave before the end you don’t deserve a goal description from me.

Full Time Score: Liverpool 5 Everton 1

The official gate today was estimated at 55,000 and total receipts were a massive £3,100.

Good news for Wirral-based fans, work began on the Mersey Tunnel this year. Rumours that the toll will be free after the first two years was met with scepticism ...

© Wooltonian 2006

Part 1 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.
Part 2 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.
Part 3 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.

Next up it's 1926 and 1927. A General Strike is called and Ken Dodd is born - though they may not be related. Sheffield United, Bury and Portsmouth travel to Anfield only to concede a combined 18 goals to the mighty Red men ...

excellent again Karl.

Thanks for that, excellent read.


Great stuff Karl.  Totally enjoyable read, the pictures and little snippets of Liverpool news add to the whole thing.  That Mersey tunnel picture is impressive, it all makes sense now…..

I’ve been thinking about that 5.0 Man U result and the 5.1 Blue Shite result…. any chance a few of them boys are up for a little game at the weekend?  It’s gonna take our current team four months to score ten goals…

Simply superb. Journalist was a bit hard on the Labour MP Arthur Henderson - he was a founder of Newcastle Utd FC.


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