Byline: JOHN GIBSON
THE most glorious and successful FA Cup era in Newcastle United's long history came in the early 50s.
Three times the mighty Magpies descended on Wembley and three times they took the trophy back home with them.
United were, in the words of one critic, "the perfect football machine."
They were talked about throughout the land and, at least on the surface, lived like Hollywood kings, travelling to away matches in their own special carriage attached to the back of the train with their own chef to prepare the food. Special training at Blackpool, Brighton or Buxton dominated their Cup runs.
It was glamorous, exciting, larger than life. And, disappointingly, it remains the last time United won a domestic trophy of note.
The heroes were Jackie Milburn and Bobby Mitchell, Joe Harvey and Bobby Cowell, Len White and George Robledo, big Frank Brennan and little Ernie Taylor. Masters all.
Sadly, with the recent passing of Charlie Crowe, only Vic Keeble from the 50s Wembley winners is still with us.
Wor Jackie was the focal point of all three teams, of course.
An Ashington lad, fleet of foot with a thunderous shot, he always reckoned the first victory in 1951 against Blackpool, was the best of the lot, even though Newcastle won again a year later when confronted by Arsenal and did it for a third time in 1955 with Manchester City the patsies.
Milburn scored both goals to destroy the Cup dreams of Sir Stanley Matthews, Tynesider Stan Mortensen, and Blackpool. Two wondrous efforts of vastly contrasting styles.
The first saw Jackie receive the ball from George Robledo inside his own half, sprint away past Eric Hayward and, as keeper George Farm began leaving his goal, plant the ball in the gap inadvertently allowed on his right. …