Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Black-and-White Lionhearts Who Fought Hard to the Very End

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Black-and-White Lionhearts Who Fought Hard to the Very End

Article excerpt

OFTEN there is a mighty big heart inside the wee frame of a man.

It allows him to stage a brave and defiant fight against the sinking of the sun.

Terry Hibbitt and Jackie Sinclair waged such a war upon the deadliest of opponents, cancer. They may have been defeated in the end but, my, did they show courage and grit.

To lose them was a heartache. I knew both ever so well. They were from my time on the road 24/7 with Newcastle United.

Indeed they both represent glorious times in black-and-white history. Hibby was the magician who set up goals for SuperMac and played in the 1974 FA Cup final, while Sinclair was a European Fairs Cup winner five years earlier. When little Jackie left us a short while back, on a cruise with his wife to enjoy some precious time together, he was 67. Still far too young to meet his maker.

However, Terry was only 46 when he died in August of 1994. A man just touching middle age. When he went into hospital for a second time to be told his cancer was terminal I spoke at some length with his wife Jennifer.

They were both 16 when they met at the Mecca dance hall in Leeds (admittance 20p). Five years later they were married.

Jennifer told heart-warming stories of a fiery little fighter's defiance of the inevitable.

He had a knockabout in a hospital corridor with a white-coated doctor who had walked into his room and announced: "I've always wanted to say I played football with Terry Hibbitt. Do you mind?" With that he produced a blackand-white plastic ball from behind the potted plants.

Terry was sent home, of course, once the unchangeable outcome was known. He had been bar manager at the Diamond pub in Ponteland, not a corner kick away from his Darras Hall home.

I call it the footballers' pub because so many have downed drink there down the years and, sure enough, the Saturday before he died Hibby popped in to have a beer with his pals. …

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