Jackie Milburn

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For other people named Jack and Jackie Milburn, see Jackie Milburn (disambiguation).
Jackie Milburn
Personal information
Full name John Edward Thompson Milburn
Date of birth (1924-05-11)11 May 1924
Place of birth Ashington, Northumberland, England
Date of death 9 October 1988(1988-10-09) (aged 64)
Place of death Ashington, Northumberland, England
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Centre Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1957 Newcastle United 353 (200)
1957–1960 Linfield 54 (68)
1960–1962 Yiewsley
National team
1948–1955 England 13 (10)
Teams managed
1957–1960 Linfield
1960–1962 Yiewsley
1963–1964 Ipswich Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

John Edward Thompson 'Jackie' Milburn, (11 May 1924 – 9 October 1988), also known (particularly in North East England) as Wor Jackie[1] (a Geordie dialectal version of 'Our Jackie') and also as the First World Wor (in reference to his global fame),[2] was a football player principally associated with Newcastle United and England, though he also spent four seasons at Linfield F.C.[3][4]

Second cousin to Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton, Milburn played two trial matches at St James' Park as a 19-year-old in 1943. In the second of these he scored six second half goals.[5] Milburn made his competitive debut in the FA Cup in the 1945/6 season and was initially deployed on the left wing as a supplier to Charlie Wayman. However, Wayman was dropped before a 4-0 defeat to eventual winners Charlton Athletic F.C. in a 1947 FA Cup semi-final and when he afterwards vowed not to play for United again, manager George Martin made the decision to switch Milburn to centre forward. In his next match, on 18 October 1947, Milburn wore the number nine shirt for the first time and scored a hat-trick.[6]

Milburn's subsequent achievements, particularly his two goals which won the 1951 FA Cup Final and his 45-second opener in the 1955 FA Cup Final which was the fastest ever Wembley FA Cup Final goal until it was beaten by Roberto Di Matteo in 1997,[7] brought him national recognition[8] and afforded him iconic status on Tyneside.[1][9][10][11] In total Milburn played in three FA Cup winning finals for United; 1951, 1952 and 1955. Despite his achievements, Milburn was reportedly an extremely shy and self-deprecating individual whose modesty further endeared him to Newcastle United supporters,[8][12][13] though according to Tom Finney this stemmed from an 'innate inferiority complex'.[14]

By the time Milburn left Newcastle in 1957, he had become the highest goalscorer in Newcastle United's history.[15] He remained so until he was surpassed by Alan Shearer in February 2006.[16] Milburn remains Newcastle's second highest goalscorer having scored 200 competitive goals. Despite this, Milburn's transfer to Lingfield F.C. in 1957 was almost jeopardised when the Newcastle board demanded a substantial signing fee and, much to the anger of fans, Milburn was not immediately granted a testimonial.[17] His signing for Linfield 'added thousands to the gate' and he scored 154 goals in four seasons in all competitions for the club.[4]

After retiring, Milburn became a football journalist for the News of the World. He was finally granted a testimonial in 1967 which was attended by over 45,000 supporters at St James' Park and in 1981 he was the subject of an episode of television show This is your life. Milburn was the first footballer to be made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne – an honour later also bestowed on former opponent Bobby Robson and the man who surpassed his Newcastle United goalscoring records, Shearer. Milburn died of lung cancer in October 1988, aged 64. His funeral took place on 13 October 1998 and was attended by over 1,000 mourners at St Nicholas's Cathedral in Newcastle. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to watch the cortege pass.[1] A statue of Milburn, costing £35,000 and paid for by donations received from Newcastle United supporters was erected on Newcastle's Northumberland Street before it was relocated in 1999 to St James' Boulevard and then moved again to its present position on Strawberry Place, just outside of St. James' Park. Milburn was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in October 2006. In 2008 Excelsior Academy School in Newcastle's West End was assigned the official name 'Milburn School of Sport and Health-related Studies. In 2009, Goal.com listed Milburn as 43rd in their list of the 'Top English Players of all-time'.


Milburn grew up in the coal mining town of Ashington, Northumberland, 15 miles north of Newcastle, Milburn's employment as a fitter (repairing heavy machinery) had reserved occupation status during World War II, which meant that he remained in Ashington.[3] He was the son of Annie Thompson and Alexander Milburn, the uncle of the four professional footballing Milburn brothers John ('Jack') Milburn b. 1908 (Leeds United and Bradford City), George Milburn b. 1910 (Leeds United and Chesterfield), James ('Jimmy') Milburn b. 1919 (Leeds United and Bradford City), and Stanley ('Stan') Milburn b. 1926 (Chesterfield, Leicester City and Rochdale), who were brothers of Jack and Bobby Charlton's mother Elizabeth 'Cissie' Milburn b. 1912.[18][19]


Although a boyhood Sunderland[19] fan, Milburn signed for Newcastle United after writing to the club in response to the club's advert for trialists in the North Mail Newspaper. He arrived at St James' Park with a pair of borrowed football boots wrapped in brown paper, and his lunch – a pie and a bottle of pop. Milburn made a huge impression and was invited back to a final trial match – the Stripes v the Blues. Milburn's Stripes found themselves 3–0 down at half time, but then being switched to centre forward in the second half, Milburn scored six times as his side turned around the deficit to win 9–3. Club supremo Stan Seymour quickly signed Milburn up, although the 2nd World War meant that he still worked in the mines whilst also turning out for Newcastle United, and making guest appearances for Sunderland and Sheffield United,[20] in Wartime League games from 1943–1946.

At first, Milburn played as a winger, but switched to Centre forward after Charlie Wayman left the club to join Southampton in October 1947 and was given the club's number 9 shirt. Milburn later said in the 1981 publication, 'Jackie Milburn's Newcastle United scrapbook', "I was fortunate enough to wear Hughie Gallacher's shirt and virtually every Saturday he'd be waiting for me outside the main entrance, always at the same time in the same place, ten yards from the door. "Hi, Jackie, you're doing fine," he'd say, "but l've got a little tip for you..." Then he would mention something he had spotted in my play the previous game. Throughout my playing days I always listened intently to any advice the big names had to give."

Milburn was the central figure in Newcastle's FA Cup campaigns of the 1950s, which saw the club win the Cup three times in five years; 1951 (scoring twice in the final), 1952 and 1955 (scoring the then quickest goal in FA Cup final history after 45 seconds). Milburn also made 13 appearances for England, scoring 10 goals. Milburn left the Magpies in June 1957 to join Belfast club Linfield as player/coach at Windsor Park, where he won 9 trophies (including an Irish League title and Irish Cup win), and finished as the league's top goalscorer in both the 1957–58 and 1958–59 seasons[21] to become the first non-Irishman to become the Irish League's top scorer. When he left Ipswich he played for Non-League football club Yiewsley for two seasons.[22]

After retiring as a player, he went on to briefly manage Ipswich Town, before returning to Tyneside to become a sports journalist for the News of the World newspaper. In 1967, he was given a belated testimonial match by Newcastle. Milburn had worried that ten years after leaving the club, people would have forgotten, but he needn't have worried, as almost 50,000 turned out at St. James' Park for the match which featured a host of stars including his cousins, the famous World Cup winning brothers, Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton, and the great Hungarian player Ferenc Puskás.

Milburn quickly became a hero on parts of Tyneside once League Football returned after World War II in 1946. He played 395 games for Newcastle, and is the club's second highest league and cup goalscorer with 200 goals; six goals behind Alan Shearer.[23] Shearer's European goals take his total to 206, there were no European games in Milburn's day, so he still remains the club's top goal scorer with 200 league and domestic cup goals, and 38 wartime match goals during World War 2, seeing his total record score 238 goals in 492 games.

Personal life[edit]

Milburn was staying at a Letchworth hotel with his Newcastle teammates in 1947 when he met Laura Blackwood – a silver-service waitress working at the hotel.[24] According to Laura, she was serving him breakfast when he 'asked her out' and they went to the cinema. Three months later she travelled to the family home in Ashington and Jackie proposed. They married on February 16, 1948 at Willingsdon Registry Office in North London. They had three children – Linda, Betty and Jackie Jr – and six grandchildren.[1]

After he retired from football, Milburn became a journalist, covering Newcastle United as a writer for the News of the World for 23 years.[21] According to author Dylan Younger, he also acted as 'an unofficial advisor to Newcastle managers', including forming a close relationship with former teammate Joe Harvey.[25] In 1980, Milburn was the first footballer to be made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne[26] – an honour later also bestowed on former opponent Bobby Robson and the man who surpassed his Newcastle United goalscoring records, Shearer.[27] In 1981 he was the subject of an episode of television show This is your life.[28] The episode featuring an unwitting Milburn was the first shot outside of London.[26]


Milburn statue in Ashington
The Jackie Milburn locomotive

In 1987, Newcastle United opened their new West Stand at St James' Park. This was named 'The Milburn Stand', in honour of Jackie.[29] This remains the only stand named after a player at St James' Park.[26]

Three statues of Milburn were commissioned. One stands on Station Road, the main street in his birthplace Ashington, the funds for which were raised by the Civic Head, Cllr. Michael George Ferrigon during his term of Office. A second statue of Milburn was unveiled by Laura Milburn on Newcastle's Northumberland Street in 1991. It was designed by sculptor Susanna Robinson and cost £35,000. The fee was raised after an appeal by the local newspaper attracted donations from local businesses and Newcastle United supporters.[30][31] The statute stands 12 feet (3.7 m) high and the inscription reads John Edward Thompson Milburn, footballer and gentleman.[32] It was relocated in 1999 to St James' Boulevard and then moved again to its present position on Strawberry Place, just outside of St. James' Park.[11]

The whereabouts of the third statue had caused some local consternation in 2011 when the local newspaper recounted a fibreglass statue of Milburn located outside St James' Park between 1996 and 1998 but which had since vanished. The statue was 'found' in the garden of the sculptor who had created it, Tom Maley, who had held it after it was returned to him by Newcastle United to cast in bronze – an arrangement which was cancelled when the club was sold to Mike Ashley in 2007.[33][34]

In 1987, Milburn was voted the 'greatest post-war North East footballer' by the local press.[26] In 1991 a steam locomotive which had previously hauled coal at Ashington Colliery where Milburn had worked was renamed Jackie Milburn in his honour. After a fundraising initiative launched in 2006 by Jack Milburn Jr to restore the locomotive it was displayed in Milburn's home town again in 2011.[35] Milburn was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to English Football.[36] In 2008, Excelsior Academy School in Newcastle's West End was assigned the official name 'Milburn School of Sport and Health-related Studies.[37] In 2009, Goal.com listed Milburn 43rd in their list of the 'Top English Players of all-time'.[38] A feature in the Belfast Telegraph to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Linfield F.C. listed Milburn as the second greatest player to have ever represented the club.[4] A survey by the Evening Chronicle in 2012 placed Milburn first, ahead of Bobby Robson and Catherine Cookson, in their list of '100 Greatest Geordies'.[39] Sport Newcastle's 'Young Talent' award is entitled the Wor Jackie Award in honour of Milburn. In 2014 the winner was Adam Armstrong.[40]

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1943–46 Newcastle United Wartime League 95 38 2 2 97 40
1946–47 Second Division 24 7 3 1 31 8
1947–48 39 20 1 40 20
1948–49 First Division 34 19 1 35 19
1949–50 30 18 2 3 32 21
1950–51 31 17 8 8 39 25
1951–52 32 25 7 3 39 28
1952–53 16 5 16 5
1953–54 39 16 5 2 44 18
1954–55 38 19 10 2 48 21
1955–56 38 19 4 2 42 21
1956–57 32 12 1 33 12
1957–60 Linfield Irish League 54 68 54 68
Total England 502 284 44 23
Career total 559 317


As a player[edit]

Newcastle United


Other Media[edit]

Subject of a 53-minute documentary "A Tribute to Jackie Milburn: Tyneside's Favourite Son" produced by Tyne Tees Television, and later released in 1989 by Video Gems on VHS cassette. It covered his life, times, and career with Newcastle United Football Club

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hutchinson, Lisa (9 October 2013). "Wor Jackie remembered – Funeral of legend Jackie Milburn". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Sansom, Ian (24 September 2011). "Great dynasties of the world; The Charltons". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Milburn, Jack (2003). Jackie Milburn A Man of Two Halves. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1840188049. 
  4. ^ a b c Beacom, Steven (23 April 2011). 25 Greatest Linfield players of all time. Belfast Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Bolam, Mike (2008). The Newcastle Miscellany. Vision Sports Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 9781905326495. 
  6. ^ "The joy of six: positional switches". The Guardian. 26 June 1007. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 77. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  8. ^ a b Miller, david (2 April 2005). "Milburn still out on his own". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Hutchinson, Lisa (8 October 2013). "Wor Jackie remembered: Laura Milburn tells of life with Jackie". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 66. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  11. ^ a b "Statute of Newcastle United Legend Jackie Milburn relocated". BBC. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 68. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  13. ^ Pearson, Harry (March 2013). "The footballer who could fly". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 69. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  15. ^ Hutchinson, Roger (1997). The Toon A Complete History of Newcastle United Football Club. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1851589562. 
  16. ^ Wardle, John (5 February 2006). "Shearer eclipses Milburn at last". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Galvin, Robert (2005). The Football Hall of Fame. Robson Books. p. 253. 
  18. ^ Charlton, Bobby (2007). Sir Bobby Charlton: The Autobiography My Manchester United Years. Headline. ISBN 9780755316199. 
  19. ^ a b "Wor Jackie saw era of player power coming". icNewcastle.co.uk. 
  20. ^ Denis Clarebrough & Andrew Kirkham (2008). Sheffield United Who's Who. Hallamshire Press. pp. 227–228. ISBN 978-1-874718-69-7. 
  21. ^ a b Shackleton, Len. Return of the Clown Prince of Football. GHKN Publishing. pp. 188–9. ISBN 0953824403. 
  22. ^ Steven (26 January 2012). "The Travelling Fan: Hillingdon Borough vs Tring Athletic (14/01/12)". Thetravellingfan.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "Player profile: Alan Shearer". Premier League 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Geordie Legend 'Wor Jackie' is back in black and white". Berwick Advertiser. 16 October 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  25. ^ Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 79. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  26. ^ a b c d Younger, Dylan (2006). Newcastle's Cult heroes. Know the Score Books Ltd. p. 70. ISBN 9781905449033. 
  27. ^ Amos, Owen (9 December 2008). Freedom, but no grazing rights. The Northern Echo. 
  28. ^ Bolam, Mike (2008). The Newcastle Miscellany. Vision Sports Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 9781905326495. 
  29. ^ "Newcastle fight off backlash as Ashley pays £10m of his own cash to re-brand stadium". Daily Mail. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  30. ^ Hutchinson, Lisa (28 July 2011). "Jackie Milburn statue reaches 20th birthday". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "Milburn statue moved closer to St James' Park". The Journal. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "Shearer is to get a statue". Evening Chronicle. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  33. ^ "Feedback: Mystery of Wor Jackie is solved". Evening Chronicle. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  34. ^ "Family reunited with forgotten Milburn statue". 25 August 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  35. ^ Black, David (10 June 2010). "Jackie Milburn pit loco goes on display at miner's picnic". The Journal. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  36. ^ Gibson, John (9 September 2006). Wor Jackie joins Hall of Fame. Evening Chronicle. 
  37. ^ "Jackie Milburn". Premium TV. 
  38. ^ Dawson, Alan. "Goal.com's Top 50 English Players – Jackie Milburn". Goal.comdate=4 May 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  39. ^ "100 Greatest Geordies: No's 3–1". Evening Chronicle. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  40. ^ Ryder, Lee (11 March 2014). "Newcastle United whizzkid wins top award". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 

External links[edit]