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 to football, particularly in the Northeast of England, as Wor Jackie. Translating from local dialect this means 'our Jackie' and to some he was 'the first World Wor' in reference to his global fame, as a football player for Newcastle United and England.[1] ("Wor" in the Geordie dialect means "our") Milburn remains Newcastle United's 2nd highest top goalscorer of all time with a total of 200 goals.[2] After a very distinguished footballing career that made him an iconic figure in sporting circles in Northeast England and elsewhere, Milburn became a respected football journalist for the News of the World.[3][4] Jackie Milburn became a Freeman of the City of Newcaste-upon-Tyne and another Tyneside footballing hero Sir Bobby Robson noted that he was proud to be made Freeman alongside Milburn and a Newcastle goal scorer from another era Alan Shearer.[5] It is regularly reported that Milburn left a positive impression on everyone who saw him as a player, and everyone who met him as a man.[6] As well as being made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle, a statue was placed on Newcastle's Northumberland Street, the main thoroughfare, to recognise his achievements. This was later moved to one of the major road entrances to the city, just outside of St. James's Park so that all visitors - and opposing fans - arriving from the south would pass by it. This statue is now placed outside of the St. James's Park Stadium in Strawberry Place, opposite the Strawberry Public House (pub) frequented by football fans on matchdays.[7] In 2008 20 years after his death, Excelsior Academy school was built in Newcastle's West End. Four schools were assigned names that were based on a successful person from the region. Hence the name Milburn School of sport and health related studies was created.[8]


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.[1] 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.[9][10]


Although a boyhood Sunderland[10] 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,[11] 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 the 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 leading league goalscorer in two consecutive seasons.[4] These two seasons, 1957–58 and 1958–59, made him the first non-Irishman to become IFA Premiership top scorer. When he left Ipswich he played for Non-League football club Yiewsley for two seasons.[12]

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.[13] 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.


Milburn Statue in Ashington

Away from football, Milburn was a shy, quiet and modest man, well liked and respected by all who met him. There exists a story whereby Milburn met Cardinal Basil Hume, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and a huge Newcastle United supporter. Both unassuming men, they were in awe of each other. After a conversation, the talk moved on and one suggested an autograph would be a good idea. The other agreed. Both men stood back and expected to be the recipient of the autograph, without realising the other man wanted their autograph in return.

As part of their 'bonus', the United players were given cigarettes by the club. Those who didn't smoke gave theirs to smokers. Milburn always had a ready supply. Milburn died at the age of 64 on 9 October 1988 of lung cancer, at his home in Ashington. His funeral was held at St. Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle and saw over 30,000 people turn out to pay their respects.[1]

In 1988, Newcastle United opened their new West Stand at St James' Park and named it after Milburn. In addition to the Milburn Stand at St. James' Park, two statues of the footballer 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. The other, in Newcastle, was originally situated on Northumberland Street before being moved to Milburn Junction, where Blenheim Street meets Corporation Street and Bath Lane, (a road now renamed St James Boulevard), just a minute's walk away from St. James' Park. It was unveiled in 1995 by Jack Charlton as well as Milburn's widow Laura.[14] Laura, now in her eighties, is still living. In April 2012, the Newcastle statue was once again moved - now resting on Strawberry Place, in the shadow of the South-East corner of St. James' Park.[7] Although two staues of Milburn are well known there have in fact been three statues created in Jackie Milburn's image over the years. One is in Ashington and the second now in Strawberry Place but the third, which was intended for St James' Park before the Stadium was refurbished in the 1990s, went missing until found by the local newspaper journalist in the sculptor's garden in Morpeth.[15]

Milburn was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to English Football.

In his honour, Newcastle United started the annual Wor Jackie Award for the best young player of the season.

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 Milburn, Jack (2003). Jackie Milburn A Man of Two Halves. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1840188049. 
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Roger (1997). The Toon A Complete History of Newcastle United Football Club. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1851589562. 
  3. ^ Hamilton, Duncan (2012). The Footballer that Could Fly. Century. p. 34. ISBN 9781846059803. 
  4. ^ a b Shackleton, Len. Return of the Clown Prince of Football. GHKN Publishing. pp. 188–9. ISBN 0953824403. 
  5. ^ Robson, Bobby (2005). Bobby Robson: Farewell but not Goodbye My Autobiography. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 294. ISBN 0340840641. 
  6. ^ Scott, Kenneth. "Player Details : John Edward Thompson "Jackie" Milburn". Toon1892. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Statue of Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn relocated". British Broadcasting Corp. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jackie Milburn". Premium TV. 
  9. ^ Charlton, Bobby (2007). Sir Bobby Charlton: The Autobiography My Manchester United Years. Headline. ISBN 9780755316199. 
  10. ^ a b "Wor Jackie saw era of player power coming". icNewcastle.co.uk. 
  11. ^ Denis Clarebrough & Andrew Kirkham (2008). Sheffield United Who's Who. Hallamshire Press. pp. 227–228. ISBN 978-1-874718-69-7. 
  12. ^ Steven (26 January 2012). "The Travelling Fan: Hillingdon Borough vs Tring Athletic (14/01/12)". Thetravellingfan.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Player profile: Alan Shearer". Premier League 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "John W. Mills - Jackie Milburn - 1995 Bronze sculpture". Vilasart.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Family reunited with forgotten Milburn statue". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 

External links[edit]