By Peter Mann
Tuesday 15 Jan 2013 14:52:00
Browse all The Fairs Club articles

It seems to be appropriate that, as Newcastle United embark on their first European adventure in five years that the first FAIRS CLUB piece of the new campaign focuses on the last captain to win a trophy, and a European one at that.

Robert ‘Bob’ Moncur was to be born in Perth, Scotland, on 19th January 1945, joining the Magpies as an apprentice professional in the October of 1960, as a raw 15 year old. By the time he would leave the club, for rivals Sunderland, some fourteen years later, he had become a decorated legend in winning a number of trophies, including that of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the Second Division League Championship. Whilst on Tyneside, Moncur would captain both club and country, making his debut for Scotland against Holland in May 1968, and scoring important goals for his beloved Newcastle United.

Moncur’s Magpie career began with a bang, leading his new club to success in the FA Youth Cup of 1962, defeating that of Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 on aggregate. In the second leg at home, in front of a 20588 crowd, Moncur scored the winning goal with the tie level.

The full debut for a now 18 year old would arrive towards the end of the 1962-63 season, at home to Luton Town, in a Second Division match. This was in the March of 1963, United winning the game 3-2 with goals from Fell, Thomas and Suddick.

Between his full debut and the end of the Second Division Championship season, Moncur would make less than twenty appearances. However, he had done enough to establish himself at the heart of the defence going into the First Division, the year England won the World Cup. He would make some 23 appearances that season, and a further 25 the following, but he was fast becoming a central defender to be reckoned with, but he was still waiting to score his first goal for the club. That would come in the most special of circumstances. 

When the 1967-68 season came around Moncur had replaced Jim Iley as captain and had led the club to a tenth place finish, making 35 appearances. Not only that, but the league finish meant that club would be entering Europe for the first time in their history. The season when all the wildest dreams came true, clubs over the continent falling by the wayside. The dozen matches United played would see the following – Feyenoord (4-2 on aggregate), Sporting Lisbon (2-1 agg), Real Zaragoza (4-4 agg, won away goals), Vitoria Setubal (6-4 agg), Glasgow Rangers (2-0 agg), and Ujpesti Dosza (6-2 agg). Captain Moncur led United in all but two, not appearing in either leg of United’s European bow against the Dutch in September 1968. In fact Moncur’s first match of the season would be the 4-2 away win at Nottingham Forest in mid-October.

The coup de grace for United and Moncur arrived in the finale of a mammoth 59 match season (club record). Against the Hungarians Ujpesti, Moncur rose to the occasion in style. First he set United on the road to glory with the opening goals in a 3-0 first leg success; the first a volley into the far corner of the goal past Szentmihalyi and ten minutes later netting after an exchange with Benny Arentoft. Then, whilst away and two goals down at the break, Moncur raised hopes on Tyneside with his third of the tie, crashing a loose ball home.  Two further goals sealed the trophy and Moncur, who hadn’t scored for the club, had grabbed a final hat-trick. The game was to be his 43rd of the season, a total he would eclipse four times in the next five seasons. 

Defending the trophy Moncur would make a century of appearances the following season, only missing the matches in mid-March against West Brom and Stoke. United would reach the quarter-final of the Fairs Cup. Moncur’s next goal though would not arrive until the home match against Internazionale Milano in the 1970-71 Fairs Cup campaign.

Moncur also led the club to back to back semi-finals in the Texaco Cup then won it in his last season at the club, scoring the winner in the final against Burnley. Moncur also won the 1973 Anglo-Italian Cup and in his final season, not only was there the Texaco Cup success but Moncur’s last appearance for the club would be in the FA Cup final defeat against Liverpool. That was to be his 361st appearance for United.

Succeeded by Frank Clark, Moncur would move up the road to Sunderland for two years (1974-76) before brief spells in management, including finishing at Hartlepool United. 


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