The Fairs Club
By Jim Vaughn and Bill Gibbs
Tuesday 08 Feb 2011 10:42:00
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Tommy Gibb, aged 65 was born in Bathgate on 13th December 1944.

 

Tommy played for Newcastle United between 1968 and 1977. In all he managed 199 games for the Toon and still holds the club record for 171 consecutive appearances. Tommy managed to net 12 goals for the Toon but will always be remembered for his industrious midfield skills.

 

Tommy began his career in junior football with local club Wallhouse Rose and Bathgate Thistle. Tommy started his professional playing career for Partick Thistle where he managed a total of 111 appearances and scoring 18 goals. Tommy was a valuable signing from Partick Thistle and when he joined the Toon in August 1968, Tommy quickly forced his way into the first team and added the much needed balance to the midfield. Tommy soon found his feet and was to become the ever-present midfielder.

There are many great games that Tommy featured for the Toon but none more important than the second round of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in the 1968-69 season.

The difference between the clubs was Bryan "Pop" Robson - all 5ft 8in of his goal-poaching excellence. The winner he struck in the second leg on Tyneside is regarded by many as one the best ever scored by a Newcastle player in the club's European history.

It is one of Pop Robson’s favourite goals, Tommy Gibb floated a free-kick to the edge of the box, Wyn Davies got his head to the ball, and Pop struck goal with a magnificent volley. This was not just any volley. Robson rose off the ground to connect with the ball, and it screamed through the evening air threatening to rip through the Gallowgate End net. It secured a 1-0 win on a chill November night and a 2-1 success on aggregate.

In the same competition, once again, Tommy produced his midfield magic, and it was a huge scalp for Newcastle and even almost 40 years later I can still remember the goal like it was yesterday. Tommy Gibb shoved the ball inside to Jimmy Scott who struck the ball, 20 yards out and the ball flew into the net. I knew from the minute that it left Jimmy’s boot that it was going to be in the back of the net.

Rangers paid the price for missing a first-leg penalty at Ibrox and when Sinclair doubled Newcastle's lead the away supporters invaded the pitch. It was a huge scalp for Newcastle and even almost 40 years later I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

Following his time with the Magpies, Tommy is amongst 57 other players who have swapped allegiances and joined our arch enemies “The Makems”.

Tommy was in no doubt what crossing the divide would mean in the long run, but he didn’t let the dark warnings deter him from making the switch.

Like many, the classy midfielder swapped black-and-white for red-and-white but he was more than capable and Tommy quickly convinced his skeptical new supporters that he was the real players, player with a series of accomplished displays.

Tommy finalised his playing days with Hartlepool United.

Presentation A.JPGAfter leaving football Tommy had a pub for about ten years in Armadale, West Lothian. When Bill Gibbs traced Tommy on behalf of The Fairs Club, it was done by going to Armadale and sifting through the Electoral roll in Armadale Library! A message was put under Tommy’s door and within days he had contacted Bill. A trip was arranged by The Fairs Club to go to Armadale and meet not only Tommy but Jackie Sinclair and Jim Scott to present them with their retro and modern shirts. Another Scot, John McNamee who the Fairs Club had recently been to see in Workington, was also there.

This year at The Wallsend Lindisfarne Club, Tommy was presented with an award for being the holder of a proud record, that of being an ever present in the Newcastle United side from August 1968 to October 1972...a brilliant total of 171 consecutive games.

 

Tommy started his run with a match at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday...went seasons 1968/69, 1969/70, 1970/71 until in the 13th game of the 1971/72 season at Highbury against Arsenal, he was amazingly left out!!...Irving Nattrass took his place. He was at the Fairs Cup Reunion dinner at St. James’ Park and said he thoroughly enjoyed it. Tommy now walks with the aid of crutches but never lets it get him down and still regales The Fairs Club lads with his stories and his love for Newcastle United!



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