Leeds United nostalgia: Newsome has happy memories of the Lane

Jon Newsome.
Jon Newsome.
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FOR JON Newsome, seasonal cameos did not get much sweeter than his contribution in that unforgettable 1991-92 campaign.

The Sheffielder played seven league matches as Leeds United secured the big prize of the Division One title for the first time since 1973-74, but in minds eye, he is still able to recollect plenty after filling in for another right-back raised in the Steel City in Mel Sterland, injured during the run-in back in spring 1992.

To be a young professional as the likes of Newsome, the late Gary Speed and David Batty were during those magic days, playing alongside seasoned pros such as Gordon Strachan, wassomething that money can’t buy.

Newsome, who celebrated his 44th birthday on Saturday, was one of four Sheffield-born players in that championship-winning side, the others alongside him and Sterland being David Wetherall and Carl Shutt, with the man orchestrating matter from the dug-out another from the city in Howard Wilkinson.

At 21, it was a coming-of-age time on the pitch for Newsome, who moved to Leeds along with Sheffield Wednesday team-mate Wetherall in mid-1991.

Keeping on the Sheffield theme, it was his goalscoring contribution on that famous windswept spring afternoon at Bramall Lane on April 26, 1992 when his 65th-minute header following Gary McAllister’s free-kick went into the net which many Leeds fans will identify with when discussing his contribution to that treasured title success.

That put Leeds 2-1 up and while the Blades soon equalised with a Lee Chapman own goal, home captain Brian Gayle eventually put through his own net as well to seal a 3-2 win for the visitors, with the party beginning later on when Manchester United lost at Anfield.

Newsome said: “Sheffield United was a massive game for us. Secondly, it was a big one for me, being a Sheffield lad and going to Bramall Lane. A lot of my family were there and it was a big, big game – although a bizarre one, really.

“We came through it and I’ll always remember scoring.

“I’d actually picked up a bit of a knee injury when I first joined Leeds and the physios didn’t know what it was.

“That sort of dragged on for two or three months and I only got fit around Christmas time and luckily enough, I got the opportunity to play a few games at the back end of the season, which was fantastic.

“The pressure was on Man United, absolutely. They’d not won the title for 20-odd years or something stupid and they felt the heat and we cashed in.”

That title success proved the highlight at United for Newsome, who was sold to Norwich City for a then club record £1m in June 1994, going onto become Canaries captain during a rewarding stint in Norfolk.

Newsome later returned to first club Wednesday, moving for £1.6m in March 1996, but was forced to retire prematurely from the game at just 29 due to a knee injury in May 2000.

He worked as an academy coach at Hillsborough before moving to Grimsby, where he was also on the coaching staff.

A spell managing non-league Gresley Rovers followed, with Newsome later making a career change to work in the motor trade in his native Sheffield.

Chris Wood controls a high ball against Fulham at Elland Road on Tuesday night. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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