We’re Football Crazy! We’re Football Mad!

25th October 2020

Can you remember the last time Newcastle United won a trophy? It’s been some time. In fact it’s been 51 years since they won the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, 6 goals to 2, against Újpest FC of Hungary. What’s that got to do with freemasonry you may ask? Well allow us to let you into a little known secret.

At the time the team was being managed by a former player by the name of Joe Harvey. Joe began his playing career, in 1936, with Wolverhampton Wanderers, subsequently playing for Bournemouth AFC, Bradford City, Aberdeen and Dundee Utd, ending up playing for Newcastle United from October 1945 to May 1953, when he retired.On retiring Joe began to learn his trade as a coach and led Crook Town to a 1 goal to nil victory against their rivals Bishop Auckland in the FA Amateur Cup, before taking over at Newcastle in 1961.

Joe finally resigned from Newcastle United at the end of the 1974 to 1975 season due to pressure from supporters. Yes, so what has this got to do with freemasonry I hear you ask again (impatiently)!!! All of this is well documented in the Toon Army history books. At the age of 31, and still a professional footballer with Newcastle United, Joe was balloted for initiation at the September meeting of the now erased Progress Lodge No.5783, which met at the Brighton Assembly Rooms on Westgate Road. He was Initiated on 21st November 1951, passed to the 2nd Degree on 19th March 1952 and raised to the 3rd Degree on 19th November 1953. He didn’t go through the Chair but remained a member for almost 22 years before resigning in September 1973.

It appears that he was a member of the lodge for almost the entire duration that he was Manager of Newcastle United and included when Newcastle won their last trophy, the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969. So reader your question is answered. That is what our little history lesson has to do with freemasonry.

Thanks for this article go to Mr Ken Shortt and W.Bro Stuart Cairns. If you have a story, event or news item you would like to have published on the Provincial website, please get in touch with our Comms Team at news@northumberlandmasons.org.uk