Riccarton, Ayrshire born left half Jock Finlay started his professional football career with Kilmarnock Shawbank in 1901 and spent time on the books of Glasgow Rangers in 1903 before he moved to Airdrieonians the following year, where he soon established a reputation as a reliable performer and was awarded a Scottish League cap against The Irish League, playing in a 2-1 victory in Belfast in February 1909. He joined Newcastle United for £775 in May 1909, at the time Newcastle were much the dominant team in English football, making his Football League debut at Blackburn Rovers in September 1909, but he couldn’t force his way into starting regularly for Newcastle, who won the FA Cup without him in his first season. By the time the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in 1915, he had played only 77 matches in six seasons at St James’ Park, scoring a brace in a 4-1 win at Notts County in March 1912.
He continued to play for Newcastle both sides of the War, and indeed started 1919-20 as a regular in The Toon’s first eleven, making a career best 37 appearances that season, and he was in their team far more often in the first two seasons after the War, appearing 29 times in their 1920-21 campaign before returning to the fringes for his final seasons at the club. He played his last game for Newcastle United in April 1924, already aged 41, before his playing retirement in 1927, having scored 8 times for them in total of 161 appearances. He then became Newcastle’s assistant trainer before leaving the post in 1930.