Leith, Midlothian born right half Alec Gardner was a stalwart of the great Newcastle era in the first decade of the 20th century, having started his football career with local junior club Leith Ivanhoe in 1896 before moving to Scottish League Leith Athletic in 1897. He joined First Division Newcastle United in November 1899 making his Football League debut the same month against Preston North End, and was a first team regular all the way through to October 1908.
During that time he was three times a losing FA Cup Finalist in 1905, 1906 and 1908 when they lost to Aston Villa, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively, but he was also three times a League Champion, winning medals in their 1904-05, 1906-07 and 1908-09 triumphs. He also became Newcastle’s club captain. In 1907 he was described as “very prominent in his tackling, (he) is clever at heading and a good shot”. By the time he played his last match for The Toon in February 1909 he had scored 26 goals in 314 appearances. He joined non league Blyth Spartans in 1911.
NB This photograph was taken before the 1905 FA Cup Final at The Crystal Palace on 15th April 1905, which Newcastle United lost 2-0 to Aston Villa, with both goals scored in either half by Harry Hampton. This was to be the first of four FA Cup Final appearances in 6 years, although they only managed to win it in 1910.
The team line up, from left to right, is:
John McPherson (trainer)
Frank Watt (secretary-manager)