Harris Neil Image 6 Newcastle United 1924

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Description

Tollcross, Edinburgh born centre forward Neil Harris started his football career with Vale of Clyde in 1912 and played for seven years for Partick Thistle from 1913. During the First World War he also guested for Kilmarnock and Rangers in 1916, Harris scoring the only goal in a win over Queen’s Park on his only appearance for Rangers in April 1916, and for St Mirren, for whom he scored 7 goals in 5 appearances in September and October 1917 before returning to Partick Thistle, as well as guesting for Distillery and Fulham, before joining First Division Newcastle United for £3,300 in May 1920.

He made his Football League debut against West Bromwich Albion that August, scoring his first goal four days later at Everton, and he scored 19 goals in his debut season, top scoring for Newcastle during the campaign. He also top scored for Newcastle in 1921-22, when he scored his first hat-trick for The Toon in a 5-1 win over Blackburn Rovers in March 1922, and in 1923-24 with 23 goals each season, and in 1924-25 with 20 goals, a total that included hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Birmingham.

In all he scored 101 goals in 194 games over five years with The Magpies, the most important of which, the winning goal, came in the 83rd minute of their April 1924 FA Cup Final win over Aston Villa in a season that also saw him capped for Scotland against England, also at Wembley two weeks earlier. Harris scored 8 other goals in their FA Cup run including a hat-trick in a 5-3 third replay win over Derby County in  the Second Round, and both goals in their semi-final win over Manchester City at St Andrews, Birmingham.

Harris joined Notts County for £3,000 in November 1925 scoring 25 goals in 52 games, including all four goals in a 4-1 win over Arsenal on Boxing Day 1925, joint top scoring for The Magpies with 16 goals in 1926-27, then after a brief spell in Ireland with Shelbourne he joined Oldham Athletic in the summer of 1927, where a further 16 goals followed in 40 games, a total that included a hat-trick against Hull City in May 1928. He returned to Scotland with Third Lanark in March 1929 before accepting the position of player-manager at Burton Town in 1931. He subsequently became manager of Belfast Distillery in May 1932, of Swansea Town from June 1934 to May 1939, and of Swindon Town from then until July 1941.

His older brother, Joshua “Jack” Harris, played for Burnley, Bristol City, Leeds United and Fulham. His son, John Harris, played for him at Swansea Town and then played for Chelsea for many years after the Second World War and later managed Sheffield United.

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