Glasgow born goalkeeper Jimmy Lawrence is a Newcastle United legend playing for them between 1904 and 1921. Lawrence’s first club was Partick Athletic in 1901, from where he moved to Glasgow Perthshire. Although still connected to Glasgow Perthshire, with whom he represented Scotland juniors, he sporadically played for Edinburgh side Hibernian when their regular custodian Harry Rennie was unavailable, making 3 first team appearances.
After joining Newcastle United in July 1904 he made his Football League debut against Manchester City in October 1904, immediately making the gloves his own and winning the League Championship in his debut season. Lawrence played for The Toon for 18 years throughout their halcyon period and still holds the record for making the most appearances for Newcastle United with 498 matches in total, despite losing four seasons to the First World War. With Newcastle he won the Football League Championship in 1905, 1907 and 1909, and the FA Cup in 1910, being in Newcastle’s goal as they were four times FA Cup runners up in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911.
In April 1911 he played for Scotland against England in a British Home Championship match at Goodison Park, a match Scotland drew 1-1. By the time of his last appearance for Newcastle United in April 1922 he was 43, which makes him Newcastle’s oldest ever first team player, beating the record of Billy Hampson. He was ever present for Newcastle in three campaigns, and it was only when Bill Bradley challenged him for the gloves after the First World War, actually making more appearances than Lawrence in 1919-20, that he eventually found himself under pressure, albeit that his penultimate season, 1920-21 which saw Newcastle finish fifth in the League Championship, was an ever present one.
Lawrence showed an aptitude for administration when Chairman of The Players’ Union in his later days at Newcastle and after his playing retirement Lawrence moved into management. His first appointment was with then Second Division side South Shields in May 1922 but he was dismissed in January 1923, before joining Preston North End in February 1923. He stayed with The Lilywhites until April 1925, after which he moved to Germany to manage Karlsruhe that August. With Karlsruhe he won the regional championships of Württemberg/Baden in 1926 and of Baden in 1928, 1929 and 1931 which qualified the club to participate in the German football championship. Lawrence later returned to Scotland and in 1933 was elected Chairman of Stranraer. He died of heart disease a year later, not yet 50 years old.
This superb image was published on a postcard published before the 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:
Back Row – Andy Aitken, Billy McCracken, Bert Gosnell, Jimmy Howie, Jock Rutherford
Middle Row – Andy McCombie, Peter McWilliam, Ronald Orr
Front Row – Jimmy Lawrence, Jack Carr, Colin Veitch
In reality Billy McCracken, who played some of the games in April 1905 and was still a young player, and Ronald Orr didn’t play in the Final, Alec Gardner and Bill Appleyard, both not pictured, played. Regardless, it’s a beautiful image.
A similar postcard of the Aston Villa team was also published.