Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne born centre half Colin Veitch became the first captain of Newcastle Schools in 1895 and while studying at Rutherford College he appeared for the College team in 1896, regarded at the time as one of the finest amateur teams in North East England, where he attracted the attention of Newcastle United. At first he signed for Newcastle as an amateur before turning professional in April 1899, making his Football League debut in a First Division match against Wolverhampton Wanderers that October, his only appearance for Newcastle in the 19th century. With the 20th century’s arrival, things initially did not progress quickly, he again made only one appearance for the first team in 1900-01, and a dozen appearances from the end of 1901 as Newcastle finished 3rd in the League Championship in 1901-02. During the second half of the 1902-03 season, Veitch started to feature more regularly, and made club captain soon thereafter, he led Newcastle to all of their great Edwardian triumphs (and disasters) between 1905 and 1911.
He captained Newcastle United, scoring 10 League goals, as they won their first League Championship in 1904-05, and led the team to within a match of The Double, only to be beaten by Aston Villa in the 1905 FA Cup Final at The Crystal Palace. In 1906 they were back in the FA Cup Final, where they were beaten by Everton, but the next season they again won The League Championship in 1906-07 before returning to the FA Cup Final in 1908, where for the third time in four years they were beaten, this time by 3 goals to one in a shock against Second Division Wolverhampton Wanderers. Once again they responded by winning the League Championship in 1908-09, getting to the 1909 FA Cup semi final where they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Manchester United at Bramall Lane.
Veitch was first capped for England in a 5-0 win over Ireland at The Solitude, Belfast, in February 1906 and went on to win a further five caps, as well as being a non playing reserve twice, through to March 1909. He also represented The Football League on four occasions.
He finally got his hands on the elusive FA Cup in 1910. The first match against Second Division Barnsley was drawn 1-1 at The Crystal Palace before Newcastle triumphed 2-0 in the replay at Goodison Park with a pair of second half Albert Shepherd goals. They were strong favourites to retain the FA Cup in 1911, but they again lost in the Final after a replay to underdogs Bradford City. The first match at The Crystal Palace finished 0-0 but The Bantams prevailed in the replay at Old Trafford four days later. The end of the season marked Veitch’s end as a regular in the Newcastle first team, and over the final four seasons before the suspension of peacetime football due to the outbreak of the First World War he added only 25 appearances to finish his career for The Magpies having scored 49 goals in 322 matches for the club, playing his last match in a home defeat to (would be champions) Everton in September 1914.
During the First World War he served as an army officer with the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery. After the War, he returned to St James’ Park to become a coach, and in 1924 formed the junior side, Newcastle Swifts, the pioneers of the current Newcastle United juniors system. Veitch was sacked in 1926, ending a 26-year association with United. In August 1926, Veitch was appointed manager of Bradford City. In his first season the club was relegated to Division Three (North). The following season City recorded their then record victory, 9-1 over Nelson, and were mounting a promotion challenge. But in January 1927 Veitch resigned, deciding that football management was not for him. He was also the PFA’s chairman for a number of years.
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.