Cult Hero 03: Bob Newton

Cult Hero 03: Bob Newton

We profile Bob Newton, a burly striker, a one season wonder and idol of the terraces.


Bob Newton in action

Name: Bob (Bob) Newton
Cult qualifications (lots): Terrace hero, one season wonder, beer gut, sense of humour
Time at Vale: 1982-1983
Appearances: 51
Goals: 24

Welcome to 1982, a world away from today’s cultured football world.

Lower league footballers are not style icons, they don’t use hair gel, gloves or lycra. This is a game played by the sort of man you might have a chat with down the local boozer.

Bob Newton was such a man.

Sporting a beer belly, he was a striker for whom the word ‘burly’ could have been invented.

He also had a reputation. Phil Sproson, who played with him, said of the striker: “he was as daft as a brush off the pitch but like Ron Futcher (Total Cult number one) he was a psychopath on it.”

Newton was signed from Hartlepool for £15,000 in September 1982 and he turned out to be the key figure as Vale gained promotion from the 4th Division in 1983.

Newton was a constant in the team as, fed by cross after cross by the often unplayable winger Steve Fox, he finished top scorer with 21 goals. The striker, gap toothed, lank haired and with prominent belly on display, was the idol of the terraces.

newtonBob Newton was indeed the ‘idol of the terraces’
Phil Sproson recalls a typical Newton incident in Jeff Kent’s book “Port Vale Tales.” In a game against Chester in 1982, John Rudge had told the team that the opposition full-back had a long throw, which could pose a threat. Sproson says that Newton “went careering into him like a bull at a gate. This lad went spinning like a top and had to be taken off. Bob went trotting past the dugout and said ‘He won’t be taking any more long throw-ins, will he?’”

He didn’t look like an athlete but, like Micky Quinn; a striker of similar build and athleticism, he had the happy knack of knowing where the goal was.

After the promotion celebrations, Newton appeared to struggle at the higher level (although he had still netted four times in nine games) and in October he was sold to Chesterfield in an exchange deal with Martin Henderson.

But the far less charismatic Henderson proved to be even more shot-shy. Many fans mourned the departure of the charismatic Newton, but his short stay nevertheless guaranteed him a place in our cult hall of fame.

Newton went on to spells at Stockport County, Bristol Rovers, Shepsted Charterhouse, Evogaras Paphos (Cyprus), Laisun (Hong Kong) and non-league football in Chesterfield.

He clearly loves hometown club Chesterfield and has contributed funds to the Chesterfield Football Supporters Club. Until recently, he was a long-distance lorry driver and probably reflecting on how much football has changed since his single glory season with the Vale.

Sources: Port Vale Tales – Jeff Kent, Wikipedia, Hartlepool Mail, Chesterfield official website

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