Bob Newton (footballer)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

RobertBobNewton (born 23 November 1956) is an English footballer. Newton played as a striker for several clubs in the lower divisions of the Football League during the 1970s and ’80s. He is most notable for his first five-year spell at Hartlepool United between 1977 and 1982, where he wrote himself into club history with his 48 goals in 150 league games. Popular with Hartlepool supporters, he was later voted as the club’s ‚Player of the 1980s‘.

Newton began his career at Huddersfield Town with the „Terriers“ in 1973–74. Newton was named most valuable player in a world youth competition at 17, but suffered two severe injuries that took him off the field for more than two years. He spent four years at Huddersfield and left to join Hartlepool United in mid-1977. He scored eight goals for Hartlepool in his debut season, including both goals in the club’s shock 2–1 victory against Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup.

Off the field, Newton has had two car accidents, including one in 1978 in which his passenger, teammate Dave Wiggett, was fatally injured; he was sentenced to nine months in prison in 1979 after being found Guilty of causing death by reckless driving. After the incident he moved to the United States, playing for the New England/Jacksonville Tea Men in the North American Soccer League in 1980 and 1981.

Newton returned to English football and was well received by fans at the Victoria Ground, and for three years formed a strike partnership with teammate Keith Houchen. In 1981–82, Newton and Houchen each had 18 goals and were Hartlepool’s top scorers with Newton scoring a total of sixty goals with Hartlepool.

In September 1982, Newton was transferred to Port Vale, where he went on to become the team’s top scorer with 22 goals, while the club achieved promotion to Division Three. „Valiants“ manager John McGrath nicknamed Newton and strike partner Ernie Moss as the „Kray twins“ due to their dominance of opposition defenders. The following season, he joined his hometown club Chesterfield. Newton spent two seasons at Saltergate and topped the Spireites‘ goalscoring chart in both seasons. After leaving Chesterfield Newton returned to Hartlepool in the summer of 1985.

„We were quite a big, physical team and, in Bob Newton, had this barrel-chested striker who just loved a battle with the opposition centre-halves. I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that his game was less about finesse and more about blundering the ball into the net – taking the goalkeeper with it if necessary. Don’t get me wrong, Bob was a good player, as his 24 goals in 51 appearances suggests. Besides, I had reason to be grateful for his fearsome reputation. When I broke into the team as a naive teenager, any defender who tried to kick lumps out of me would soon get a warning from Bob. He was a cult hero with supporters who loved to see him score goals, and bully defenders. He would sometimes take his false front tooth out to make him look more ferocious. There was nothing underhand or sneaky about his game. All the crowd could see when he was going to put a full-back into the Railway Stand.“

After his return to Hartlepool, Newton scored two goals in 11 matches before being loaned to Stockport County and subsequently released. He finished his Football League career with the Bristol Rovers in 1987, before joining Shepsed Charterhouse. He then played for the Cyprus based AEP Paphos and Hong Kong’s Laisun team before returning to England and joining the Chesterfield based KSPO team.

He later played for several non-league clubs, including Goole Town, Boston United and Alfreton Town.[citation needed]

Since retiring, Newton has been involved in various charity causes. He also worked as a lorry driver before he was caught drink driving and handed a 12-month driving ban in December 2007.