He captained Newcastle United during one of the club’s most successful periods, and now former star Colin Veitch will be permanently remembered in the city.
Mr Veitch, who led the team to three league championships and five FA Cup finals in the early 1900s, has had his contribution to the local area honoured in the form of a memorial plaque outside the Heaton home he shared with his wife.
The versatile player – said to be able to play in almost every position – died in 1938. But his memory will live on in the city thanks to the city council plaque unveiled yesterday on the side of the house at 1 Stratford Villas – now owned by Keith and Sam Smith, who have two sons, Louis and Jack.
Keith said: “I didn’t know anything about him when I bought the house and it wasn’t until we were approached by the Heaton History Group that we found out about him.”
Descendants of Mr Veitch, who still live in the East End, came along to the event which they said was a very proud moment.
Janet Keighley, his great niece, said: “It’s a great honour for the family. My father was very close to him and he would have been very proud.”
Born in Heaton in 1881, the player was a gifted scholar as well as a footballer. He eventually became a Newcastle first-team regular, leading the team through one of its most successful periods from 1905 to 1911.
Off the pitch he was an active member of the players’ union, co-founding the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Away from football, Mr Veitch also co-founded the People’s Theatre in the city in 1911 and was also an accomplished playwright, composer and conductor, as well as working as a journalist for the Evening Chronicle – a role which saw him banned from the St James’ Park press box in 1929.
In 1938 he contracted pneumonia and died aged 57 in Bern, Switzerland, while on a recuperation trip. The official unveiling of the plaque was taken on by much-loved former United star Bob Moncur, Mayor of Newcastle Margaret Wood, and author Chris Goulding.
Mr Moncur said: “Colin played just about every position for Newcastle and was lauded as a master of his job.
“He captained the team in 1905, 1907 and 1909, and he lifted the FA Cup in 1910. What the present-day fan or player would give for that record.”
The nomination, and funding of the plaque, was driven by the community with Heaton History Group playing an leading role in the campaign. Donations were also made by the PFA, the current owners of 1 Stratford Villas and author Mr Goulding, who is an expert on the star.