Frank Watt (football manager)

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Frank Watt was the first unofficial manager of Newcastle United Football Club. A former referee, Watt was appointed secretary in December 1895 and held the position until 1935. He did not control the team's selection, so technically he was not the manager. Newcastle’s first official manager was Andy Cunningham in 1930. Before this the club was run by a committee, overseen by the club secretary. The modern manager role was unheard of. Watt was also a member of the committee that owned the club at the time. He was very influential, referred to as "The Guv'nor". He was a portly figure with a handlebar moustache.

A Scotsman, Watt's first involvement in football came with the 3rd E.R.V. club in Edinburgh, the precursor of the former league side St Bernard's, where he combined his playing role with that of club secretary. He was later appointed secretary of the Edinburgh (later East of Scotland) Football Association before leaving for Tyneside.[1]

During his time at Newcastle, the club won the old First Division four times, in 1905, 1907, 1909 and 1927. They won the FA Cup three times, in 1910, 1924 and (with Andy Cunningham as official manager) 1932 and were finalists on 4 occasions, in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911.

Watt had great ambitions for Newcastle. Upon arrival he declared "We’re going to be the best team in the country." The Edwardian Newcastle side dominated the league with a side assembled entirely by Watt, who also signed players such as Hughie Gallacher, Colin Veitch and Stan Seymour throughout his 37 years at the club, players who are still considered legends today. However, he initially turned down Stan Seymour, explaining that the future Mr. Newcastle was “too small to play football”.


  1. ^ St.Bernard's Part 1 Archived January 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.