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Football and the First World War

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Hughie Gallacher

Hughie Gallacher stood barely 5ft. 6in tall, but his pace, amazing dribbling skills and eye for goal made him one of the best centre-forwards of all time. 

Gallacher was born in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire in 1903. In 1920, he signed his first professional terms with Queen of the South but within a year he transferred to Airdrieonians  where he inspired the tiny Lanarkshire outfit to three Scottish League runner-up positions and a Scottish Cup in four seasons.

He was tempted south of the border in 1926, joining Newcastle United for 5,500.  He quickly established himself as an idol on Tyneside after inspiring Newcastle to the championship in 1926-27, his first full season at the club.  He scored 36 goals in 38 games during the campaign which remains a club record. In all he scored 387 goals in 541 League games. Gallacher was one of the key figures in the Wembley Wizard side that hammered England in 1928.  He won 23 caps for Scotland in all, scoring 22 goals. 

He left Tyneside in 1930, joining Chelsea for five seasons, before ending his career with a series of one year spells at Derby County, Notts County, Grimsby Town and Gateshead.  Gallacher was always a hot-headed character who was vocal in his criticism of less talented colleagues  His private life was no less turbulent, and was in straitened circumstances when he threw himself under a train in 1957.