Obituary: Keith Newton - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent

Obituary: Keith Newton

KEITH NEWTON was a distinguished, if somewhat underrated, component of one of England's finest international football teams. Indeed, there is no shortage of shrewd contemporary observers who would place the side which he graced as a stylish full-back, and which was eliminated so dramatically by West Germany from the 1970 World Cup, ahead of the more famous combination which had lifted the Jules Rimet trophy four years earlier.

In defensive mode, the tall, sparely built Mancunian was a study in quiet efficiency, an expert tackler, effective in the air and adept at intelligent interceptions, but it was his capacity for attack which illustrated his quality most vividly. At his peak he was renowned as a raiding overlapper, virtually doubling as a winger at a time when those entertaining worthies were sadly out of fashion, and no one deployed him more effectively than the England manager Sir Alf Ramsey.

Newton is best remembered for what might have been a decisive contribution on a fateful day in Leon, Mexico, in 1970, when England faced the Germans in a World Cup quarter-final. Galloping unstoppably down the right flank, he set up memorable goals for Alan Mullery and Martin Peters, putting his side into a seemingly unassailable position.

However, Gerd Muller and company fought back with astonishing resilience to score three times, thus dumping the holders out of the tournament. Though he was only 28 and playing for the reigning League Champions, Everton, Newton was never to represent his country again. Instead he was supplanted by a succession of younger men, as Ramsey planned for what proved to be a traumatic future, with England failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup finals and Ramsey being sacked.

Newton began his career with Blackburn Rovers, who had spotted him as a skilful but rather ungainly inside- forward in Manchester junior football. Soon after his arrival at Ewood Park he was converted into a centre-half, a role in which he excelled as he helped Rovers to win the FA Youth Cup in 1959. Clearly a professional future was beckoning for the talented youngster, but Blackburn already had a gifted rookie stopper in Mike England, and when Newton made his senior debut in September 1960, in an old First Division encounter with Chelsea, it was at left-half. Thereafter he moved to left-back, where he established a regular place in 1961/62 before switching to the right flank in mid-decade and graduating to England's under-23 team in that position.

For several seasons Newton was an integral part of a vibrant Blackburn team, in which Bryan Douglas, Ronnie Clayton and Mike England were outstanding, and he was a major factor in an enterprising title challenge in 1963-64. But impetus was lost as the infinitely richer Manchester and Liverpool clubs gained an influence following the abolition of the maximum wage for footballers, and Rovers were relegated in 1966.

In the circumstances it seemed inevitable that the classy Newton would join a more fashionable club, especially as he had stepped up to full international status, winning the first of his 27 caps against West Germany at Wembley in the February before that demoralising demotion. However, despite frequent rumours of a transfer - notably to Nottingham Forest - he soldiered on in the Second Division until December 1969, when he was sold to the high- riding Everton for pounds 80,000.

In that he helped his new employers to lift that season's League Championship, despite missing the title run-in through injury, it proved an admirable career move. Also, it did nothing to harm his England prospects, the higher profile helping to cement his place for the 1970 World Cup tournament. But the anticipated lengthy spell at Goodison never materialised, due mainly to a difference of opinion with the Everton manager Harry Catterick over Newton's style of play. Newton was a cool, cultured performer who preferred passing his way out of difficult situations rather than employing the time-honoured safety-first method of hoofing the ball upfield. While Catterick was by no means a slave to the long-ball game and put a high value on technique, he felt that the full-back dwelt too long in possession on occasions, and something of a rift developed.

Possibly as a result, Newton's form became patchy, he found himself in and out of the team at a time when he should have been in his prime, and he was freed to join Burnley in June 1972. The Clarets were delighted with what they saw as a windfall and Newton justified their reaction by shining as they clinched the Second Division Championship at the end of his first Turf Moor campaign. He went on to complete six years of sterling service for the club before retiring in 1978, not long before his 37th birthday.

Thereafter Newton, an unassuming fellow whom team-mates revered for his patience and affability, sampled the non-League scene with More- cambe and Clitheroe, whom he managed briefly. After leaving the game he worked in the motor trade in Blackburn.

Keith Robert Newton, footballer: born Manchester 23 June 1941; played for Blackburn Rovers 1958-69, Everton 1969-72, Burnley 1972-78; capped 27 times by England 1966-70; married (one son); died Blackburn, Lancashire 16 June 1998.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Arts and Entertainment
Queen Christina left the judges baffled with her audition
X Factor
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week