Obituary: Terry Hibbitt

Terence Hibbitt, footballer: born Bradford, Yorkshire 1 December 1947, played Leeds United 1965-71, Newcastle United 1971-75 and 1978-81, Birmingham City 1975-78; Manager, Gateshead 1986-87; died Newcastle upon Tyne 4 August 1994.

TERRY HIBBITT was a footballer of wily, often beguiling artistry. At his peak in the early and middle 1970s, during the first of two spells with Newcastle United, the slender little midfield general was beloved of the passionate Tyneside fans. They hailed him for the immaculate, imaginative service he provided for his goalscoring cult rival Malcolm Macdonald, and warmed to him for his perky, plucky demeanour. Occasionally his name would be mentioned as an England possible but international recognition never materialised, even at a time when a number of less talented individuals were being honoured by their country.

The Yorkshireman Hibbitt entered the professional game as a school-leaver, joining Leeds United in the season after Don Revie had led the Elland Road club to promotion from the Second Division. For the next 10 years Leeds were a mighty power in the land, and the opportunity was there for the gifted Hibbitt to excel. But such were the playing riches at Revie's disposal that the Bradford-born left-footer could never claim a regular place, understandably being unable to oust Eddie Gray from his flank role or Johnny Giles from his berth as chief play-maker.

Uncowed by the situation - he was known to venture an impudent rejoinder to his magisterial manager, something no one else would dare - Hibbitt battled on as a classy reserve. However, after scoring with his first kick of his first senior match in 1966, he started fewer than 50 games over the next five years, and though he helped Leeds lift the Intercities Fairs Cup (now the UEFA Cup) in 1968, he missed out on their other triumphs.

Clearly he needed a change and in August 1971 a pounds 30,000 transfer took him to Newcastle, where he fulfilled his potential at last. Hibbitt made his Magpies debut on the same day as Macdonald and immediately the two men struck up a rapport. The schemer's sweeping, perceptive passing offered ready ammunition for the explosive 'Supermac' to fire and the upshot was half a decade of memorably exhilarating entertainment.

Together they starred in Newcastle's progress to the 1974 FA Cup Final, being especially irresistible in the semi-final victory over Burnley, only for the big day at Wembley to bring bitter disappointment. In one of the most one- sided finals of modern times, they were outclassed 3-0 by Liverpool, though it is significant that the match was still goalless when Hibbitt's mobility was reduced drastically by a wrenched knee just before the interval. Until then he had represented United's most likely hope of upsetting the rampant Merseysiders.

After missing much of the subsequent term through injury, Hibbitt joined Birmingham City for pounds 100,000 in August 1975 and gave the Blues, then in the First Division, three years of admirable service before returning to Newcastle in an exchange deal involving the winger Stewart Barrowclough.

Now, though fractionally past his peak, the mature midfielder resumed effectively as the brains of the Magpies' attack and became captain. But in the summer of 1981 he was forced by knee problems to retire from top-grade football. He remained close to the game, though, and made a brief comeback as player-coach with non- League Gateshead in 1986, while making his living as a newsagent in Newcastle.

Hibbitt will be remembered as a player of subtlety and skill who, on his day, was a pure pleasure to watch.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent