Hugh Kilpatrick Gallacher was born in the West of Scotland in 1903. One of his school friends was another great Scottish player, Alex James. Hughie started work as a coal miner aged 15, but escaped into a career in professional football with Queen of the South. From 1921 to 1925 he played for Airdrieonians. Small but brave, he was a born goalscorer. Many English clubs wanted to buy him.
In 1925, Hughie Gallacher signed for Newcastle United and became an iconic player and captain. Newcastle won the league title in 1927. In his time at Newcastle he scored 123 goals. In 1928, Gallacher and Alex James led Scotland’s “Wembley Wizards” to a famous 5-1 victory over England. He then moved to Chelsea, where he played till 1934. His career then faded away, with transfers to smaller clubs. He retired in 1939, when football was interrupted by the Second World War.
Hughie Gallacher’s personal life was troubled and ended badly. His first marriage ended in scandal when he had an affair with the daughter of the landlord of his favourite pub. Gallacher was also a heavy drinker. When he retired, he had no savings and no stable job. The drinking got worse. His second wife died. In 1957, he was charged with assaulting his own son. His mind was disturbed. He took his own life by walking into the path of an express train.
Hughie Gallacher was a legendary goal scorer for Newcastle United and several other teams. He was one of the “Wembley Wizards” who took Scotland to a historic win over England in 1928. Educators could look at the life story of Hughie Gallacher and work with young people to consider these questions:
- Why did his troubled personal life end in poverty and obscurity?
- What is the responsibility of football clubs with respect to the young men who attract huge crowds to support their team?
Hughie Gallacher, 1926 (Photo: Queen of the South).
LIFE STORIES To discover now
Do you wanna know more?
HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS
Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.
Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.
Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.
In the wake of the 2015 migration peak, activists and volunteers across Europe have been involved in supporting refugees, sometimes with the simple act of offering space and friendship to participate in football through grassroots clubs to help newcomers integrate.
BBC Sport’s Football Focus visits Bundesliga side FC Union Berlin, a “rebellious” football club from East Berlin with a special set of fans, playing their first season in Germany’s top flight 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
LATEST POST You may also be interested in
Today in 1964, a football match was organised between Yugoslavia and a UEFA team “Rest of Europe”.
This article is the result of a webinar series from EuroClio which tackled football and social issues to explore how football history and society intertwine.
The online racism following the European Championship finals, after a year of unprecedented activism against it, shows how much work remains.
Today in 1944 football was played in the concentration camp Tezerin. What does this propaganda footage tell us about the Holocaust?