|Full Name:||Willie McFaul|
|Date of Birth:||01-Oct-1943|
|Place of Birth:||Coleraine, Northern Ireland|
Willie (or Iam) McFaul must have made an outstanding impression on Newcastle manager Joe Harvey, as he paid Linfield £7,000 for a young Irishman who had just conceded seven goals in a friendly against The Magpies. Willie made his debut for Newcastle in a 2-0 defeat at St James Park against Liverpool in November 1966 and spent the first two seasons of his Newcastle career battling for the number one spot with Gordon Marshall. When he was finally given a chance, at the start of the 1968/69 season, he grabbed it with both hands and remained first choice until his retirement in 1975.
Despite being short for a goalkeeper McFaul utilised every part of his 5 ft 10 in frame to command his penalty area, regularly displaying outstanding athleticism and bravery at the feet of onrushing attackers. Before long he developed a reputation for making important and memorable saves; the first of these came in the 1968/69 Inter City Fairs Cup, as Newcastle headed north of the border for the first leg of the semi-final, against Rangers at Ibrox. With the game heading for half-time at 0-0, McFaul brought down Swedish striker Orjan Persson, Andy Penman's resultant penalty was brilliantly saved as the Newcastle stopper pushed the ball to safety past his right hand upright. Better was to come in the final, after beating crack Hungarian outfit Ujpest Dozsa 3-0 at home, Newcastle headed to Hungary for the 2nd leg full of confidence. Things were different this time however, as Ujpest dominated and pulled back two first half goals, McFaul kepeping United in the game with four crucial saves including one magnificent tip over. Grateful for the half-time whistle, United were galvanised by Joe Harvey's half-time team talk and an early goal saw the Hungarians 'collapse like a pack of cards' as Harvey had predicted. Newcastle won 3-2, taking the trophy 6-2 on aggregate in their debut European season.
A period of stability followed the 68/69 Fairs Cup success, Newcastle finishing in respectable positions of seventh, twelfth and eleventh over the next three seasons with Willie, a model of consistency in the United goal, missing just one league game during those three campaigns. United suffered a miserable time in cup competitions during that period including a bizarre 2nd leg Fairs Cup match in Hungary against Pesci Dozsa, in the 1970/71 season. At the end of the game the scores were level at 2-2 and the game went to a penalty shoot out, Newcastle missing all three of their efforts with McFaul powerless to stop any of the Pesci spot kicks. As the Newcastle players sat disappointed in their dressing room, the referee unbelievably informed the team that under the rules of the competition all ten penalties had to be taken! After much protest McFaul and Frank Clark were hauled out to perform the last rites and all four remaining kicks were scored as United started a trend of penalty shoot out misery, which would haunt the club for many years.