Colin was born in Heaton, Newcastle on 22nd May 1881. At school he excelled both in the classroom and on the football pitch. Indeed Colin came to the attention of Newcastle United through appearing for the team of Rutherford College, which he enrolled at after leaving school. In the summer of 1899, Colin signed professional forms for Newcastle United at the age of 18.
Still the academic world attracted Colin and at one point he nearly gave up his football career to return to his studies, but fortunately for Newcastle United’s growing support he didn’t. Instead Colin went on to captain Newcastle United to the League Championship on no fewer than three occasions; 1905, 1907 and 1909. He also led Newcastle United to the first of their six F.A. Cup wins in 1910, also captaining them when they lost the finals in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911. Colin also won 6 England caps.
These were the times when Newcastle United’s defensive system was so successful that the football authorities had to change the offside rule. Indeed one away player alighting, with the rest of his team, from a train at Newcastle Central Station before making their way to St James’ Park, on hearing the train guard blow his whistle, was heard to moan that he had been found offside already! In short, Newcastle United was THE side of the Edwardian Era and Colin was their star player.
However, his football was not the only reason why he is still looked back upon and deeply admired. Colin Veitch was a real man of the people, a footballing superstar with a real social conscience. In 1911 Colin was a co-founder of the People’s Theatre, which began life in the socialist rooms in Leazes Park, under the auspices of the socialist Clarion Movement. The People’s Theatre recently celebrated its centenary in its present home just off the Coast Road appropriately in Colin Veitch’s birthplace of Heaton. Colin was a playwright aw wanted to enlighten people on the stage as well as entertain them on the pitch.
Colin was also a leading figure in the Players Union. This was long before footballers received the huge salaries some of them get today. Colin used his socialist principles to ensure that they were treated better than hitherto.
Colin also served as an officer in the First World War, reaching the rank of 2nd lieutenant.
The official Newcastle United historian, Paul Joannou has summed up Colin Veitch, by saying that, “(Veitch) was an educated man of many talents: an articulate scholar, musician, actor, playwright and politician".
In 2012, he was voted 4th top in a poll of the 100 greatest ever Geordies, over 60 years after his death. On 25th September this year, a blue plaque in Colin’s honour will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor at Colin’s former home at Stratford Villas and on the same day at 7 p.m., Chris Goulding is giving a talk on Colin’s life to the Heaton History group in the Corner House pub.