Johnny Newman played for Exeter City between 1967 and 1971 and managed the club from 1969 to 1976. Making around sixty league appearances for both Birmingham City and Leicester City, he subsequently played 298 league games for Plymouth Argyle before arriving at St James Park just weeks before his 34th birthday. Appointed manager eighteen months later he remained in post for seven years before managing Grimsby Town, Derby County and Hereford United. He played for Birmingham City in the 1956 FA Cup final.
After representing Herefordshire as a youth player, he began his professional career with Birmingham City in March 1951 where he won the Second Division and was on the losing side in the 1956 F.A. Cup Final against Manchester City. After 60 league appearances for Birmingham, he moved on to Leicester City in November 1957 and added a further 61 league appearances to his tally. Moving to Plymouth Argyle in January 1960 he became a firm favourite making 298 league outings and helping the club to the semi-final of the Football League Cup in 1965.
Joining Exeter City in November 1967, in the same £8,000 deal that saw Alan Banks return to the club, he made his debut in a 5-1 defeat against Brentford before becoming a regular member of the side and eventually inheriting the manager’s job from Frank Broome in April 1969. Playing on for another two years he tried to resign as manager in October 1971 but was persuaded by the players to stay on.
He remained in charge until December 1976 when he took over as manager of Grimsby Town where he spent two-and-a-half years before becoming assistant-manager of Derby County and later manager in his own right. He later had a spell in charge of Hereford United, his home town club, prior to assistant manager jobs at Notts County and York City and coaching and scouting roles with Mansfield Town.