Newcastle United FC
Newcastle United FC Information
James' Park, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE. NE1 4ST
Newcastle United FC History
Newcastle United is an English
professional football team based in Newcastle upon Tyne,
nicknamed "the Magpies". Newcastle United supporters are known
as the 'Toon Army'. The club currently plays in the FA Premier
During November 1881, the Stanley Cricket Club of South Byker
decided to form an Association Football club. They won their
first match 5-0 against Elswick Leather Works 2nd XI. Just under
a year later, in October 1882, they changed their name to East
End FC to avoid confusion with the cricket club in the town of
Stanley, Co.Durham. Shortly after this, another Byker side,
Rosewood FC, merged with East End to form an even stronger side.
Meanwhile, across the city, another cricket club began to take
an interest in football and in August 1882, they formed West End
FC. West End played their early football on their cricket pitch,
but later moved to St. James' Park.
West End soon became the city's premier club. East End were
anxious not to be left behind and lured Watson into becoming
their chief in the close season of 1888 and from that point,
never looked back; Watson made several good signings, especially
from Scotland, and the Heaton club went from strength to
strength, while West End's fortunes slipped dramatically.
The region's first league competition was formed in 1889 and the
FA Cup began to cause interest. Ambitious East End turned
professional in 1889, a huge step for a local club, and in March
1890, they made an even more adventurous move by becoming a
limited company with capital of 1,000 pounds in ten shilling
notes. During the spring of 1892, in a season during which their
results were at an all time low, and in which they had lost to
their bitter rivals, East End, five times, West End found
themselves in serious trouble. They approached East End with a
view to a take over, the directors having decided that the club
could no longer continue.
What actually happened was that West End wound up, while some of
its players and most of its backroom staff joined East End. East
End also took over the lease on St. James' Park. By December
1892, they decided to give the club a new name and a new image.
At a public meeting, several new names, including Newcastle
Rangers and Newcastle City, were suggested, before all agreed on
Newcastle United. The FA agreed to the name change on 22nd
December, but the new title was not legalised until 6 September
1895, when Newcastle United Football Club Co. Ltd. was
United then developed a side which became Edwardian England's
master outfit, but not before the Tynesiders went through a
worrying period due to lack of support at the turnstile and lack
of money at the bank. But through the help of their directors
the club was propped up and they survived to become a force in
Newcastle started to purchase talented players, especially from
Scotland, and soon had a squad to rival all of England. With
players like Colin Veitch, Jackie Rutherford, Jimmy Lawrence and
Albert Shepherd, the Black'n'Whites had a team of international
talent. There was Bill McCracken, Jimmy Howie, Peter McWilliam
and Andy Aitken too. All were household names in their day.
However, in 1908 they faced the humiliation of a 9:1 home defeat
to local rivals Sunderland, still the record English home defeat
to this day.
The Magpies lifted the League Championship on three occasions
and reached five FA Cup finals in the years leading up to World
War I in 1914. Geordie fans had enjoyed ten years of being the
team everyone wanted to topple. United played a style of
football celebrated in the game's history. It was possession
football in an entertaining, rousing fashion.
After World War One, the Twenties was just as eventful. The
Black'n'Whites lifted the FA Cup at Wembley in 1924 defeating
Aston Villa - only the second ever final to be staged at the
famous stadium. And a record signing of Scottish international
centre-forward Hughie Gallacher made sure United collected
another Championship trophy three years later in 1927.
Famous names continued to pull on the Newcastle striped shirt.
Apart from the legendary Gallacher, the Magpies fielded the
likes of Neil Harris, Stan Seymour and Frank Hudspeth. Seymour
was to become an influential figure for the next 40 years as
player, manager and director.
It was back to Wembley in 1932 to compete in the infamous 'Over
the Line' FA Cup final with Arsenal, whereby United won with a
goal that should clearly never have been allowed. United won the
game 2-1 after scoring a goal following a cross from Jimmy
Richardson which was hit from out of play - over the line. There
were no action replays then and the referee allowed the goal, a
controversial talking point in FA Cup history.
Newcastle boasted master players like Sammy Weaver and Jack
Allen, as well as the first player-manager in the top division
in Scottish international Andy Cunningham. But after glory at
the Twin Towers of Wembley, Newcastle's form slumped and by 1934
they had been relegated for the first time in their history.
Amazingly in the same season as they fell into the Second
Division, United defeated Liverpool 9-2 and Everton 7-3 within
the space of a week! A rebuilding process took place in the
years leading up to the Second World War and by that time former
star winger Stan Seymour had been appointed to the Board of
Directors. A determined character, he set the foundations of
United's next great period.
Former star winger Stan Seymour had been appointed to the Board
of Directors just before the outbreak of World War II. A
determined character, he set the foundations of United's next
By the time peace was restored in 1945, Seymour was at the
forefront of affairs, manager in all but name. He ensured that
the Magpies possessed an entertaining eleven full of stars, a
mix of home-grown talent like Jackie Milburn, Bobby Cowell and
Ernie Taylor, as well as big signings in the shape of George
Robledo, Bobby Mitchell, Joe Harvey, Len Shackleton and Frank
Newcastle returned to the First Division in double quick time.
Promotion was achieved in 1948 in front of vast crowds. An
average of almost 57,000 at every home game saw United's
fixtures that year, a national record for years to come. That
was just the start of another period of success.
During the Fifties decade United lifted the FA Cup trophy on
three occasions within a five year period. In 1951 they defeated
Blackpool 2-0, a year later Arsenal were beaten 1-0 and in 1955
United crushed Manchester City 3-1. The Magpies were known in
every corner of the country, and so were their players; 'Wor
Jackie' Milburn and Bobby 'Dazzler' Mitchell the pick of a side
that was renowned the nation over.
Despite having quality players throughout the era, stars like
Ivor Allchurch, George Eastham and Len White during the latter
years of the decade, United slipped from the First Division in
1961 under the controversial management of ex Manchester United
star, Charlie Mitten. It was a huge blow to the club.
An old war-horse returned to revitalise the Magpies in the shape
of Joe Harvey who had skippered the club to much of their
post-war success. He teamed up with Stan Seymour to rebuild
United and the Black'n'Whites returned to the elite as Second
Division Champions in 1965. United then became very much an
unpredictable side, always capable of defeating the best, but
never quite realising their huge potential until very recently.
Joe Harvey's side qualified for Europe for the first time in
1968 and stunned everyone the following year by lifting the
Inter Cities Fairs Cup; the forerunner of the UEFA Cup. United
possessed a solid eleven and Newcastle's tradition of fielding a
famous Number 9 at centre-forward since earliest years continued
as big Welshman Wyn Davies was prominent alongwith the likes of
Bryan "Pop" Robson, Bobby Moncur and Frank Clark.
In the years that followed European success, manager Harvey
brought in a string of talented entertainers who thrilled the
Gallowgate crowd. Pleasers like Jimmy Smith, Tony Green and
Terry Hibbitt. And especially a new centre-forward by the name
of Malcolm Macdonald.
Nicknamed 'Supermac', Macdonald was one of United's greatest
hero figures. Brash, arrogant and devastating in front of goal,
he led United's attack to Wembley twice, in 1974 and 1976,
against Liverpool in the FA Cup and Manchester City in the
League Cup. But on each occasion the Magpies failed to bring the
trophy back to Tyneside.
At the start of the 1980s, United had declined dramatically and
were languishing in the Second Division. Gordon Lee had replaced
Harvey as boss, yet he in turn soon gave way to Richard Dinnis
and then Bill McGarry. But it was Arthur Cox who steered United
back again to the First Division with ex England skipper Kevin
Keegan the focus of the side, having joined the Magpies in a
sensational deal in 1982.
The football inspired by Keegan captivated Tyneside and United
stormed into the top division in a style only bettered by
Kevin's own brand of football as a manager in the next decade.
Alongside Keegan were youngsters Peter Beardsley and Chris
Waddle, as well as seasoned campaigners like Terry McDermott and
One of English footballs greatest talents, Paul Gascoigne or
'Gazza', emerged as a youngster at the club during this period,
under manager Jack Charlton (who later went on to take Republic
of Ireland to two World Cup finals). Newcastle consolidated
their place in Division One but then a period of selling their
best players (Beardsley to Liverpool, and Waddle and Gazza both
to Tottenham), rocked the club and led to supporter unrest, as
did a share-war for control of the boardroom.
The Magpies tumbled back into the Second Division and over the
next few seasons found themselves in a perilous state. They had
little money, star players headed south and crowds dwindled.
Several managerial changes took place - Jim Smith and Ossie
Ardiles could not stop the rot. With the club hovering on the
brink of a further, potentially catastrophic, relegation
Newcastle United needed a saviour. They not only found one, but
two, as Sir John Hall and Kevin Keegan joined forces to salvage
1992 - 1997 (The Keegan Years)
When Kevin Keegan returned to Tyneside to replace Ossie Ardiles
as manager on a short term contract in 1992, taking what he
claimed to be the only job that could tempt him back into
football, United were struggling at the wrong end of Division
Two. Sir John Hall had all but taken control of the club and he
needed a minor miracle to stop the Magpies from tumbling into
the Third Division for the first time in their history.
If Sir John was to transform the near bankrupt club they simply
had to survive relegation. Just as before, Keegan's mere
presence captivated the region. United's disgruntled supporters
became excited, expectant ones over-night. They packed St James
Park again and United survived in Division Two on the last day
of the season. Hall now turned his attention to a masterplan to
develop Newcastle United into one of the superclubs of Europe.
Kevin Keegan stayed on as manager and both swung into action.
The club's finances were transformed; St James Park redeveloped
into a stadium as good as any, now accommodating over 52,000.
Keegan brought in new players, many international superstars. It
was the start of a special five years under his guidance.
Spearheaded by the prolific striker Andy Cole and David Kelly,
who were ably supported by midfielders Paul Bracewell, Ruel Fox,
Gavin Peacock and Rob Lee, and Brian 'Killer' Kilcline (a tough
free transfer defender who Keegan later claimed was his best
signing) Newcastle secured promotion to the Premier League and
then won the First Division Championship, often simply
overwhelming opponents along the way (a 7-1 victory over
Leicester City being particularly memorable). The Magpies joined
the elite for the 1993-94 season and United very quickly became
recognised as a serious force, claiming two second place spots
and just missing out on the title over the next few seasons.
Sir John Hall's millions allowed the club to invest heavily in
players, and United's squad became a virtual all international
one, containing players from across the globe. Exotic foreign
players like David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla, and British
stars like the popular and effective veteran Peter Beardsley,
striker Les Ferdinand, and later Alan Shearer brought glamour
and excitement back to the North East.
The first team built up a reputation for playing an attacking,
almost cavalier, brand of football under Keegan - their
occasionally leaky defence was not a major problem, as the team
could almost always score more than they conceded. By Christmas
of the 1995 season, Newcastle had built up a seemingly
unassailable 15 point lead in the Premier League. Unfortunately
this lead proved less secure then Newcastle's supporters, and
Keegan himself, had hoped.
Manchester United won the league by four points in the season of
1995/96. The 'mind games' of Manchester's manager Alex Ferguson
(who provoked an infamous live-on-tv rant from Keegan), that
teams impressive post-christmas form, or the alteration of
Newcastle's direct attacking playing style, and of personel,
that was required to accomodate the mercurial, somewhat
unpredictable Asprilla have all been blamed by supporters to
explain the devastating capitulation that occured that season. A
more likely explanation is that their lack of defensive nous,
coupled with occasional losses in winable games, proved to be
their undoing over the full season.
The points lead that Newcastle United enjoyed at Christmas 1995
was one of the largest to be surrendered by any team in the
Premiership, and Newcastle never quite looked the same threat
again, although they continued to perform, finishing second
again the following season. However a lack of success in English
and European cup competitions meant that the clubs long long
wait for a trophy did not end under Keegan.
Controversy surrounded the club in 1996 when two board members,
Douglas Hall, son of Chairman Sir John Hall, and Freddie
Shepherd made a series of remarks to an undercover tabloid
journalist. They ridiculed Alan Shearer, called the supporters
"stupid" for paying through the nose for the cheap shirts they
like wearing, and stated that they preferred to do their whoring
abroad because the women of Newcastle "are all dogs". Almost
unbelievably, Shepherd subsequently became Chairman!
Keegan's resignation in January 1997 came unexpectedly on the
heels of a 5-0 victory for his club, although fans felt it had
been brewing for some time.
1997 - 2004 (Post Keegan, & Sir Bobby Robson)
Keegan's replacement as manager was Kenny Dalglish, who it was
felt would help solidify the team defensively. In their first
season under his guidance Newcastle entered the Champions
League, and reached the FA Cup final only to fall to a defeat by
Arsenal. However, Dalglish's cautious brand of football proved
unpopular with supporters used to Newcastle's previous
swashbuckling style; more importantly this style was not
producing results. Several unsuccessful transfer deals along
with a poor start to the 1998 / 1999 season led to Dalglish
Ruud Gullit, a trophy winning manager with Chelsea a few years
previously, was put in charge promising to bring back 'sexy
football' to Newcastle. The team again started promisingly, and
reached the FA Cup final that season. Unfortunately this time
around they were to lose to Manchester United. Gullit also made
some high profile mistakes in the transfer market (notably,
Spanish defender Marcelinho and forward Silvio Maric bore the
brunt of supporters frustrations). Less forgivably, he also fell
out with several senior players, including Alan Shearer, and the
club captain Rob Lee, who had been the heartbeat of the team for
the previous half decade. A humiliating loss to arch-rivals
Sunderland, and a dreadful start to the 1999 / 00 season
prompted his resignation.
Veteran ex-England manager, and local boy, Sir Bobby Robson was
brought in to replace Gullit. His first job, unthinkable a few
years previously, was to ensure Newcastles survival in the
Premiership. This was acheived, at the expense of stylish
football, but with Lee and Shearer back onside. Over the next
few seasons Robson built up an exciting young squad. Players
such as Kieron Dyer, Craig Bellamy and Laurent Robert ensured
the team were capable of once again punching their weight in the
league. An unlikely Championship challenge almost emerged in the
last few weeks of the 2002/2003 season, and Newcastle acheived
qualification for the lucrative Champions league.
The 2003/2004 season was a particularly colourful one for
Newcastle on the European stage. In the first group stage,
Newcastle lost their first three matches in a row, then, in an
astonishing reversal, shocked Italian giants Juventus 1-0 at St
James' Park. They then controversially beat Dinamo Kiev 2-1 in
Newcastle before winning the crucial last match 3-2 in injury
time, with striker Craig Bellamy scoring the injury time winner.
With Dinamo Kiev losing at home to Juventus, Newcastle
progressed to the second round.
That same striker Craig Bellamy was later involved in a on-pitch
brawl with Internazionale defender Marco Materazzi. Bellamy was
sent off, and was punished further by a three-match ban.
Compounding the disaster for Newcastle was the suspension of
influential captain Alan Shearer for a similar incident,
although the punishment was just a two-match ban. Newcastle went
on to lose 1-4 at home.
Shearer returned in the fourth game in the 4-team group, scoring
all three goals in a 3-1 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen at home.
This broke his Champions League duck.
Despite a superb performance against Internazionale in the
famous San Siro, only to draw 2-2, Newcastle lost at home 2-0 to
Barcelona and dropped out of the Champions League.
Internazionale made the semi-finals and Barcelona the
2004 - Present
After nearly five years in charge, Sir Bobby Robson was
dismissed on August 30, 2004 following a poor start to the
2004-05 season and alleged discontent in the dressing room. A
split had grown between Robson and the club owners when they had
made a number of high-profile signings, apparently without
consulting him - in particular that of Patrick Kluivert. He was
further undermined by the clubs high profile, but futile, offer
for Wayne Rooney who instead moved to Manchester United. Robson
later stated his dismay at the tendency for overpaid young
players to demand all the perks without proving themselves on
the pitch. Events during the ensuing season, on and off the
pitch have gone a long way to confirm Robson's assessment.
Robson was later given a £1 million severance payment.
Graeme Souness replaced Robson on September 13, two days after
the Magpies' match against Souness' former club Blackburn
Rovers. After initial good results the team is presently stuck
in the bottom half of the table and opinions on Souness are
mixed among fans.
Following a training ground spat Newcastle have been forced to
let go one of their main assets Craig Bellamy while their dip in
performance due to the absence of Shearer through injury has
worried the fan base. Despite the heavy investment of the last
ten years in high profile transfers and the benefit of Alan
Shearer, Newcastle is conspicuous in having failed to secure a
major title. There is also such a growing gap between teams like
Newcastle and the top flight of Arsenal, Manchester United and
Chelsea that it is unlikely the club will succeed in the near
In November 2004 Club Chairman Freddy Shepherd again caused
controversy, stating there was no debt owed by the 'elite' clubs
of the Premiership to the rest of the FA - but with his own team
underperforming this was somewhat ironic as well as
In April 2005, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer came to blows during a
Premiership match against Aston Villa. Described as 'the
blackest day' by Freddie Shepherd, Lee Bowyer was fined six
weeks wages (about £200,000). Both players recieved playing bans
by the FA. The event overshadowed the announcement that the
injury prone Shearer had extended his contract for a further
year for a £4 Million fee.
Newcastle won the home leg of their UEFA cup Quarter final
against Sporting CP but were comprehensively outplayed during
the away match and lost 4 - 1, in the process suffering several
injuries. They are due to play Manchester United in an FA cup
semi final on Sunday April 17th in Cardiff - with their current
position in the Premiership, winning the F.A. Cup now remains
the clubs only chance to qualify for European Competition in
Newcastle United FC Honours, Trophies & Awards
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