Newcastle United are a Premier League club with a proud history of footballing mediocrity and administrative failure. They are regarded as one of England’s most prestigious clubs, largely by themselves. They never win any trophies and, these days, rarely win any games at all.
Newcastle last had a good team in the 1950s, when their most famous player, ‘Wor’ Jackie Milburn, averaged seven goals a game for three seasons running. Other Newcastle legends include Malcolm ‘SuperMac’ MacDonald, Kevin Keegan, Stefan Guivarch, and Alan Shearer, who was never given a nickname, despite numerous attempts and meetings between senior fans with the aim of establishing one. At times of crisis, Newcastle supporters invariably call for these iconic figures to be ‘brought back’ as ‘saviours’, even the long-dead Milburn.
Keegan Joins, Quits, Returns, Quits, Is Linked With Return, Is Linked With Quitting If He Does ReturnEdit
Newcastle’s recent history has been dominated by Kevin Keegan. No figure in football has spent more time managing, sensationally quitting as manager of, or being on the brink of resuming being manager of, a team as Keegan at Newcastle. While exact calculations are impossible, he is thought to have had a total of eighteen spells as Newcastle manager, ranging in length from four years to eight minutes. During the 2001-2 season he famously quit three times in a single match against Southampton, only to return to a hero’s welcome in the 34th, 56th and 80th minutes. Newcastle lost 2-1 having been a goal ahead.
Historic Fucking-Up Of Their Only Ever Chance To Be Premier League ChampionsEdit
Newcastle havent been crowned champions of England since the 20's, despite their fans’ continued indignation at not being regarded as one of the ‘big four’ – a designation reserved for clubs who have at some point achieved success. However, in 1995-6, Keegan appeared to be on the brink of making history after a superb start to the season. At Christmas, Newcastle led the table by 12 points with a game in hand:
Unfortunately, nerves set in at the tail-end of the season, and Keegan was famously defeated at ‘mind games’ by Sir Alex Ferguson. While these ‘mind games’ were too complex for non-football experts to follow, they seem to have consisted largely of Ferguson winding Keegan up, and Keegan getting angry. In any case it was enough to deny the North-East side, who eventually surrendered top spot after losing 4-3 to Liverpool in one of the Premier League’s greatest ever games, particularly notable for providing Stan Collymore’s only good performance in professional football. Their fate was confirmed in the next game, against Nottingham Forest, when they conceded a 50-yard equaliser to Ian Woan, previously only notable for having a name that rhymed with his team-mate, Steve Stone. Newcastle finished in second place and their wait for silverware would continue into the 21st, 22nd and 23rd centuries.
Managers Other Than KeeganEdit
In between Keegan’s many spells at the helm, Newcastle have appointed many other managers. Though a number of these have had excellent careers behind them, they have all been defeated by Newcastle fans’ fierce intolerance of anyone who was not born in the centre circle at St James’ Park, owns a house, and does not share the exact DNA of Kevin Keegan.
The victims of this bias include:
- Main article: Kenny Dalglish
The sharp-faced, incomprehensible Scot had enjoyed vast success with Liverpool in the eighties, when the Merseyside club dominated so completely that at one point only seven other teams bothered to enter the League at all. He arrived with a CV which also included winning the title for Blackburn and having a daughter (Kelly) with almost the same name as himself. However, he was unpopular with fans, and soon left.
- Main article: Ruud Gullit
Gullit was one of the most loved footballers of the 80s and early 90s, and a famous proponent of attractive football, of the kind supposedly loved by Newcastle fans. However, he was unpopular with fans, and soon left.
Sir Bobby RobsonEdit
- Main article: Sir Bobby Robson
Robson, a much-loved Geordie and the last man to take England to a World Cup Semi-Final, came close to re-establishing Newcastle as a force during his five years in charge. His love of Newcastle United is unsurpassed by anyone alive, his work-rate was tireless (despite being, at 103, the oldest man to manage at this level) and he guided Newcastle as high as fourth, which is now beyond their wildest dreams. However, after a while he became unpopular with fans, and left.
- Main article: Glenn Roeder
No-one understood how Roeder got the job, but he did all right. However, he was unpopular with fans, and soon left.
- Main article: Sam Allardyce
Allardyce had transformed Bolton from an ugly, functional, no-frills bunch of shit-kickers in the lower leagues to an ugly, functional, no-frills bunch of shit-kickers in the Premiership. He had a very large head and was so obsessed with the technical side of the game that he missed most of the action in key matches because he was in the stands talking on a hands-free phone to analysts. He was immediately unpopular with fans, and soon left.
- Main article: Joe Kinnear
Kinnear, a former jobbing manager who nowadays looks like someone you might get in to do odd-jobs, was offered the ‘interim post’ of Newcastle manager after the first 270 people on the list had declined it. The club issued a statement saying that they were ‘not all that pleased, in all honesty’ to welcome Kinnear and that he would do ‘at best, a competent job until we can get someone in here who’s managed a football club since back-passes were outlawed’. He was naturally unpopular with fans, and looked set to leave even before his first game, when he referred to almost everyone in Newcastle-upon-Tyne as a ‘cunt’ during a press conference. Amazingly, he became Newcastle’s fourth most successful manager ever with two wins from ten games but his impending death from heart problems led to Alan Shearer being appointed as temporary manager.
- Main article: Alan Shearer
Shearer was seen to be the closest thing to Keegan available and was given the task of guiding the Toon Army to relegation, which he did with ruthless precision. The inexperienced former striker immediately set about changing some elements of Kinnear's regime that didn't seem right. Injured players were made to stay later than fit ones to encourage faster recovery, the players trained on the St James' Park pitch more regularly and the half-time karaoke session that Kinnear was so fond of was axed. However, the major problem that dogged Kinnear's reign - that there were no good players in the squad - proved fatal and Newcastle were banished to the Championship.
As well as consistent footballing under-achievement, Newcastle’s directors have in recent years become well-known for baffling boardroom decisions and gaffes. These include:
- ‘Losing track’ of the 05-06 season and failing to show up for matches. (See Early and Late Kick-Offs)
- Failing to enter the 03-4 FA Cup, the Board admitting in a statement that they ‘weren’t too sure where to get the forms and all that’.
- Selling the club to a fat, rich man and allowing him to sit amongst the fans with an ill-fitting Newcastle shirt on, despite the fans’ history of persecuting anyone who has visited the South of England, owns money, and has interests outside football.
- Having to postpone a home League Cup game with Leeds after the groundsman admitted he could not remember where he had left the club’s goalposts. It later emerged that his grandsons had borrowed them for a ‘canny kick-about doon the Bigg Market, like’.
- Generally being a bunch of dickheads.
- Main article: Long-Suffering Fans
Newcastle’s legion of fans, known as the Toon Army, have a number of distinguishing characteristics. They are noted for taking their shirts off in very cold temperatures, incessantly singing ‘Toon Army, Toon Army’ until everyone wishes they would fuck off, going home disappointed, and harbouring massive delusions about the contemporary relevance of Newcastle United as a football club.
Because of the club’s lack of silverware, members of the Toon Army are routinely described as ‘long-suffering fans’. In an address to the UN in 2005, then-Secretary General Kofi Annan referred to ‘the terrible humanitarian situations in Kosovo, Darfur and Newcastle’ while a BBC documentary in the same year studied the parallel experiences of civil war victims in Rwanda and Newcastle fans confronting another UEFA Cup exit. A concert to raise money for sufferers was held at St James Park in 2007, but attendance was disappointing, mostly because the board had printed the wrong day in advertisements.
Michael Owen (2005-)
Temuri Ketsbaia (1997-2000)
Ruel Fox (1994-95)
Newcastle United on Back of the Net NewsEdit
Newcastle 'Reluctantly Call It A Day'. Read more