- For the Australian soccer club see Newcastle United (Australia).
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 League.
History of Newcastle United
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 constituted.
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 the game.
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 a record today.
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 great period.
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 Brennan.
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.
With crowds previously below 10,000, Keegan captivated everyone on Tyneside and United stormed into the top division in a style only bettered by Kevin's own brand of football in the next decade. Alongside Keegan were youngsters Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle, as well as seasoned campaigners like Terry McDermott and David McCreery.
Paul Gascoigne soon followed, as did Jack Charlton as manager. Newcastle consolidated their place in Division One but then a period of selling their best players - Beardsley, Waddle and Gazza - rocked the club, as did a share-war for control of Newcastle United.
The Magpies tumbled back into the Second Division and were in a perilous state. They had little money, star players headed south and crowds dwindled. With the club hovering on the brink, Newcastle United needed a saviour. They not only found one, but two, as Sir John Hall and Kevin Keegan joined forces to salvage Newcastle's reputation.
When Keegan returned to Tyneside to replace Ossie Ardiles (under whom crowds had again fallen to below 15,000) as manager on a short term contract in 1992, United were struggling at the wrong end of Division Two. Sir John 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. Sir John 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 immediately they 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.
The First Division Championship was secured and Premier League clubs were faced with a new influence in the game. The Black'n'Whites joined the elite for the 1993-94 season and United very quickly became recognised as a force, claiming two second place spots and just missing out on the title.
The club invested heavily in players, and United's squad became a virtual all international one, containing players from across the globe. Players like David Ginola and Tino Asprilla from overseas, and British stars like Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson. The points lead that Newcastle United enjoyed at Christmas 1995 was one of the largest to be surrenderedby any team in the Premiership.
Controversy surrounded the club in 1996 when comments made by the sons of Chairman Sir John Hall who were also board members were reported by the press. These ridiculed Alan Shearer and the supporters and spread the impression that the club management was exploiting the fans.
The Tyneside club built up a reputation of playing an attacking brand of football under the next manager who was Kenny Dalglish. Under his guidance Newcastle entered the Champions League and reached the FA Cup final in 1998 only to fall to Arsenal. With another respected and trophy-winning manager in control, Ruud Gullit, Newcastle again reached the FA Cup final only to lose, this time to Manchester United.
The 2003/2004 season was a 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 quarter-finals.
Sir Bobby Robson was appointed manager soon after, but after nearly five years in charge, he 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. Robson later stated his dismay at the tendency for overpaid players who demanded all the perks without proving themselves on the pitch. Graeme Souness replaced Robson on September 13, two days after the Magpies' match against Souness' former club Blackburn Rovers.
After an initial bump in points the team is at the time of writing (February 2005) languishing in the bottom half of the table and discontent with Souness appears to be growing. 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 future.
In November 2004 Club Chairman Freddy Shepard stated there was no debt owed by the 'elite' clubs of the Premiership to the rest of the FA but with his own team bumping along the bottom of the table this was inappropriate. The club was further embarrased when it was revealed their offer for Wayne Rooney was turned down by the player as he wanted to go to a 'big' club.
- 2004 - Graeme Souness
- 1999-2004 Sir Bobby Robson
- 1998-1999 Ruud Gullit
- 1997-1998 Kenny Dalglish
- 1992-1997 Kevin Keegan
- 1991-1992 Osvaldo Ardiles
- 1988-1991 Jim Smith
- 1985-1988 Willie McFaul
- 1984 Jack Charlton
- 1980-1984 Arthur Cox
- 1977-1980 Bill McGarry
- 1977 Richard Dinnis
- 1975-1977 Gordon Lee
- 1962-1975 Joe Harvey
- 1961-1962 Norman Smith
- 1958-1961 Charlie Mitten
- 1956-1958 Stan Seymour
- 1954-1956 Duggie Livingstone
- 1950-1954 Stan Seymour
- 1947-1950 George Martin
- 1939-1947 Stan Seymour
- 1935-1939 Tom Mather
- 1930-1935 Andy Cunningham
- 1895-1932 Frank Watt
- Official club website (http://www.nufc.co.uk/)
- Un-Official club website (http://www.nufc.com/)
- 4thegame.com's Newcastle United page (http://www.4thegame.com/club/nufc)