Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional football team based in Newcastle upon Tyne, nicknamed the "Magpies", who currently play in the FA Premier League. Newcastle United supporters are known as the "Toon Army" or the "Geordies" due to the area the team is based in. The team was formed in 1892 after the merger of two local clubs, Newcastle East and Newcastle West and currently plays at St. James' Park, the old Newcastle West ground in the city. Newcastle United are the eighth most successful team in English football according to a recent article published in The Times, taking into account all results since the beginning of English league football in 1888.
The current manager is Glenn Roeder, who appointed Kevin Bond as his Assistant in June 2006. The club chairman is Freddy Shepherd. The club's traditional local rivals are Sunderland and, to a lesser extent, Middlesbrough. Most recently Newcastle have been in the news for their signing of former Chelsea F.C. player Damien Duff for the price of Ł5 million.
In November 1881, the Stanley Cricket Club of South Byker decided to form an association football club, to play during the winter after the Cricket season had ended. 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 Newcastle East End FC to avoid confusion with the cricket club in the town of Stanley, Co.Durham. Meanwhile, across the city, another cricket club began to take an interest in football and in August 1882, they formed Newcastle West End FC. West End played their early football on their cricket pitch, but later moved to St. James' Park.
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. West End however, did not fare so well. During the Spring of 1892, West End approached East End with a view to a takeover, the directors having decided that the club could no longer continue.
Ultimately, it was decided that West End's players and most of its backroom staff would join East End. East End also took over the lease on St. James' Park, this effectively merged the two rival clubs together. 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 22 December, but the new title was not legalised until 6 September 1895, when Newcastle United Football Club Co. Ltd. was constituted.
Newcastle United then went on to lift the League Championship on three occasions, 1905, 1907 and 1909, although the 1908-09 season also saw them record what is still a record home defeat in the top flight of English football, 9:1 to Sunderland. They also reached five FA Cup Finals in seven years (winning only in 1910 against Barnsley FC in a replay at Goodison Park away from the regular FA Cup Venue of Crystal Palace) leading up to World War I in 1914.
During the 1950s, 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 defeated Manchester City 3-1. The Magpies had a high profile, and so did their players; 'Wor Jackie' Milburn and Bobby 'Dazzler' Mitchell in particular.
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 surprised many the following year by lifting the Inter Cities Fairs Cup; which two years later evolved into the UEFA Cup beating the likes of Sporting Lisbon, Feynoord and Real Zaragoza along the way before triumphing over two legs against the Hungarians Újpesti Dózsa in the final. 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 along with 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 most popular figures. He had an impressive goalscoring tally, which 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.
By 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 1982.
Later, 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. Survival was confirmed by winning both of their final two league games at home to Portsmouth and away to Leicester City, the latter to a last minute own goal, although as it transpired Newcastle would have survived even if they'd lost at Leicester .
The following season saw a dramatic turn around in the clubs fortunes. They would win their first eleven league games before a 1-0 home defeat against Grimsby Town ended the run, two games short of the English league record of thirteenth. Playing an exciting brand of attacking football Newcastle would clinch promotion with a 2-0 away win, ironically at Grimsby, and become champions.
Under Keegan Newcastle continued to succeed even at the higher level. Impressing everyone with their attacking flair they would finish a commendable third in their first season back in the top flight and 6th the season after. The 1995-6 season would see the team come close to winning the FA Premier League. Despite being twelve points ahead of their nearest rivals, Manchester United, Newcastle would go on a terrible run of form and lose out. One in particular stands out, the 4-3 reverse away at Liverpool which has been voted the best game ever in the 14 years of the English Premier League. The following season saw them finish in second place again, despite the signing of Alan Shearer.
Keegan resigned in 1997 and was replaced by 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 1998 FA Cup Final only to fall to a 2-0 defeat by Arsenal. However, Dalglish's cautious brand of football proved unpopular with supporters used to Newcastle's previous swashbuckling style; more importantly this careful style was not producing results. Several unsuccessful transfer deals along with a poor start to the 1998-1999 season led to Dalglish being sacked.
Ruud Gullit, mostly famous for being 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 Marcelino and Croatian forward Silvio Maric bore the brunt of supporters frustrations). Gullit also fell out with several senior players, firstly by refusing to give long time midfield stalwart Robert Lee a squad number and then by dropping talisman Alan Shearer for the home game against bitter rivals Sunderland; this was seen as a very unpopular decision by the fans and led to a 2-1 defeat. After a dreadful start to the 1999/00 season, and increasing pressure from the club's supporters, Gullit resigned.
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 Newcastle's survival in the Premiership. This was achieved, at the expense of stylish football, but with Lee and Shearer back onside. That said, Robson's first home match in charge was remarkable, Newcastle beating Sheffield Wednesday 8-0, with Shearer scoring five. Over the next few seasons Robson built up an exciting young squad. Players such as Kieron Dyer (a Gullit signing), 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 achieved qualification for the lucrative Champions' League.
After nearly five years in charge, Sir Bobby Robson was dismissed on 30 August 2004 following a poor start to the 2004/05 season and alleged discontent in the dressing room. Graeme Souness was appointed as Robson's successor two weeks later.
Graeme Souness replaced Sir Bobby Robson as manager on 13 September 2004, two days after the Magpies' match against Souness' former club Blackburn Rovers. After initial good results, the team soon became mired in the bottom half of the table, remaining there until December when they reached the top half of the table for the first time that season.
In August 2005, the club signed Michael Owen for a record Ł17 million from Real Madrid, surpassing the previous Ł15 million Newcastle paid to Blackburn Rovers for Alan Shearer. However, injuries meant Owen played only ten matches for Newcastle in his first six months at the club. Newcastle started the new season poorly, and in February 2006 Souness was sacked following a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. In the interim, former West Ham manager, Glenn Roeder (who was Newcastle United's Youth Academy Director) was given the Caretaker Manager role, assisted by Club Captain, Alan Shearer. In Roeder's first game in charge against Portsmouth on 4 February 2006, Alan Shearer scored his 201st goal for Newcastle, overtaking Jackie Milburn as the club's highest goal-scorer. His tally later reached 206 in a match against rivals Sunderland, on 17 April 2006 - a game in which he also suffered a serious injury, forcing his retirement three games earlier than planned.
Roeder took Newcastle into seventh place in the league which earned the club a UEFA Intertoto Cup place. After the successful run, chairman Freddy Shepherd appointed Roeder as Newcastle manager on a permanent basis, on a two year contract. The FA Premier League agreed to grant him special dispensation to manage the club during which time he will be expected to acquire the mandatory FIFA Pro Licence. This though has led to some cries of outrage from the League Managers Association.
Newcastle originally wore red and white stripes when the East End and West End clubs unified, continuing the tradition of the defunct Newcastle East End. To avoid confusion with their (then) more illustrious neighbours, Sunderland, Newcastle changed to their now familiar black and white stripes in 1904. Since then, the basic concept of the home kit has remained unchanged, although the sock colour has invariably changed from black to white over the years - notably during the Ruud Gullit era, who believed white was lucky.
Newcastle's away colours are inconsistent, with no one particular colour being more recognisable than others. In the 1970s and 1980s, the away kits were mostly yellow and green, quite similar to Norwich City's home kit - these colours are often seen on Malcolm Macdonald. Since the 1990s, the away strip has often been some shade of blue. Other common away colours are all black, all white and grey. The most unusual away colour is arguably the maroon and blue colours from the 1995-96 season. These colours would later return for the 2006-07 season.
Newcastle's shirt sponsors were Newcastle Brown Ale from 1982 - 1986. In 1986, Greenalls took over and ran until 1990 when Newcastle Brown Ale returned for a ten year stint. In 2000, NTL took over for three years, and then the club were sponsored by Northern Rock. Newcastle's home and away kit is currently manufactured by Adidas and in the past has been manufactured by Admiral, Bukta, Umbro and Asics.
Newcastle's home stadium is St James' Park, which has been their home since the merger of East End and West End in 1891, though football was first played there in 1880. At the turn of the 20th century the ground could hold 30,000, but this was soon expanded to 60,000 . However, the ground was altered little in the next 70 years, and by the 1980s was looking dated.
The Bradford fire in 1985 prompted renovation, but progress was slow due to financial difficulties. The takeover of the club by Sir John Hall in 1992 resolved these difficulties, and the stadium was redeveloped to comply with the Taylor Report. Later, the club wished to build a new ground in the nearby Leazes Park, however these plans were quashed. In response to this, the club expanded St. James' Park further. Following the completion of the construction in 2000, St James' Park became the club ground with the second highest capacity in England, with 52,387 seats, although they later became the third highest capacity after the completion of the Emirates Stadium.
Two stands, the Sir John Hall stand and the Milburn stand, have two tiers and are of cantilever construction, whereas the East Stand and the Gallowgate End are roughly half as high, and each have a single tier. This makes the stadium look quite lopsided at times, although it also makes it quite unique. The Gallowgate End is traditionally home to Newcastle's most vociferous supporters, as it was once the stand with no roof covering and is currently the smallest stand in the stadium.
Newcastle fans often refer to themselves as the "The Toon Army" and "Geordies". The Toon name comes from the geordie word for "Town". The term Geordie may originate from the "Geordie Lamps" - safer miners lamps developed by (and affectionately named after) George Stephenson. There is some evidence that miners from the Bolton and Blackburn coalfields were known as 'Geordies', but in this case the monniker did not last.
The club is based in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, the only major club in the city. It attracts fans from all backgrounds. In recent times, where other clubs have attracted fanbases from all around the world (see Glory hunter), Newcastle's fanbase is still mostly from the area, with a small percentage from other parts of the country and abroad, particularly Scandinavia.
Like all major English football clubs, Newcastle have a number of domestic supporters' clubs. The club's supporters publish fanzines such as The Mag. In addition to the usual English football chants, Newcastle's supporters sing the traditional Tyneside song "Blaydon Races"
Newcastle's longest-running and deepest rivalry is with their nearest major neighbour, Sunderland, colloquially known as "The Mackems" (a slightly derogatory term used by Geordies derived from the way Wearsiders pronouce the words "make them") to Newcastle fans. Matches between the two are referred to as Tyne and Wear derby.
Newcastle also have a smaller rivalry with Middlesbrough, which is never as intense as matches between Newcastle and Sunderland. There is a long standing impression that the rivalry is taken more seriously by Middlesbrough supporters than Newcastle's.
Some notable Newcastle United fans include TV comedy duo Ant and Dec, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, Sting, and also British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
On June 19th 2006 Newcastle United PLC released the following statement to the stock exchange: "The Board of Newcastle United PLC notes recent press speculation and confirms that it has today been informed by Sir John Hall representing Wynyard (Guernsey) Limited, which owns approximately 28.8% of Newcastle United PLC, that it has received expressions of interest to acquire its shareholding, which may or may not lead to the disposal of its stake. A further announcement will be made if appropriate." It was reported on June 18th 2006 in the Sunday Times that American hedge fund Polygon were planning to snap up Sir John Hall's shareholding in Newcastle United. It says that they have been working closely with UBS, the investment bank on a buyout proposal. WilliamsF1 boss Sir Frank Williams and ex-Newcastle player Alan Shearer are rumoured to have a hand in the proposed takeover as both have held intrests in UBS since 2001. It has been clear for some time that Sir John Hall would be open to selling his shareholding. Talks broke down between Sir John and another suitor in November 2005 so it remains to be seen if a deal can be struck this time around. Polygon are a US investment company with offices in London and New York and manage a total of almost Ł1bn.
As of 27 July, 2006
Squad Changes During 2006/2007 Season
Listed according to year of Newcastle United first-team debut (year in parentheses)
The Number 9
The number 9 shirt at is very respected at Newcastle United. It is often called 'The Shirt of Legends'. Players who have worn this shirt include:
After Alan Shearer's retirement the position of Number 9 has become vacant. Though many suggest Michael Owen may be the successor, he has many sponsorship deals with his England Number 10 and appears unlikely to change.
Team managers of Newcastle United and the dates they took over.
Technically, Andy Cunningham was the first true manager of the club, as Frank Watt had no control over team selection.
Newcastle United have been members of the Premier League since winning Division 1 in 1992-93. Their best finish occurred in 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 when they finished 2nd.
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'Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is' - Bill Shankly