Newcastle United Profile

Major Honours First Division/Premier League (4), FA Cup (6), Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1), UEFA Intertoto Cup (1)
Year Founded 1892

With 52,000 packing into St James' Park on a regular basis, Newcastle United boast one of English soccer's great supporter bases. The next objective, though, is challenging for honours.

Newcastle United are a soccer club based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. They play in the Premier League and their home matches are played at St James' Park, an iconic stadium with a capacity of 52,305.

Newcastle, known affectionately as the 'Magpies' have a support base nicknamed the 'Toon Army'. Newcastle won the English top-flight title in 1904/05, 1906/07, 1908/09, and 1926/27. They also picked up FA Cup wins in 1909/10, 1923/24, 1931/32, 1950/51, 1951/52, and 1954/55.

More recently, Newcastle won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006 and the Championship in 2009/10 and 2016/17.

The most iconic player in recent history to represent the Magpies was Alan Shearer, a boyhood Newcastle fan who won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1995 and then joined the Magpies the following year instead of Manchester United and Real Madrid, who had been pursuing the striker. Shearer is the Premier League's all-time record goalscorer, with 260 to his name.

The early history and golden age of Newcastle United

Newcastle United FC was founded in 1892 due to the merger between Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End. After being refused entry into the First Division of the Football League, they won promotion for the 1898/99 season.

In the early 1900s, Newcastle United dominated English football. Not only did they win league titles in 1904/05, 1906/07 and 1908/09, but they also nearly won the double in 1904/05. Unfortunately for the Magpies, they lost the 1905 FA Cup final to Aston Villa.

The Newcastle United squad of 1908

Peter McWilliam, a defender for Newcastle at the time, said long after his retirement: "The Newcastle team of the 1900s would give any modern side a two goal start and beat them, and furthermore, beat them at a trot."

In 1910, Newcastle finally won the FA Cup title, beating Barnsley in the final. They picked up another in 1924, beating Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium. In 1926/27, Newcastle won the First Division once again.

Back then, Hughie Gallacher was to Newcastle United what Shearer would later become - their captain and a prolific goalscorer. Other key players in this era for Newcastle were Neil Harris, Stan Seymour and Frank Hudspeth.

Gallacher left for Chelsea in 1930 and Newcastle were in decline by this time. At the end of the 1933/34 season, Newcastle were relegated to the Second Division. They only narrowly avoided relegation to the third tier of English football in 1937/38.

The 'Cup Kings' and the post-war period

The Second World War inadvertently gave Newcastle a chance to rebuild, and after the acquisitions of Jackie Milburn, Tommy Walker and Bobby Cowell, the Magpies were promoted to the First Division.

Newcastle won the FA Cup in 1951, beating Blackpool in the final. The following year, they won it again, this time beating Arsenal. In 1955, they saw off Manchester City in the final to lift the trophy once again - their third FA Cup in just five years, seeing the team dubbed the 'Cup Kings' by the club.

Newcastle United prepare to lift the FA Cup in the 1951 final

Unfortunately, though, the Magpies would have to wait another 14 years before major silverware returned to St. James' Park - even getting relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1960/61 season under Charlie Mitten's management.

A few years later, Joe Harvey led Newcastle back to the top flight by steering them to the Second Division title in 1964/65 and they qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup through their performances in the 1967/68 season.

In a class field that included the likes of Marseille, Liverpool, Juventus, Chelsea and Rangers, Newcastle were triumphant in their very first appearance in a European competition, beating Hungary's Ujpest 6-2 in a two-legged final.

Keegan, Gascoigne, Beardsley and Waddle

Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley of Newcastle United

Newcastle were relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1977/78 season, but bounced back up several years later at the end of the 1983/84 campaign under the management of Arthur Cox.

Cox had important players at his disposal, such as Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and former England captain Kevin Keegan. These players in particular were the stars of the team of that era, forming a formidable front line in that time.

In just two seasons, Keegan managed a return of 49 goals in 85 appearances, Waddle starred for five seasons and Beardsley being nearly ever-present in four seasons at the club - with Waddle and Beardsley in particular being born and raised in the north-east.

Former England captain Keegan retired in 1984, the same year which saw Jack Charlton become manager. His reign lasted only one season after Newcastle finished 14th in the First Division and Charlton would later manage the Republic of Ireland.

Willie McFaul took over as manager for the 1985/86 season and replaced Waddle, who departed for Tottenham Hotspur, with a young Paul Gascoigne, who had captained Newcastle to the FA Youth Cup in 1984/85. 'Gazza', as he was affectionately known, made an immediate impact on the first team.

Gascoigne was later sold to Tottenham himself in 1988. Despite using the money from their sales to invest heavily in their squad for the upcoming season, Newcastle were subsequently relegated to the second tier in 1988/89.

The Entertainers

Newcastle United players celebrate a goal

Keegan took over as Newcastle manager in 1992 and the Magpies won promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 1992/93 season.

The team of the years which followed became known as "The Entertainers" due to Keegan’s attacking brand of football.

Andy Cole starred up front for Newcastle and the likes of Shearer, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand were also instrumental in this era.

Les Ferdinand during his playing days at Newcastle United

In 1995/96, Newcastle came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title. At one point, they were 12 points clear of Manchester United, but they ultimately finished second, four points behind the Red Devils.

On 3 April 1996, Newcastle lost 4-3 to Liverpool in a match widely regarded as one of the greatest Premier League fixtures of all time. Ferdinand, Ginola and Faustino Asprilla scored for Newcastle, but a brace apiece for Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore clinched the match for Liverpool.

Newcastle's failure in the 1995/96 title race is particularly infamous because of Keegan's notorious Sky Sports interview in which he slammed Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that Newcastle's opponents might roll over too easily against them in the title run-in and said: "I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them, love it!"

In 1996/97, Newcastle once again finished second to Manchester United in the Premier League title race.

Keegan left Newcastle in January 1997 and the club endured a difficult end to the 1990s. However, after Bobby Robson took over early in the 1999/2000 season, the Magpies' fortunes took a turn for the better.

In 2001/02, Newcastle finished fourth in the Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Champions League. In 2002/03, they fared even better, finishing third.

After a fifth-place finish in 2003/04, Robson was sacked by Newcastle in August 2004 following disagreements with the club hierarchy.

A downturn in form and relegation

Shearer retired from playing football in 2006 and businessman Mike Ashley took control of Newcastle United the following year. Initially, he was popular among the Toon Army, socialising and drinking with supporters. He won their trust by appointing Kevin Keegan as manager in January 2008 to replace Sam Allardyce.

The dismissal of Kevin Keegan at the start of the 2008/09 season turned supporters against Ashley and his management team. Despite several pledges to sell the club, Ashley has not been able to make good on this. The club looked set to be sold to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund in 2020, but the move was blocked by the Premier League due to ethical concerns.

On the pitch, the Ashley era has been grim for Newcastle United fans, although there have been moments of optimism.

In 2008/09, Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League, with Shearer unable to save them from the drop after being appointed caretaker manager late in the season. He later criticised Owen for what he perceived as a lack of commitment to the cause during this spell.

Newcastle were promoted in 2009/10. Despite the unpopular sacking of Chris Hughton midway through the 2010/11 season, the Magpies grew under his successor, Alan Pardew. In 2011/12, they finished fifth in the Premier League, above even Chelsea, who won the UEFA Champions League that season.

However, after a quick turnover of managers in John Carver and Steve McClaren alongside a downturn in form on the pitch, Newcastle stagnated over the following years and soon found themselves in danger of the drop again.

Rafael Benitez moves to Tyneside

Rafael Benitez, Newcastle United manager poses with the Championship trophy in 2017

Former Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Valencia and Napoli manager Rafael Benitez was appointed Newcastle manager in March 2016, but was unable to save the club from relegation to the Championship.

The damage had been done with just six wins in their first 28 Premier League games, leaving Benitez with an uphill battle of keeping Newcastle in the top flight with just 10 games to do it.

However, he stayed with the Magpies after their drop to the second tier and led them straight back up again in 2016/17 and stabilised them in the Premier League during the years which followed.

Benitez was a popular figure among Newcastle United supporters, but he was unable to win the cooperation of Ashley during his spell in charge. He left in 2019 to take on a role at China's Dalian Professional with a record of 62 wins in 146 matches in charge of Newcastle United.

Benitez was replaced by boyhood Newcastle fan Steve Bruce, who was previously the manager of rivals Sunderland. Bruce steered Newcastle to a respectable 13th in his first season in charge, but remained largely unpopular for a style of play perceived as too negative by many among the Toon Army.

Newcastle United and the Tyne-Wear derby

Newcastle's main rivals are Sunderland, another historically successful club situated nearby - with Tyne and Wear being the local area named after the rivers that run through Newcastle and Sunderland respectively.

Sunderland have won six top flight titles to Newcastle's four, but have recently spiralled into a period of decline even worse than Newcastle's.

They were relegated to the Championship in 2016/17 and then to League One in 2017/18 - making it the first time the Black Cats have been outside England's top two divisions in their history.

The first iteration of this fixture can be dated all the way back to 1883 and both sets of supporters see the derby as the biggest match the teams play when they face each other.

Perhaps the biggest derbies of them all came in 1990, with a pair of fixtures between the clubs coming in the playoff semifinals for a place in the First Division. Sunderland came out on top over the two legs, but went on to lose the playoff final to Swindon Town that season.

As of 9 January 2021, the head-to-head record in the derby is extremely close. Newcastle have won 53 Tyne-Wear derbies to Sunderland's 51, with 50 draws between the sides.

Newcastle United's fanbase

Newcastle United supporters outside St. James' Park before a match

The Toon Army are a set of supporters known for being particularly demanding, but also passionate and loyal.

Even in their 2009/10 Championship season, Newcastle had an average attendance of 43,388. However, some supporters boycotted matches in 2015 in anti-Ashley protests.

With crowds regularly exceeding 52,000 for Premier League matches at St. James' Park, the Toon boast one of the largest supporter bases in England.

Newcastle is also a one-club city, meaning that local support is not split between two clubs - expanding the Magpies' fanbase even further in the north east of England.

Newcastle United and finances

For the 2018/19 financial year, Newcastle announced after-tax profits of £34.7million, although turnover fell from £178.5m to £176.4m.

It is unlikely that Ashley will be able to win over Newcastle supporters without investing the profits in some marquee signings.

Rumours have been circulating for years about a potential takeover of the club to take it out of Ashley's hands but, as yet, the club has not taken on new ownership.

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