Tag Archives: Newcastle United

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-3 Crystal Palace (August 2014)

Goalscorers: Dwight Gayle 1, Daryl Janmaat 37, Jason Puncheon 48, Rolando Aarons 73, Mike Williamson 88, Wilfried Zaha 90

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Daryl Janmaat (Vurnon Anita 79), Mike Williamson, Remy Cabella, Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko, Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 79), Yoan Gouffran (Rolando Aarons 67), Emmanuel Riviere

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Martin Kelly, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward, Mile Jedinak, Yannick Bolasie (Glenn Murray 83), Jason Puncheon, Marouane Chamakh (Fraizer Campbell 52), Dwight Gayle (Wilfried Zaha 70)

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 49,226

This encounter in late August was between two teams who hadn’t enjoyed positive starts to the 2014-2015 Premier League campaign. Newcastle United had failed to score in their first two matches, whilst Crystal Palace had started without a manager after Tony Pulis’ abrupt departure on the eve of the campaign and two successive defeats. However, they had appointed Neil Warnock on the eve of the game for his second spell at Selhurst Park. It would be a thrilling return.

The visitors made a wonderful start and Dwight Gayle scored the opening goal after just 29 seconds. He was in the right place to finish from close-range after Tim Krul had diverted Marouane Chamakh’s effort onto the post. This followed up a midweek hat-trick for Gayle in the League Cup win over Walsall.

Managed at the time by Alan Pardew, Newcastle knew they needed to end their goalscoring drought; otherwise the natives on Tyneside would get incredibly restless. Sure enough, they levelled eight minutes before the interval. Full-back Daryl Janmaat broke into the box and when his first attempt on-goal was blocked, he followed up swiftly to defeat Julian Speroni and level the scores. It was his first Newcastle goal since joining in the summer from Dutch side Feyenoord.

Only a couple of minutes had passed in the second half before Jason Puncheon restored Palace’s lead. Newcastle backed off Puncheon and it was a fatal error. His volley took a nick off Fabricio Coloccini which was enough to leave goalkeeper Krul stranded and beaten for the second time in the afternoon. It was a nice moment for Puncheon. Doubts had immediately surfaced about his future at the club after Warnock’s appointment. The pair had fallen out the previous season over a missed penalty at Tottenham when Warnock was a TV pundit. An unsavoury post on Twitter followed from the midfielder, earning him a £15,000 fine from the FA for his actions.

Pardew responded by bringing on 18-year-old Rolando Aarons and the Jamaican added some zest to the Newcastle attack. He scored his first senior goal in the 73rd minute, heading home in the penalty area after Scott Dann had failed to clear Remy Cabella’s corner. Aarons then had a big part to play in Newcastle taking the lead. His 88th minute shot hit the bar but fell perfectly for Mike Williamson to tap home his first Magpies’ goal.

However, just when it looked like the points would be staying in the north east, Palace rallied again. In the fifth minute of stoppage-time, Newcastle failed to clear their defensive lines and Wilfried Zaha bashed home an equaliser in his first game back at the club on-loan from Manchester United.

A point apiece was a fair result. Warnock would be sacked by December and he would be replaced by…Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. He took the Eagles’ to their highest league finish in the Premier League era of 10th.

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Iconic Moments: The greatest Premier League day ever? (February 2011)

There have been some spellbinding days in Premier League history but few can match the goal-filled afternoon fans were treated to on Saturday, 5 February 2011.

It started with the lunchtime kick-off between Stoke City and Sunderland. This was usually a fixture with few goals or talking points but there were five goals in this match with Stoke winning 3-2. Robert Huth scored the winner in the dying embers after the Black Cats had led twice. It was a fine comeback from Stoke but it was to be completely outdone in the 3pm kick-offs.

At St James’ Park, Arsenal travelled to a brittle Newcastle United side that were still coming to terms with the transfer deadline day sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool FC. Their lack of confidence was shown from the outset. Theo Walcott scored inside of a minute and Arsenal incredibly led 4-0 after just 21 minutes. However, a red card for Abou Diaby shortly after the restart changed the course of the match. Joey Barton scored two penalties and with a Leon Best strike, Newcastle had made it back to 3-4. The seconds were ticking away when Cheick Tiote scored an unbelievable equaliser to make it 4-4. It wasn’t just the greatest comeback of the season. It was the greatest comeback in Premier League history.

Arsenal dropped two silly points but there were no such problems for Manchester City. Carlos Tevez hit a first half hat-trick as they brushed aside West Bromwich Albion 3-0. It was a 13th defeat in 18 matches for the Baggies and 24 hours later, they placed manager Roberto Di Matteo on gardening leave.

Louis Saha helped himself to four goals in an end-to-end encounter between Everton and Blackpool. Despite the Tangerines’ leading 3-2 midway through the second half, Saha’s contribution nullified their best efforts. Everton won 5-3. There were seven goals at the DW Stadium where Wigan Athletic edged out Blackburn Rovers 4-3. James McCarthy scored the pick of the goals in this thriller.

There was late drama at White Hart Lane. Despite Bolton Wanderers dominating most of the second half, they were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur. Niko Kranjcar scored an injury-time winner. At Villa Park, the goals kept coming. Kyle Walker scored his first Premier League goal but Aston Villa were held to a 2-2 draw by Fulham.

In seven matches, there had been an incredible 38 goals and three more would follow in one of the most surprising results of the season. Manchester United arrived at Molineux for the late kick-off still unbeaten and against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that were odds-on favourites to be relegated. Nani gave the visitors’ a lead but Wolves fought back superbly. George Elokobi levelled matters and Kevin Doyle’s header was good enough for Wolves to beat the league leaders 2-1.

It remains the highest-scoring afternoon since the Premier League went to 20 teams in 1995 and it will take some total to eclipse what has to be seen as one of the greatest days in Premier League history.

Premier League Files: Matt Ritchie

Premier League Career: Portsmouth (2010), AFC Bournemouth (2015-2016), Newcastle United (2017-PRESENT)

After the briefest taste of Premier League football with Portsmouth in 2010, Matt Ritchie was part of AFC Bournemouth’s historic first campaign at this level and is back in the top-flight this season as he looks to play a role in keeping Newcastle United away from relegation.

Ritchie got his big break with Portsmouth. A part of their academy since the age of 13, Ritchie made his Premier League in April 2010. It was largely down to the club’s crippling injury list and the huge financial strain they were in too. He played 79 minutes in the defeat to Wigan Athletic and admitted it was a dream come true to make his debut for the club where he’d done all of his education with.

It looked like he was set for a bright future at Fratton Park but soon had a disagreement with new manager Steve Cotterill and was frozen out of his plans. He was loaned out to Swindon Town, making 16 appearances before the Robins’ agreed to make the loan move a permanent deal. Although Swindon were relegated to League Two at the end of the campaign, he was awarded the club’s Player of the Season award.

Ritchie remained a Swindon player until January 2013 and worked under Paolo di Canio, who was the club’s manager. His performances raised eyebrows with higher-profile clubs and AFC Bournemouth were among those admirers. Di Canio insisted he would not be sold, claiming he was worth £2 million. In March 2012, Ritchie won the League Two Player of the Year and was one of Swindon’s two players in the PFA Team of the Year.

Bournemouth eventually got their man in January 2013, after Swindon’s board decided their offer was too good to turn down. Di Canio was furious with the hierarchy and ultimately, Ritchie’s departure would turn out to be the catalyst for his exit from the County Ground. Ritchie joined a team in peak form and his first goal for the club in a 4-1 win over Bury starting a run of eight successive victories, shooting the club towards the Championship.

In 2014-2015, Matt won international recognition from Scotland. Despite being born in Gosport, Ritchie qualified to play for the Scots through his Scottish father and he made his debut in a friendly match against Northern Ireland. In club football, he had a sizzling campaign, scoring 11 times and setting up 13 further strikes for his teammates. Bournemouth went up as champions and would be playing Premier League football for the first time in their history – just six years after being close to relegation to the Conference.

His first top-flight strike was a venomous volley to help the Cherries beat Sunderland 2-0 in September 2015 and earn them their first home win in the Premier League. A month later, Ritchie scored the club’s fastest goal of the season, netting inside a minute against Tottenham Hotspur although it ended in a horrid 5-1 home defeat.

Bournemouth finished 16th in their first Premier League campaign, with Matt chipping in with four goals, so it was a surprise to see him drop down a division to Newcastle United in July 2016, signing a five-year deal to move to Tyneside. He scored 16 goals in all competitions, only being outscored by Dwight Gayle as Newcastle comfortably earned promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

As of January 2018, Ritchie has featured 23 times for Newcastle in the Premier League and has created more chances for his teammates than any other Magpies’ player this season. He has the quality to change matches with dangerous crosses and inch-perfect passes. However, he hasn’t scored yet this season and it will help Rafa Benitez out in their relegation battle to see him rediscover his goalscoring touch as the season progresses.

Great Goals: Wayne Rooney – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Newcastle United (April 2005)

In January 2017, Wayne Rooney overtook Sir Bobby Charlton to become Manchester United’s record goalscorer. It was an amazing feat for one of the greatest English players of his generation.

One of his early goals came in a Premier League match at home to Newcastle United. The Red Devils were 1-0 down 10 minutes into the second half and looked short of attacking input. Rooney was experiencing a frustrating afternoon of his own. He had picked up a knock in the first half and looked like he might be substituted. He answered those doubts in stunning style.

Rooney was having an argument with the referee Neale Barry over not getting an earlier free-kick. He paused from this conversation and latched onto a defensive clearance, producing a confident and cracking volley into the top corner of the net. It was one of the best strikes of the 2004-2005 season and another sign of money well spent by Sir Alex Ferguson.

It was a pure hit and a goal that kick-started Manchester United’s afternoon. Wes Brown’s header in the last 15 minutes ensured the home side won the day 2-1.

Premier League Rewind: 23rd-24th October 2004

Results: Norwich City 2-3 Everton, Aston Villa 2-0 Fulham, Chelsea 4-0 Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace 3-0 West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool FC 2-0 Charlton Athletic, Southampton 0-0 Birmingham City, Middlesbrough 1-1 Portsmouth, Newcastle United 4-3 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal

Arsenal went into the weekend of the 23rd-24th October 2004 having reached an extraordinary 49 Premier League matches unbeaten. To achieve the amazing 50-game mark, they would have to avoid defeat at Old Trafford. Beat Manchester United and it would knock Sir Alex Ferguson’s side out of the title race by the end of October. United had won just three of their first nine matches in 2004-2005 and defeat here would leave them 11 points off the pace. They couldn’t afford to let that happen.

Like the previous season’s game at the Theatre of Dreams, it was a tetchy, steamy affair with some unpleasant tackles. Ruud van Nistelrooy would later be banned for violent conduct but the game was decided in the last 15 minutes. Wayne Rooney went down under very minimal contact, if any from Sol Campbell. Mike Riley pointed to the penalty spot and after his miss in the same fixture last season, van Nistelrooy saw off those demons to convert the spot-kick. With Arsenal pushing forward in the dying embers, they were caught out on the counter-attack. Alan Smith squared the ball for Rooney to finish the match off. Manchester United won 2-0 and Arsenal’s historic run was over.

The scuffles continued in the tunnel afterwards. Both sets of teams squared up to each other as did both managers with Ferguson being hit by a slice of pizza from an Arsenal player in an episode later dubbed as “Pizzagate” by the tabloids. The identity was not revealed until 2017, when Cesc Fabregas confessed to being the pizza thrower on the Sky One panel show ‘A League of Their Own.’

Earlier that day, Newcastle United and Manchester City played out a barnstorming second half which saw seven goals shared between the sides. Craig Bellamy, reportedly at war with Newcastle manager Graeme Souness over his substitution at Charlton a week earlier, scored the winning goal.

Arsenal’s defeat allowed Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to close the gap at the top of the table to two points. They thrashed Blackburn Rovers 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. Eidur Gudjohnsen scored a hat-trick in Chelsea’s biggest win of the season to-date. It was a second successive 4-0 defeat for Blackburn and plenty to ponder for their manager; the former Wales boss Mark Hughes.

Everton continued their fine start to the campaign and remained in the top three with a 3-2 win in the opening game of the weekend away at Norwich City. Duncan Ferguson scored the winning goal after the Canaries showed their character to recover from a 2-0 deficit. Fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion met at Selhurst Park where two goals from Andy Johnson steered Palace to a welcome 3-0 victory and signalled the end of Gary Megson’s tenure at The Hawthorns.

Elsewhere, Bolton Wanderers remained in the top four after winning 2-1 away at White Hart Lane over Tottenham Hotspur and John Arne Riise scored his first Premier League goal in 20 months as Liverpool FC made it four successive Anfield victories in beating Charlton Athletic 2-0.

What else happened in October 2004?

  • Militants in Iraq behead British hostage Ken Bigley. He had been kidnapped on the 16th September.
  • Tony Blair confirms his intention to resign as Prime Minister during his next term should Labour win the next General Election.
  • One of BBC Radio 1’s original DJ’s, John Peel dies in Peru aged 65 after suffering a sudden heart attack.
  • The first European Constitution is established after senior European figures sign the Treaty and Final Act in Rome.
  • A team of explorers reach the bottom of Krubera Cave in Georgia which is the world’s deepest cave.
  • 30 people, mainly Israeli tourists are killed when two suicide bombs explode in the Red Sea resort of Taba, Egypt.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 3-3 Newcastle United (May 2004)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 7, James Beattie 19, Lee Bowyer 35, Titus Bramble 39 OG, Leandre Griffit 88, Darren Ambrose 90

Teams:

Southampton: Alan Blayney, Stephen Crainey, Claus Lundekvam (Darren Kenton 36), Fitz Hall, Paul Telfer, David Prutton, Fabrice Fernandes (Leandre Griffit 81), Yoann Folly, Anders Svensson, James Beattie, Brett Ormerod (Kevin Phillips 74)

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Oliver Bernard, Titus Bramble (Michael Bridges 90), Aaron Hughes, Steven Caldwell, Gary Speed, Darren Ambrose, Lee Bowyer, Kieron Dyer (Laurent Robert 75), Shola Ameobi, Alan Shearer

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 31,815

The final issue of the 2003-2004 season left up for grabs was who was going to finish in fourth position and therefore, claim the final qualifying spot for the following season’s UEFA Champions League. Newcastle United arrived at Southampton off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to already relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers. They had to win at St Mary’s to force a final day showdown at Anfield with their qualification rivals, Liverpool FC.

Newcastle made the better start against a Saints’ side that were cruising towards the end of the season. Shola Ameobi showed greater strength in a tussle with Claus Lundekvam and once he won that, he finished coolly into the bottom corner past Premier League debutant Alan Blayney in the Southampton goal. Blayney was appearing because a virus had struck down no.1 keeper Antti Niemi.

Southampton had nothing to lose and it wasn’t like Newcastle had the best defensive record, so this match always looked like it was going to promise goals. Three more were scored in the first half to ensure the sides went it 2-2 at the break. First, James Beattie tapped in after Shay Given failed to hold onto Anders Svensson’s shot. 10 minutes before half-time, Sir Bobby Robson’s team were back infront. Lee Bowyer arrived late in the box to smack a strike past Blayney. It was only Bowyer’s second Premier League goal of the season since joining from West Ham United in the summer of 2003.

Southampton were the better team though for the majority of the first half, especially after getting onto level terms and they ensured that is how the teams’ would be at the interval. Fabrice Fernandes fired a cross into the box which clumsily went into the net off the leg of Titus Bramble. Once again, defensive errors were costing Newcastle dear as it had for most of their league campaign.

The goals might have dried up in the second half but the action certainly didn’t. Steven Caldwell crashed a header against the crossbar and when Darren Ambrose’s drive from distance ended up with a similar outcome, the travelling Toon Army support must have begun to think it wasn’t going to be their night. More so when Blayney made remarkable saves to deny Alan Shearer and Bowyer.

Then, with three minutes left, Southampton sealed the Magpies’ fate. Substitute Leandre Griffit shook off Oliver Bernard and squeezed the ball in-between Given’s legs for his first Premier League goal. Newcastle were never going to score two goals in stoppage-time, were they? They managed one, with Ambrose drilling one home with basically the last kick of the match but it finished 3-3 and that sealed Liverpool’s Champions League spot. Robson would last another five matches before being dismissed in late August 2004. Southampton lost their final match of the season at Charlton and would ultimately finish in 12th position.

The Managers: Chris Hughton

Premier League Clubs Managed: Newcastle United (2010), Norwich City (2012-2014), Brighton & Hove Albion (2017-PRESENT)

Chris Hughton has had to work incredibly hard to make his mark in Premier League management. Having tasted the big time previously with Newcastle United and Norwich City, he has done fantastically well to not only guide Brighton & Hove Albion into the Premier League but to keep them closer to mid-table during their first campaign at this level.

Hughton has often gone under the radar but his loyalty towards players, simple tactics and resistance to make dozens of changes in rotation every week seem to be a key to his success. He got his chance after many years working as a coach for many managers at Tottenham Hotspur.

He made a mark in his playing days too. In 1979, he became the first mixed race player to represent the Republic of Ireland national team. The duration of his playing days were going to be with Tottenham and in fact, his whole career kicking footballs for a living were in the capital.

Cup success with Spurs

Hughton came through the youth system at Tottenham Hotspur and made his debut for the club in the 1979 League Cup against Manchester United. He made the left-back position his own during 13 years at White Hart Lane and is often considered by Spurs’ fans as one of their finest full-backs.

Although league championships would elude him, Chris would enjoy cup success with Spurs, triumphing in the FA Cup in both 1981 and 1982, plus the UEFA Cup in 1984. He nearly won the FA Cup three times but was on the losing side in 1987 when Tottenham lost 3-2 to Coventry City.

In all competitions, he played just two games short of 400 and scored 19 goals. In November 1990, he moved to West Ham United on a free transfer as cover for the injured Julian Dicks. He spent two seasons at ‘The Academy of Football’ before winding down his playing days with Brentford. Hughton hung up his boots at the end of the 1992-1993 season, aged 34.

For the Republic of Ireland, he won 53 caps between 1979 and 1991, starting all three group games of their first major tournament, the 1988 European Championships in West Germany. Hughton also went to the World Cup in 1990 but didn’t figure in the historic Irish run to the quarter-finals. By that stage, he was the back-up defender to Steve Staunton.

Learning the ropes

Just five months after his playing retirement, Chris was back in the game in a coaching capacity. Appointed by Ossie Ardiles in October 1993 to join his backroom team at Tottenham, Hughton remained with the club for 14 years and worked under seven permanent Premier League managers, including Gerry Francis, George Graham and Glenn Hoddle.

He looked after the Under-21 and reserve teams before becoming more of a prominent first-team coach in 2001. He left the club alongside Martin Jol following the latter’s sacking after a UEFA Cup loss at home to Getafe in 2007.

In February 2008, he joined up with Newcastle United as a first-team coach, working primarily as a defensive coach. In his first match on the touchline alongside Kevin Keegan, his new club beat his old side 4-1.

When Keegan quit in September 2008, Hughton experienced some caretaker work with Newcastle alongside the appointments of Joe Kinnear as a permanent manager and Alan Shearer’s brief interim role at the end of the campaign.

With Newcastle down in the Championship following relegation from the Premier League in 2009, Hughton was appointed caretaker for a third time as owner Mike Ashley had put the club up for sale. Once the Magpies had made an excellent start to the season and Hughton won the first two Manager of the Month awards, he was reluctantly given the permanent role as Newcastle manager.

Ashley might never have been convinced but Hughton won over the home faithful which sometimes is difficult to do. They lost just four times in 46 games, winning promotion in record time and going through the campaign unbeaten at St James’ Park.

Utmost highs and crushing lows

Hughton brought Sol Campbell and Dan Gosling into the club on free transfers for Newcastle’s return to the Premier League in 2010 but the only arrival for a cash deal was Nottingham Forest full-back James Perch which suggested again that the owner was not totally happy with the manager he had in-charge.

If Ashley was looking for an excuse to sack Hughton, he had to bide his time. Newcastle had some utmost highs in their early weeks back in the top-flight. They included shock away wins at Everton and Arsenal, plus a 5-1 Tyne & Wear Derby humbling of Sunderland.

Around this time, rumblings had emerged that Hughton was being threatened with the sack with the club reluctant to give him a new contract. After a 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in early December, he became the first manager in the 2010-2011 Premier League season to lose his job, despite the club sitting 11th in the table. The sacking was badly received by many Newcastle fans and the players who were desperate for Chris to keep his job.

Returning to top-flight level in Norfolk

Hughton returned to management in June 2011, taking the vacant position at relegated Birmingham City. As they’d won the League Cup in the previous season, he got the opportunity to manage in Europe and earned 10 points in the UEFA Europa League group stage although they were eliminated at this stage.

They reached the fifth round of the FA Cup before bowing out to eventual winners Chelsea and guided the Blues to a fourth-place finish in the Championship. Disappointment would follow in the play-offs with defeat in the semi-finals to Blackpool over two legs.

However, Chris had proved his Newcastle stint wasn’t a fluke and Norwich City showed considerable interest once it became clear they were going to lose their manager, Paul Lambert to Aston Villa.

He took over at Carrow Road in June 2012 and steered Norwich to famous home victories over Arsenal and eventual champions Manchester United, plus a 3-2 away win on the final day at Manchester City. There was also a 10-game undefeated run which took the Canaries as high as seventh in the table just before Christmas. Although there was a tricky run in the Spring, Norwich finished a respectable 11th in the final standings, a place higher than the previous campaign under Lambert.

Plenty of money was spent that summer to improve the squad with the likes of Leroy Fer, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Nathan Redmond arriving in the summer of 2013. Results didn’t come though consistently enough and there were few high points. A 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in February 2014 was the main highlight. However, the fans had lost confidence in their manager and so had the board. Despite being five points clear of the drop zone in early April, Norwich elected to part company with Chris by mutual consent. Academy boss Neil Adams took over and the club ultimately were relegated due to a difficult fixture run-in which included defeats to Liverpool FC, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Rebuilding at Brighton

The 2013-2014 season was probably the first campaign where he’d underachieved as a manager but Hughton would be back before the year was out, succeeding Sami Hyypia as Brighton & Hove Albion boss.

Brighton were struggling near the foot of the Championship table but he managed to stabilise the Seagulls, keeping them in the second tier, then taking them to the play-offs in 2015-2016 and automatic promotion last season.

Home wins against West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and Watford have shown Brighton are tough to beat at home in their debut Premier League campaign and they concluded the 2017 Christmas and New Year period in a positive 12th place – far beyond their expectations.

As a manager, Hughton has said previously: “As a manager, I’ve got to make sure they have the correct training sessions. That they are disciplined and that creates a good environment.”

He gets about his work quietly but impressively too and bigger jobs are likely to come his way in the future.

Iconic Moments: Keegan resigns (January 1997)

He was seen as the man who could do no wrong for Newcastle United. Kevin Keegan was the fans’ favourite on Tyneside. He has sent them home with plenty of joy as a player and produced many memorable moments during his five years as manager.

It was an absolute bombshell for the players and supporters when on 9th January 1997, Keegan decided to resign as manager. That was despite Newcastle being still in the race for the Premier League title and possessing hopes of success in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

Form had tailed off towards the end of 1996. Newcastle did go on a seven-game winless sequence but were still fourth in the Premier League and within striking distance of league leaders Liverpool FC. Less than 10 days earlier, they’d battered Tottenham Hotspur 7-1 at St James’ Park. Keegan’s last match in charge had been a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round at First Division Charlton Athletic from which he walked out of a press conference after the match. This announcement still came as a shock to all though.

A prepared statement was read out from the club’s Durham training complex, which read: “Newcastle United Football Club today (9th January 1997) announced the resignation of manager Kevin Keegan. Kevin informed the board of his wish to resign at the end of the season, having decided he no longer wishes to continue in football management at this stage in his life. Following lengthy discussions of which the board attempted to persuade Kevin to change his mind, both parties eventually agreed that the best route forward was for the club to, reluctantly; accept his resignation with immediate effect.

Keegan would return to the hotseat later on in his career, first with Fulham a year later before spells managing the England national team, Manchester City and another brief spell at Newcastle in 2008.

His teams were exciting, enthralling and energising to watch. They were “The Entertainers.”

Iconic Moments: Keegan loses it live on Sky (April 1996)

In 1996, Newcastle United looked on course to become Premier League champions, just three years after returning to the top-flight of English football. Under the guidance of Kevin Keegan, the Magpies’ were playing some of the best football around, thrilling their supporters and also the neutral fan. They were even christened ‘The Entertainers’ by Sky Sports.

In January, they beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 and put themselves 12 points clear of the chasing pack. Surely, the biggest prize in English football was on its way to Tyneside? Not if Manchester United had anything to do with it. Alex Ferguson’s side went on a spectacular run of form, winning 10 out of their next 11 games and Newcastle started to wobble. They lost at West Ham United, Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers and were edged out in a 4-3 epic by Liverpool FC at Anfield. Now, they were playing catch-up.

In mid-April, Manchester United were pushed all the way by their rivals in the Pennies, Leeds United. Leeds went down to 10 men early on, yet looked the more likely side to score before Roy Keane broke their resistance. Afterwards, Ferguson turned the heat on Keegan by making comments about the performance the opposition had put in at Old Trafford. He said: “Why aren’t they in the top six? They’re cheating their manager, that’s all it is. When they come to play Newcastle, you’ll notice the difference. It’s sad to say that but I’m very disappointed in Leeds.”

12 days later, Newcastle travelled to Elland Road needing a win to stay in the title race. Leeds battered Keegan’s side early on, hitting the woodwork twice and forcing Shaka Hislop into some decent saves. Newcastle dug in, scored a goal from Keith Gillespie and held on for a 1-0 victory – their third in a row. Keegan then went live on Sky and lost his temper, providing everyone with one of the greatest rants in football history.

“When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds, and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce…I’ve kept really quiet but I’ll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that. You can tell him now, we’re still fighting for this title and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something.”

“And I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”

Kevin Keegan had blown it and so had Newcastle. They drew at Nottingham Forest three nights later and Manchester United ended up Premier League champions by four points. Newcastle have never come close to winning the championship since.

Premier League Files: Shaka Hislop

Premier League Career: Newcastle United (1995-1998), West Ham United (1998-2002) (2005-2006), Portsmouth (2003-2005)

Shaka Hislop spent the best part of a decade in the Premier League and was a fine shot-stopper and an all-round strong goalkeeper. He had to see off competition from many goalkeeper rivals at all of his clubs and often prevailed too against the challenges. Hislop was part of the Newcastle United squad that finished runners-up to Manchester United in back-to-back campaigns during the mid-90s.

Hislop was a tall goalkeeper and this is why he was thrust into goal during his schoolboy days, despite wanting to play as a centre-forward. Shortly after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University in the United States, Hislop was signing professional forms with Reading. The Berkshire club came very close to a Premier League spot whilst Shaka kept goal at Elm Park but narrowly missed out; losing 4-3 to Bolton Wanderers in the 1995 First Division play-off final. He became a fans’ favourite though and after a slightly unconvincing first few months, he grew in stature and was voted Player of the Year by his colleagues twice.

Reading’s near-miss in 1995 meant a lot of their players moved on and Hislop was no different. He joined Newcastle United for £1.5 million. He immediately took the number one goalkeeping jersey off former regular Pavel Srnicek and kept clean sheets in three of his first four matches. An injury though away to Chelsea in December saw Srnicek thrust back into duty and even though Shaka regained fitness by the season’s conclusion, Kevin Keegan stuck with the Czech in-goal.

1996-1997 was almost a roles reversal. It was Srnicek who started the season between the posts but a number of high-profile mistakes, including against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers saw him dropped in favour of Hislop. Newcastle’s 7-1 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in December 1996 was only his second league start of that season. Yet, he stayed in goal through Kenny Dalglish’s early tenure as the Magpies’ beat Arsenal and Liverpool FC on the final day to second spot in the table and therefore earned qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Dalglish brought Shay Given into the club in the summer of 1997 and after a frustrating season playing second fiddle to the new arrival, Hislop left Tyneside on a free transfer in 1998 for pastures new at West Ham United.

His time at West Ham under Harry Redknapp was excellent and probably produced the best form of his career. Hislop won the club’s “Hammer of the Year” in his very first season and a stunning save from Chris Armstrong’s header at White Hart Lane in 1999 was one of 10 nominations for the Premier League’s Save of the Decade at the 10 Seasons awards. A broken leg in February 2000 stalled his career but he continued to produce strong performances on his return. In the summer of 2001, new Hammers’ manager Glenn Roeder snapped up David James from Aston Villa and it looked like Hislop’s time at Upton Park was over. However, James tore knee ligaments whilst on England duty in August, so Hislop would make another 12 appearances before David was ready to return in December 2001. Hislop would move to Portsmouth in the summer of 2002.

It was a drop down a division but he was reunited with Redknapp and was named in the First Division’s Team of the Year as Pompey won the title to win promotion to the Premier League. Hislop would hold down the goalkeeper’s position for Portsmouth’s first two Premier League campaigns, despite competition from the likes of Jamie Ashdown and Konstantinos Chalkias. He was released in June 2005 and rejoined West Ham United for one final Premier League season, featuring 27 times in all competitions and keeping seven clean sheets. He would also save a penalty from Sami Hyypia in the FA Cup final shootout but it wasn’t enough as Liverpool FC beat the Londoners on spot-kicks after their epic Cardiff final.

There was one final huge accomplishment for Hislop and that was to play in the World Cup finals. Trinidad & Tobago’s shock qualification for the tournament in Germany in 2006 meant he would represent his nation at the world’s festival of football. When regular first-choice keeper Kelvin Jack suffered a calf injury in the warm-up before their first match against Sweden, Hislop was called up to play and kept a clean sheet against the likes of Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Dortmund. In total, Shaka would play 26 times for the Twin Island nation, captaining them five times.

A back injury suffered whilst playing in the MLS would curtail his career. Hislop retired in August 2007. Since retirement, he has gone into the media industry, working mainly as a commentator for ESPN and has also written weekly blogs on the MLS for the Guardian website.

Often underrated throughout his career, Shaka Hislop was a calming and reliable presence between the sticks for all of the Premier League sides he figured for.

Seasonal Records: 2001-2002

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2001-2002 Premier League campaign, as Arsenal scored in every single game to end Manchester United’s three-year stranglehold on the prize.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 26 9 3 79 36 +43 87
2 Liverpool FC 38 24 8 6 67 30 +37 80
3 Manchester United 38 24 5 9 87 45 +42 77
4 Newcastle United 38 21 8 9 74 52 +22 71
5 Leeds United 38 18 12 8 53 37 +16 66
6 Chelsea 38 17 13 8 66 38 +28 64
7 West Ham United 38 15 8 15 48 57 -9 53
8 Aston Villa 38 12 14 12 46 47 -1 50
9 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 49 53 -4 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 10 16 55 51 +4 46
11 Middlesbrough 38 12 9 17 46 54 -8 45
12 Southampton 38 10 9 17 35 47 -12 45
13 Fulham 38 10 14 14 36 44 -8 44
14 Charlton Athletic 38 10 14 14 38 49 -11 44
15 Everton 38 11 10 17 45 57 -12 43
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 13 16 44 62 -18 40
17 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 29 51 -22 40
18 Ipswich Town 38 9 9 20 41 64 -23 36
19 Derby County 38 8 6 24 33 63 -30 30
20 Leicester City 38 5 13 20 30 64 -34 28

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1001
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Ipswich Town (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Intertoto Cup), Fulham (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 13 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 21 games (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 16 games (Leicester City)
Longest losing run 7 games (Derby County)
Highest attendance 67,638 (Manchester United vs. Middlesbrough)
Lowest attendance 15,415 (Leicester City vs. Middlesbrough)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Craig Bellamy (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Robert Pires (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Steve Finnan, Rio Ferdinand, Sami Hyypia, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Ryan Giggs, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Premier League Goal of the Season Dennis Bergkamp (Newcastle United vs. ARSENAL)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Robbie Fowler Leicester City vs. Liverpool FC 1-4 20th October 2001
Paul Kitson Charlton Athletic vs. West Ham United 4-4 19th November 2001
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Southampton 6-1 22nd December 2001
Robbie Fowler Bolton Wanderers vs. Leeds United 0-3 26th December 2001
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 29th January 2002
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 13th March 2002
Fredi Bobic Bolton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 6th April 2002

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
2= Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 23
2= Alan Shearer Newcastle United 23
2= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 23
5 Michael Owen Liverpool FC 19
6 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 17
7 Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC & Leeds United 15
8= Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea 14
8= Marian Pahars Southampton 14
10= Andy Cole Manchester United & Blackburn Rovers 13
10= Michael Ricketts Bolton Wanderers 13
12= Freddie Ljungberg Arsenal 12
12= Darius Vassell Aston Villa 12
12= James Beattie Southampton 12
12= Juan Pablo Angel Aston Villa 12
16= David Beckham Manchester United 11
16= Mark Viduka Leeds United 11
16= Freddie Kanoute West Ham United 11
16= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 11
16= Kevin Phillips Sunderland 11
21= Gus Poyet Tottenham Hotspur 10
21= Jermain Defoe West Ham United 10
21= Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 10
21= Matt Jansen Blackburn Rovers 10
25 Robert Pires Arsenal 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham United 14th October 2001
Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002
Manchester United 6-1 Southampton 22nd December 2001
Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town 11th May 2002
Manchester United 5-0 Derby County 12th December 2001
Everton 5-0 West Ham United 29th September 2001
Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers 18th August 2001
Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland 29th December 2001
Newcastle United 6-2 Everton 29th March 2002
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 23rd December 2001

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham United 14th October 2001
8 Newcastle United 6-2 Everton 29th March 2002
8 Tottenham Hotspur 3-5 Manchester United 29th September 2001
8 West Ham United 3-5 Manchester United 16th March 2002
8 Charlton Athletic 4-4 West Ham United 19th November 2001
7 Manchester United 6-1 Southampton 22nd December 2001
7 Arsenal 4-3 Everton 11th May 2002
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Blackburn Rovers 8th May 2002
7 Leeds United 3-4 Manchester United 30th March 2002
7 Newcastle United 4-3 Manchester United 15th September 2001
7 Leeds United 3-4 Newcastle United 22nd December 2001
7 Derby County 3-4 Everton 23rd March 2002
6 Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002
6 Chelsea 5-1 West Ham United 20th January 2002
6 Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 23rd December 2001
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Derby County 3rd November 2001
6 Arsenal 2-4 Charlton Athletic 4th November 2001
6 Chelsea 2-4 Southampton 1st January 2002
6 Arsenal 3-3 Blackburn Rovers 20th October 2001
6 Southampton 3-3 Ipswich Town 24th October 2001

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Tommy Williamson Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 4 months, 17 days 11th May 2002
Tommy Wright Leicester City 0-2 Leeds United 17 years, 5 months, 23 days 23rd March 2002
Robert Huth Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa 17 years, 8 months, 23 days 11th May 2002
Stewart Downing Ipswich Town 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 9 months, 2 days 24th April 2002
Darren Bent Ipswich Town 1-2 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 9 months, 12 days 18th November 2001
David Murphy Middlesbrough 2-1 Fulham 17 years, 11 months, 20 days 19th February 2002
Scott McDonald Southampton 1-3 Aston Villa 18 years, 1 month, 3 days 24th September 2001
Darren Ambrose Arsenal 2-0 Ipswich Town 18 years, 1 month, 23 days 21st April 2002
Gary Twigg Sunderland 1-1 Derby County 18 years, 1 month, 22 days 11th May 2002
Carlton Cole Chelsea 3-0 Everton 18 years, 5 months, 25 days 6th April 2002

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Raimond van der Gouw Manchester United 0-0 Charlton Athletic 39 years, 1 month, 17 days 11th May 2002
Kevin Poole Everton 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 38 years, 8 months, 11 days 1st April 2002
David Seaman Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal 38 years, 7 months, 19 days 8th May 2002
Mark Hughes Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Fulham 38 years, 6 months, 9 days 11th May 2002
Nigel Winterburn West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 38 years, 5 months 11th May 2002
Peter Schmeichel Middlesbrough 2-1 Aston Villa 38 years, 4 months, 19 days 6th April 2002
Lee Dixon Arsenal 4-3 Everton 38 years, 1 month, 24 days 11th May 2002
Gary McAllister Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town 37 years, 4 months, 16 days 11th May 2002
Gudni Bergsson West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 36 years, 9 months, 20 days 11th May 2002
Denis Irwin Manchester United 0-0 Charlton Athletic 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 11th May 2002

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 18
1= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 18
3 Edwin van der Sar Fulham 15
4 Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 13
5 Dean Kiely Charlton Athletic 12
6= David Seaman Arsenal 10
6= Thomas Sorensen Sunderland 10
8= Fabien Barthez Manchester United 9
8= Shay Given Newcastle United 9
8= David James West Ham United 9

Premier League Rewind: 29th-30th January 2008

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Fulham, Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan Athletic, Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham City, Chelsea 1-0 Reading, Derby County 1-1 Manchester City, West Ham United 1-0 Liverpool FC, Everton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United 2-0 Portsmouth

This midweek round of Premier League fixtures during the 2007-2008 season saw a paltry return of just 12 goals in nine matches. Defences most definitely came out on top but that doesn’t mean to say it didn’t provide some exciting moments.

At this stage of the season, it was Arsenal who were top of the table and favourites to regain the Premier League for the first time since 2004. The Gunners’ hosted a Newcastle United side that had just undergone a change in management. Kevin Keegan was back in the dugout, 11 years after abruptly walking out on the club in his first stint. His Newcastle team were nowhere near as good as the one he left behind and they were easily beaten 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium with Emmanuel Adebayor, Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas all finding the target.

Defending champions Manchester United kept the pressure up on Arsene Wenger’s side the following evening with some more individual brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo. His two goals in the opening 13 minutes sunk Portsmouth 2-0 at Old Trafford, including a free-kick which is among the best the league has ever seen.

Chelsea kept their title hopes flickering with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Reading, who after their near-miss with European football the previous season, looked destined for a relegation scrap this time around. Michael Ballack’s goal in the 32nd minute proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The race for the top four was hotting up and Liverpool FC had work to do. Rafa Benitez’s side had a wretched January, failing to win a single match and collecting just three points from four games. That run continued with a late 1-0 defeat at Upton Park to mid-table West Ham United. Mark Noble’s stoppage-time penalty consigned Liverpool FC to only a third league defeat of the season.

Luckily for Liverpool, their rivals for the top four spots didn’t take full advantage. Everton were held to a goalless draw by Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, whilst Manchester City required an equaliser from Daniel Sturridge to rescue a 1-1 draw away at bottom-placed Derby County. The point was a rare high point in Derby’s wretched campaign which saw him muster just one victory all season in the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Sunderland improved their chances of beating the drop as they defeated Birmingham City 2-0 at the Stadium of Light and Middlesbrough’s 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic moved them into the reaches of mid-table and kept Wigan firmly in danger. Bolton Wanderers and Fulham played out an uneventful 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium.

What else happened in January 2008?

  • Due to the Writers Guild of America strike, the Golden Globes awards ceremony is cancelled. A one-hour news conference is held by NBC to reveal the winners.
  • The US election race hots up with Joe Biden, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani all dropping out of contention.
  • Aged 59, Jeremy Beadle, famous for “Beadle’s About” and “You’ve Been Framed” dies after contracting a bout of pneumonia.
  • ITV’s flagship news programme, News at Ten returns with Sir Trevor McDonald and Julie Etchingham hosting the revived bulletin.
  • Tower Colliery, the UK’s oldest continuously working deep-coal mine closes for the last time.
  • Labour’s Peter Hain resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions over irregular donations.
  • Cyprus and Malta are the latest countries to adopt the Euro as their national currency.