Nicknamed the Magpies, these Geordies have picked up a few shiny objects over the years in the form of trophies, but the shiniest cup of all – the Premier League trophy – continues to evade them, despite being pipped to the post twice in the nineties.
With a squad fresh including some top French talent, as well as a few resident Geordie boys, Newcastle continue to mix it with the best of them in England’s top flight, despite a few nervy seasons spent flirting with the drop zone.
History in the Premier League
An equal number of highs and lows defines Newcastle’s stay in the Premier League. With the fans always on edge about either winning the championship or falling through the trapdoor into the division below, life up north is anything but boring.
Under the guidance of legendary England centre-forward Kevin Keegan (now minus the famous mullet), Newcastle twice finished as runners-up to Manchester United between ’95 and ‘97, despite only gaining promotion to the top flight a couple of seasons earlier.
While the Magpies dropped down a division back in 2009, they rebounded straight back the following year.
The club has also managed to gain one accolade, despite never winning the league: Kev’s quote of “I will love it if we beat them. Love it!” was voted the best quote in Premier League history.
The manager: McClaren’s Magpies
Coming in at the start of the 2015-16 season with high hopes, it’s quickly turned to sour grapes for the fans in the North East.
Despite flashes of brilliance including a 6-2 win over Norwich, McClaren has largely struggled to replicate the title-contending form that the footballing world has seen previously, as he took Derby County to the brink of promotion to the top tier of English football.
However, Steve’s CV says that he knows that he’s doing in the dugout, with successes at Middlesbrough before tackling one of the toughest jobs in football – England manager.
McClaren and co. need to channel the spirit of Shearer if they’re to bring back the glory days to Tyneside however, with the current crop of players fast becoming more used to the bottom half of the table rather than the top.
Newcastle have had some major shirt-sellers on their books through the years, most notably the formidable Alan Shearer. A local lad, he ‘came home’ after a successful spell with Blackburn Rovers – where he won the Premier League – and departed NUFC after a decade, becoming the league’s record goal scorer in the process.
Andy Cole has also donned the coveted number nine shirt, while even Michael Owen enjoyed a stint at the club after a spell in sunny Spain with Real Madrid. But are any of the current squad members fit to scrub Alan’s boots?
Signed part way through the 2015-16 season to bring some much-needed stability to the midfield, this England international has an almost unlimited range of passes in his arsenal. Whenever there’s a Newcastle goal, Shelvey is odds-on to have been involved.
He might be back in midfield, but Georginio Wijnaldum certainly knows where the goal is. Often outscoring those who play further forward, his four-goal horde against Norwich was only one shy of Shearer’s five, which he scored past a floundering Sheffield Wednesday back in 1999.
Historically a team that attracts both goals and success, the last few years have been ones to forget for fans, with the most notable achievements being two quarter-final appearances in domestic and European cups. But as a team with a celebrated past, Tyneside isn’t wrong to keep on expecting nothing but the best.