|Top Scorer||I Varadi (22)|
United stunned the football world by signing Kevin Keegan from Southampton in what was probably the most audacious signing in the club's history and only when his arrival is considered within the perspective of the previous seasons can the enormity of his arrival be understood.
An opening day victory over QPR in front of a crowd of 35,718 (double the previous season's average) followed by another victory at Blackburn had everyone believing again. But one player - no matter how good and enthusiastic - cannot transform a team and United only won five of the next 22 games and had slumped to 14th by mid January.
Cox had already signed two more internationals by then, Terry Mcdermott and David McCreery, but despite all the signings United won only twice in the first 14 away games.
The last four months of the season saw a massive improvement and United lifted themselves to the brink of promotion, but they had left themselves with just too much to do and ended up 3 points shy of third placed Leicester.
The fans who had started to drift away again during the season started to return and despite the failure to gain promotion there were mass celebrations on the pitch after the last home game victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
The cup exits were both at home and particularly hard to swallow that season. United throwing away a 2-0 aggregate lead against The Tykes in the League Cup and Trelford Mills ensuring lifelong (and beyond) notoriety by disallowing two United "goals" in the last few minutes of the FA Cup tie against Brighton.
The gamble had not quite paid off, the question was would Keegan give it another go?
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The arrival of Kevin Keegan certainly galvanised Tyneside, but the hoped for promotion was not achieved. Once more the quality of football improved and the number of goals scored increased significantly, but there was not a commensurate improvement in results. Five less games were lost, but no more were won resulting in only 5 more points than in 1981/82.
Victories in the first 2 games were followed by 3 defeats and 2 draws and it was clear that the addition of Keegan alone was not enough. And even though David McCreery and Terry Mcdermott were also signed, United still struggled to win away from Tyneside. By mid-January Newcastle were down in 14th place.
Although United’s away form continued to disappoint, they hit a purple patch on Tyneside from January onwards, just as they had in 1981/82. A 4-0 home win over Shrewsbury was the start of a run which brought 8 victories and 1 draw from the last 9 home games. With 2 games left United were 5th and in contention for the vacant third promotion spot; albeit 3 points behind their rivals Fulham and Leicester.
The final home game saw United beat Sheffield Wednesday; but Leicester and Fulham also won and as Leicester's goal difference was 6 better than United's it was realistically game over.
Total number of games: 46
Total number of players used: 25
03: Saunders > Wharton
04: Martin > McCreery
06: Haddock > Carney
08: McCreery > McDonald
|Channon Mike||09/82||Durban City||Free|
|Mccreery Dave||10/82||Tulsa Roughnecks||£75,000|
|Leaver Phil||07/82||Whitley Bay||Free|
|Davies Ian||08/82||Man City||Free|
|Channon Mike||10/82||Bristol R||Free|
|Johnson Peter||03/83||Doncaster R.||Free|
|Johnson Peter||Bristol C.|