|Chairman||G McKeag > G Forbes|
|Manager||J Smith >O Ardilles|
|Coach||B Saxton > T Galvin|
|Top Scorer||M Quinn (20)|
Newcastle's 1990/91 season saw more action and entertainment off the pitch than on. With John Hall now on board the club was talking about ambitious plans to develop the stadium and to fund the plans the club embarked on a public share issue. It proved to be an expensive flop and had to be abandoned; a sign of the lack of faith in the future of the club amongst both supporters and the local business community.
Hall left the board, but remained Vice Chairman, with son Douglas taking his place. Gordon McKeag resigned as Chairman and was replaced by George Forbes.
It was yet another bad season for injuries. Thirty six players were used in all; the most in a season up to that time. United never got going and as a result they finished half way down what was a very poor quality League.
Jim Smith finally called it a day just as United seemed to be finally putting some decent form together. Feeling as though he lacked support in the boardroom and sick of "banging his head against the wall" the Bald Eagle decided to get out.
He wasn't the only one flying the nest; the fans were deserting in droves. On eight occasions the gate dipped below 15,000 and the League average was only 16,879. The fans had supported John Hall and his Magpie Group, but the situation on the field had deteriorated.
Middlesbrough beat Newcastle over two legs in the League Cup second round with the aggregate attendance falling short of 28,000. Forest were the FA Cup vanquishers.
The arrival of World Cup winner Ossie Ardilles as Smith's replacement raised hopes of better times. Swindon had lost out on promotion in 1989/90 due to the indiscretions of the previous management, but had struggled badly during the current campaign and would finish just above the relegation zone.
Nevertheless, most people welcomed the appointment with hopes that Ossie could develop a "pure footballing" side as he had done in Wiltshire. Such was the blind optimism that a dismal record of 2/5/6 under Ossie's charge didn't totally dampen spirits for the new season.
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
After the near-miss of 1989/90, 1990/91 proved to be a hugely disappointing season with United ending up much closer (points-wise) to relegation than promotion; from mid-September onwards they never even got into the top ten.
Two main factors stood out. They only won eight games at home all season, which, excluding the relegation seasons of 1988/89 and 1977/78, was the worst return in the last 30 years. And United's total of 49 goals was the second lowest in the Division and 31 less than they scored in 1989/90.
Three wins in the first four games proved to be a false dawn and the Magpies only recorded three more wins in the League up until the end of the year. They dropped as low as 19th and after losing at home to Notts. County in the last game of 1990 they were in 16th.
Form improved in the New Year and when Newcastle won at Portsmouth on the 23rd March they were in 11th place. Well away from the promotion places, but also 13 points clear of the relegation spots. Despite the upturn in form, Jim Smith had had enough and resigned.
Swindon manager Ossie Ardilles took over the reigns at St. James', but despite the side playing more attractive football they only recorded two wins in the last thirteen games.
Total number of games: 52
Total number of players used: 36
02: Scott > Ranson/Anderson > Watson
03: Sweeney > Stimson
04: Aitken > O'Brien
05: Kristensen > Scott
06: Ranson > Kristensen
08: Brock > Peacock
10: McGhee > Sloan > Hunt
11: O'Brien > Brock
|Hunt Andy||01/91||Kettering Town||£210,000|
|Srniceck Pavel||02/91||Banik Ostrava||£350,000|
|Watson Steve||04/91||Wallsend BC|
With little to spend Smith was left scrambling in the bargain basement and signings such as Neil Simpson, Scott Sloan and Andy Hunt hardly set the Toon alight.
However, he did broker two excellent deals with Gavin Peacock secured in a swap deal for Wayne Fereday and goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek who was signed after arriving on trial in November, although it would take the tall Czech some time to adapt to English football.
|Sweeney Paul||03/91||St Johnstone||£100,000|
Fringe players Brazil, Fereday and Sweeney all departed and Mark McGhee moved on at the season's end too.
|Gaynor Thomas||Nottm F||11/90||12/90|