|Chairman||G Forbes > J Hall|
|Manager||O Ardilles > K Keegan|
|Coach||T Galvin > D Fazackerly|
|Top Scorer||G Peacock (21)|
United entered their centenary season with renewed hope, but little tangible to base it on. It almost ended in disaster, thankfully Kevin Keegan saved the day; just.
The season started badly and continued that way. Ossie's young charges were playing entertaining open football, but shipping far too many goals. The initial optimism that saw 22,700 turn up for the first game of the season soon evaporated and attendances slipped back towards the 15,000 mark.
The club was losing money just as quickly as United were dropping points and this led to more boadroom changes. John and Douglas Hall, Freddie Shepherd and Derek McVickers replaced Gordon McKeag and Russell Cushing. Just before Christmas, Hall replaced Forbes as Chairman and pledged his support to Ardilles.
The New Year was heralded with an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Southend and was followed a month later by a 5-2 thrashing at Oxford. Inbetween those games United lost 4-3 at home to Charlton after leading 3-0 with half an hour left. Ossie's "safe as houses" job was in ruins.
Sensationally and riskily, Freddie's Fletcher and Shepherd along with Douglas Hall persuaded Keegan (who had had no involvement with the professional game since retiring almost eight years earlier) to take on the challenge of keeping United up. H (News item)
An upturn in form followed, but Keegan had to be persuaded to return after he walked out when the money he had been "promised" for transfers failed to materialise. H (News item)
But just as the club seemed to have turned the corner a 6-2 defeat at Wolves precipitated a five game losing run that saw United tumble back down into the relegation places.
There were two games left: at home to Jim Smith's Portsmouth and away to promotion hopefuls Leicester. The tension at SJP was almost unbearable for the home game against Pompey, but the outpouring of relief was immense when David Kelly grabbed the winner five minutes from the end.
Another win was still required to be mathematically certain and it was another emotionally charged atmosphere at Filbert Street. Results elsewhere were going United's way, but Leicester's late equaliser created pandemonium which turned ugly when Steve Walsh put through his own net to restore United's lead.
The League and FA cups seemed almost incidental as United lost to lower-league opposition in both. And the Magpies were beaten on penalties by Tranmere in the Zenith Data Systems Cup after a crazy 6-6 draw.
H Youtube playlist or click on film icon in results table for individual match highlights.
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
In, some ways the 1991/92 season could be viewed as the worst in United's history. Although the results have been worse in some seasons in the top-flight they have never been worse in the second-tier. And although the Magpies were closer to relegation to Division 3 in 1937/38 their results were better overall in that campaign.
Although United's home form was poor, it was away from Tyneside where they suffered most, losing 14 out of 23. And in total contrast to the previous campaign it was defensively that United really struggled. The 84 goals conceded being the worst in the Division and second only to 1960/61 with respect to the number of goals conceded in post-war seasons.
United got off to a bad start, winning 1 and losing 6 of the first 11 games; leaving them in rock-bottom at the start of October.
Although there was some improvement during October and November another set of winless games followed and at the end of the year they were still struggling badly in 18th place.
The Magpies failed to win any games during January and a 5-2 defeat at Oxford on the first day of February proved to be Ardilles' last match in charge. He left the club one off the bottom and in dire relegation trouble.
Results picked up following Keegan's arrival and when they beat Sunderland at home on the 29th March they had clambered up to 17th and were 5 points above the relegation places.
However, this was followed by a disastrous run of 5 defeats in a row culminating in a 4-1 defeat at Derby. With 2 games left to play United were in the first relegation slot and were one of 7 teams battling for survival. Thankfully the Magpies won both the games to pull clear.
click on H for highlights
R3: Newcastle needed a man-of-the-match performance from goalkeeper Tommy Wright to keep Bournemouth at bay.
R3r: After the first match was abandoned the teams met again a week later and the visitors fought back twice before winning the game on penalties.
R2 L1 - A crazy game where United were 3-0 down after only 22 minutes, before a Peacock hat-trick helped them turn the tables.
R2 L2 - A poor match in which Howey broke the deadlock three minutes from time
R3 -The Division 3 strugglers won the tie five minutes from time
R1 - One of the maddest games of competitive football that the club has ever been involved in. It was 3-3 at the end of normal time and both sides doubled their tally during extra time with the home side eventually winning 4-3 on penalties.
Total number of games: 52
Total number of players used: 34
01: Srnicek > Wright
02: Neilson > Watson
03: Elliot >Stimson
05: Scott >Kilcline
06: Bradshaw > Appleby > Scott
07: Clark (Roche) > Quinn
09: Quinn > Kelly
10: Carr > Hunt > Sheedy
11: Roche > Brock
|Harper Steve||12/91||Seaham Red Star||Free|
|Watson John||04/92||Wallsend Boys Club||Free|
A lack of money meant no new signings during the summer, but with United struggles exacerbated by the loss of Quinn to long-term injury action was forced upon them and Ardilles made the very astute signing of David Kelly.
When Keegan arrived he knew he needed someone to add strength, leadership and experience to the backline and after an initial loan (and a walk-out) he signed central-defender Brian Kilcline.
He also bolstered the midfield with another player with plenty of top-flight experience in Kevin Sheedy.
|Aitken Roy||08/91||St Mirren||£150,000|
|Anderson John||01/92||Retired (inj)|
With Ardilles wanting to reduce the average age of the side as well as the wage bill, a number of experienced players were released during the summer including captain Roy Aitken and 'keeper John Burridge.
In January faithful servant John Anderson was forced to retire through injury.
|Fashanu Justin||10/91||10/91||Unattached (trial)|
|Bodin Paul||12/91||01/92||C Palace|
|Wilson Terry||01/92||02/92||Nottm F|