|Manager||K Keegan > K Dalglish|
|Top Scorer||A Shearer (28)|
United's Premiership "give away" in 1995/96 was seen mainly as a failure to defend at crucial stages of the game therefore it came as no surprise that £15 million was spent on another centre-forward.
Keegan had allegedly been ready to quit but the capture of one of Shearer re-kindled the spirit of both manager and fans.
The season started badly with a four goal defeat to Man United in the Charity Shield at Wembley followed by two defeats in the first three Premier games.
But seven League wins on the trot culminating in the 5-0 mauling of Manchester United on October 20th had the critics choking on their words.
Then just as suddenly came the downturn as the next seven Premiership games brought 4 draws and 3 defeats as injuries to Shearer and then Ferdinand appeared to disrupt the team.
The last game in that run, a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn, saw Keegan tender his resignation but (as at the end of 1995/96) it was not accepted.
Thumping home victories over Spurs and Leeds were followed by a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup at Charlton and all of a sudden the King had abdicated with not even a goodbye.
Kenny replaced him and after a stuttering start which brought exits in both the FA and UEFA Cups some fans were getting on Dalglish's back with one even offering him the shirt off his.
Then, following an unbeaten run of 10 games, the Magpies stormed into 2nd place on the last day of the season to qualify for the Champions League for the first ever time.
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
The Magpies once more finished as runners-up to Manchester United, but this was a significantly different campaign to 1996/96. Newcastle finished 7 points behind Manchester United who amassed less points than Newcastle did last season and only sneaked into second-place on the last day of the season.
Although Newcastle lost two of the first three games they followed up with 7 wins in a row culminating in the famous 5-0 win over Manchester United. They led the table.
Then came a downturn as the next seven Premiership games brought 4 draws and 3 defeats as injuries to Shearer and then Ferdinand disrupted the team.
Although Newcastle bounced back to thrash Tottenham and beat Leeds, Keegan resigned. Kenny Dalglish took over and United finished strongly, only losing two more games all season.
On the final day of the season Liverpool, Newcastle and Arsenal could still finish as runners-up and qualify for the Champions League. Liverpool could only draw whilst both United and the Gunners won leaving them all with 68 points; Newcastle having the best goal difference. The relegation of Sunderland and Middlesbrough at the same time made it quite a day.
Total number of games: 52
Total number of players used: 21
05: Howey > Peacock
11: Ginola> Gillespie/Elliot
|Shearer Alan||07/96||25||Blackburn Rovers||£15.6m|
|Hamilton Des||03/97||20||Bradford City||£1.375m|
|Gudjonnson Bjarni||03/97||IA Akranes||£250,000|
|Kitson Paul||02/97||26||West Ham||£2.4m|
|Brayson Paul||Swansea City||01/97||04/97|