|Chairman||J Hall > F Shepherd|
|Top Scorer||J Barnes, A Shearer (7)|
During the summer Ginola and Beardsley both departed, but the move which left the United supporters stunned and angry was the sale of Les Ferdinand to Spurs which appeared to confirm that the financial needs of the PLC were overshadowing the football needs of the club.
When Shearer suffered a cruciate injury on the day the sale went through United tried unsuccessfully to pull the plug on the deal.
Arrivals included Shay Given, Temuri Ketsbaia, Jon Dahl Tommason, and Stuart Pearce and with the season barely underway John Barnes and Ian Rush also rolled up.
Despite a decent start in the League it was to be a desperately disappointing Premiership season as Newcastle won only 11 games. The main problem - not surprisingly - was a lack of goals. Shearer didn't return until mid January. Asprilla missed loads of game due to international duty then seemed to lose interest and was sold back to Parma. Tomasson and new signing Andersson failed to make an impact.
United beat Croatia Zagreb to enter the Champions League "proper", but although Barcelona were beaten at St. James' in one of the most memorable nights in the club's history that proved to be the highpoint and they did not make it to the next stage.
Newcastle reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1974 but faied to reach anything like their best form and Arsenal won comfortably.
Hull and Derby were vanquished in the League Cup before Liverpool saw the Magpies off in extra-time in the 5th Round.
Freddie Shepherd replaced John Hall as Chairman in December and vowed that the club would strive to repair relationships with the supporters. A couple of months later a NoW "sting" had Freddie and Hall's son Douglas committing a Ratner's scale PR suicide. They were forced to resign and Sir John returned.
Kit images copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
1997/98 was very much a transitional season and the new-look Newcastle shorn of so many of the "Entertainers" era came mightily close to being relegated. Although they finished in 13th it was very close at the bottom and United only gained 4 more points than relegated Bolton.
The main issue was clear; they scored 73 goals in 1996/97 and only 35 (the second lowest in the Division) in this campaign. Only in 1980/81 and 1988/89 have United scored less goals per game. As a result, both their home and away form suffered.
The Magpies made a reasonable enough start to the season and having lost only 3 of the opening 13 games were in 7th place at the end of November.
But December was a disastrous month as United failed to win, drew twice and lost five.
United's poor form continued into the New Year and even the welcome return of Shearer couldn't turn the tide.
A late goal by supersub Ketsbaia in Zagreb enabled United to enter the Champions League "proper" and the first game brought a fantastic victory over Barcelona.
John Beresford was the hero in Kiev as his two goals earned United a draw but PSV won home and away before United lost 1-0 at the Nou Camp.
Their interest in the competition was over. but they finished on a high with an - albeit meaningless - victory over group winners Kiev.
The FA Cup run started with a scrappy win over Everton before United needed a replay to knock-out Conference side Stevenage in a fixture that was overshadowed by petty bickering between the two clubs which the media used to give the club a good bashing.
The level of entertainment and intensity rose as more lower league opposition were dispatched in the name of Tranmere, Barnsley and Sheffield United.
The Wembley final against Arsenal was a disaster with United showing precious little adventure and being deservedly beaten.
Total number of games: 56
Total number of players used: 27
02: Watson > Barton
03: Beresford > Pistone
05: Peacock > Howey > Dabizas
06: Albert > Pearce
09: Asprilla/Tomasson > Shearer
10 Barnes > Andersson
11: Gillespie > Speed
|Ketsbiai Temuri||06/97||29||AEK Athens||Free|
|Given Shay||07/97||21||Blackburn Rovers||£1.5m|
|Pearce Stuart||07/97||35||Nottm F||Free|
|Pistone Alessandro||07/97||21||Inter Milan||£4.3m|
|Tomasson John Dahl||07/97||20||Heerenveen||£2.2m|
|Andersson Andreas||01/98||23||Ac Milan||£3.6m|
|Crawford James||Dundee Utd.||02/98||05/98|