Newcastle United Football Club is one of the most renowned football clubs in England. The club is rich in history, having been successful in England in the early 1900s, the club turned out undoubtedly to be one of the biggest competitors in English football. Newcastle has had some fantastic players over the years with the likes of Alan Shearer, Jackie Milburn, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley, Gary Speed, Rob Lee, and Andy Cole to name a few. It is a legendary club with a legendary fan base. They have won the FA Cup 6 times in their history and lifted the League Championship for four times along with success in domestic tournaments. Having a history of being winners and losers, ‘The Magpies’ were one of the most dominant clubs in England more than 60 years ago when it was a constant competitor for Football Association Cups, First Division titles, and even playing throughout Europe at the Fairs Cup.
Ups and downs are a part and parcel of this beautiful game, but that hasn’t been the scenario with Newcastle, relegation has been a consistent part of the club’s culture as they have failed to be considered competitive for nearly fifteen years now and the mediocre results in the table have left the toon army to bring in disappointed banners at the St. James Park as some fans unfurled their lack of confidence and team’s mismanagement with “we don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries” posters. So let’s look up into Newcastle United’s journey from grace to fall and understand why the supporters at St.James Park have been praying for a bright future for quite some time now.
A Brief History-
Since their foundation in 1892 through a merger of two older Tyneside clubs: Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, the fusion was named Newcastle United who came out in their traditional kit colours with black and white striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. It is a club with tradition and has its spades marked which makes them the ninth most successful English club of all time and the 17th highest revenue producing club in the world in terms of annual revenue. They have now spent 87 seasons in the top tier of the English football and the club’s most successful period was between 1904 and 1910 when they won an FA Cup and three of their First Division titles. They have a long-standing local rivalry with Sunderland known as the Tyne-Wear derby and is one of the fiercest local derbies in English football.
After being admitted to the Football League in 1894, they earned promotion to the First Division in the year 1899. With a team full of English stars and international talent, Newcastle went on to dominate the First Division by winning the titles in 1905, 1907 and 1908. Post the first World war the Magpies returned in style with another FA Cup trophy in 1924. Newcastle won another FA Cup in 1932 before entering a mediocre period that would culminate in their relegation to the Second Division in 1934. They bounced back and returned to the top-flight in 1948 and won three FA Cups in the period between 1951 and 1955. Although other silverware were hard to clinch they had something for their outgrowing fans to cherish about.
The Premier League Era-
In 1992 Sir John Hall became the club’s chairman and brought in Kevin Keegan as manager. The subsequent changes and the inclusion of new players yielded them results as Newcastle stormed into the new top-flight, Premier League in 1993. In 1996, 1997 Keegan took Newcastle to two consecutive runners-up finishes in the league and they almost ended up defeating Manchester United. Keegan left Newcastle in 1997 and was replaced by Kenny Dalglish. They also lost the FA Cup finals in 1998 and 1999. There has been a number of managerial changes from this period but nothing seemed to avail their fortunes.
The downfall began in 2004 when the club decided to sack Sir Bobby Robson who knew what the club and fans needed. Similar to Kevin Keegan, Robson had an emotional attachment to Newcastle United but a series of disagreements with the club saw the grace of Newcastle United dead. He was replaced by Graeme Souness and was in charge for just 78 games despite breaking the club’s transfer record by signing Michael Owen. ‘The Messiah’ Kevin Keegan had another go but couldn’t bring back the glory days. Finally, it was the boyhood hero Alan Shearer who was placed in charge and saw his local club hit an all-time low. In 2009, after a hard campaign, Newcastle were relegated to the Championship.
Takeover & Who Actually Is To Be Blamed?
Amidst the mismanagement, the board chopped and changed 10 permanent managers coming and going since 2004 as they failed to keep their faith in the ideas of the appointed managers. This led to the earlier owners selling their shares to a British Billionaire, Mike Ashley in 2007. Since his ownership, the club and the fans have seen the darkest days and the club has been under a black hole. After their first relegation, Ashley decided to put the club up for sale with an asking price of £100 million but later changed his mind.
What seemed like the beginning of a new era with new managers and new owner, it turned out to be the biggest nightmare in Newcastle’s history. The fans have always been frustrated by the way Mr Ashley runs the club, calling him a selfish and a bad businessman who failed to understand that like any business, if a football club is not invested in or cared for, it will crumble. Ashley has time and again placed financial interests of both the club and his own wallet above the sporting aspect. Players have been bought with half an eye on eventually selling them, key players sold from against the wishes of the manager.
In 2017 Ashley put the club up for sale for the second time after they returned to the Premier League following their second relegation in 2015. The Sports Direct owner has drained all the money from the club and has shown no interest in investing for the future of the club. He has been trying to sell the club for a decade now and as per the speculations for a possible takeover bid this year after finishing 13th on the table Abu Dhabi-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan has agreed to terms and hopes to complete the deal for Newcastle worth £350m. Sheikh Khaled, a relative of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour is expected to take over as the owner after the deal is finalized and made public.