The beginning of this selection goes through the goals we scored in the second half of the 1995/96 season where we came so close to winning the title. Notably, the goals we scored in the famous 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in April 1996. In the summer of 1996, Alan Shearer's return to Tyneside broke the world transfer record and so, as well as Les Ferdinand, Newcastle had another powerful outlet for scoring goals. That responsibility was given solely to Shearer when Ferdinand departed in the summer of 1997.
The 1996/97 season saw our rivals from Wearside, Sunderland make their Premier League debut enabling the first top flight Tyne/Wear derbies since the 1984/85 season. Wild celebrations were sparked when Peter Beardsley and Les Ferdinand scored second half goals to win after going behind at the old Roker Park, that game was our first match in an excellent run of form as we went on to win on eight occasions in nine matches.
Date: 24th February 1996 to 1st November 1997 (616 days)
Man City 3 Newcastle 3 (Philippe Albert 81) - 24/02/96
With a rollercoaster of a match occurring at the old Maine Road, Philippe Albert scored his second of the match as Newcastle equalised for a third time in the match. Albert suddenly found the ball at his feet just inside a box where all of Man City's back line was behind the ball. Albert controlled it a put a low shot away through the legs of the defender. The game finished as a high scoring 3-3 draw. It was arguably this run of form that cost us from winning the title that season with the draw away at Man City being one match in a run of form where we could only bag one win in six. Defeat at home to Man United in the following week meant that the title race was set up for an interesting encounter.
Most important goal
Newcastle 1 (Les Ferdinand 64) Aston Villa 0 - 14/04/96
Goal 211: Going into the final few games of the season and with the prestigious prize of the title still a possibility, nerves can sometimes take over in such situations. Going into the match against Aston Villa, title rivals, Man United lost against Southampton the day before, in that famous match where Man United changed shirts at half time when they were 3-0 down. The defeat placed them on 73 points. With Villa shaping up quite defensively, they were not able to prevent Peter Beardsley breaking away down the right flank who then knocked in a cross for Ferdinand, who was never one to shy away from an aerial battle, beat the goalkeeper to the ball and headed home from six yards. As a result of the win against Villa, thanks to Ferdinand, we were now on 70 points with a game in hand over Man United which created a lot of hope amongst the Geordies.
Newcastle United 5 (Philippe Albert 83) Man United 0 - 20/10/96
Goal 235: A handful of excellent goals were scored in this era especially from the likes of Faustino Asprilla, David Batty and Keith Gillespie to name a few but the prize, for me, goes to Philippe Albert's beautiful chip over Peter Schmeichel in the legendary 5-0 thumping over Man United. I am sure that Kevin Keegan "loved" that victory! With Man United already feeling dejected in the closing stages of the match with the scoreline at 4-0, Albert received the ball from David Batty. Schmeichel was seemingly needlessly quite some distance off his line but Albert saw the chance and the rest is history. It was the perfect way to round off a perfect day.
Most goals in a match
Newcastle United 7 (Alan Shearer 20, 82, Les Ferdinand 22, 59, Rob Lee 61, 88, Philippe Albert 79) Tottenham 1 - 28/12/96
Going into the match against Tottenham, Newcastle only had one win to their name from the previous nine matches so the festive period in 1996 was set to be a struggle after Newcastle had slipped from first place to sixth in the space of five weeks. With Shearer and Ferdinand giving the Toon a 2-0 lead at half time, confidence just seemed to flow like water when observing the performance in the second half as the strike duo of Alan and Les grabbed their seconds along with Rob Lee getting in on the act with two of his own and the fifth goal of the game was scored by Philippe Albert. The match then commenced a complete change in fortunes with our form as we began an unbeaten run of seven games which included wins against Leeds, Everton, Leicester and Middlesbrough. This match is, to this day, our biggest win over Tottenham in our history.
Tottenham (Les Ferdinand x5, Alan Shearer x2, Rob Lee x2, Philippe Albert, Warren Barton) - 11 goals
With having played four matches against Tottenham in this era, we managed to achieve three wins and a draw. The draw came on the final day of the 1995/96 season where the title officially and sadly slipped from our grasp. However, on a more positive note, two of the three wins included the famous 7-1 victory over Spurs and a late Warren Barton winner at the start of the 1997/98 season to make it four wins from the first five home games of the new season.
Alan Shearer (Wimbledon, Sheff Wed, Blackburn, Leeds x3, Aston Villa x2, Derby, Man United, Chelsea x3, Arsenal, Coventry, Liverpool, Tottenham x2, Everton, Leicester x3, Sunderland, Derby, Nottm Forest) - 25 goals
The man who needs no introduction and had such a fantastic talent for scoring goals at the peak of his career. This era of goals for Shearer includes the first of his two Premier League hat-tricks for Newcastle. More importantly, though, in February 1997, Shearer scored a thirteen minute hat-trick against Leicester at home to take the score from 3-1 in favour of the Foxes to 4-3 to Newcastle, the final goal coming as a last minute winner.
Right foot: 56 (up 2 from Goals 101-200)
Left foot: 28 (up 4)
Header: 16 (down 4)
Other: 0 (down 2)
Inside the box: 80 (up 6)
Outside the box: 20 (down 6)
Open play: 71 (down 12)
Penalty: 6 (down 1)
Set piece situation: 19 (up 9)
Free kick (directly): 3 (up 3)
Corner (directly): 1 (up 1)
At St. James' Park: 72 (up 8)
- Leazes End: 39 (up 2)
- Gallowgate End: 33 (up 6)
Away from home: 28 (down 8)
Strikers: 54 (up 19)
Midfielders: 27 (down 21)
Defenders: 19 (up 5)
Own goals: 0 (down 3)