Sir Bobby Robson was controversially sacked after failing to win Newcastle's opening four games of the 2004/05 campaign.
Many believe that Robson was on ever decreasing thin ice at the end of the previous season after failing to qualify for the Champions League and a 5th placed finish with a UEFA Cup Semi-Final finish fell below Freddie Shepherd's high standards.
Graeme Souness promptly left Blackburn to take on the job at Tyneside. The Scotsman got off to an excellent start with eight wins and two draws from his opening ten matches. The run of form brought them back into contention for qualifying for Europe. However it was not going to last as scuffles between players both on and off the pitch saw Newcastle finish a hugely disappointing 14th after the top five finishes they had the previous three seasons.
Southampton (a), Premier League: Won 2-1
Souness got off to the best possible start in what has become his final managerial job. His first match came against Southampton whom he managed in 1996-97.
Southampton has never been a happy place for Newcastle. The long journey down to the south coast probably playing a part on the players as this was the last time, back in September 2004, that the Magpies came away with all three points against the Saints.
Here is the line-up from that Southampton match and how far they have come since that day.
Shay Given: Given became a Newcastle United and Ireland legend for his excellent goalkeeping in his many years on Tyneside and is still today seen as a much loved icon. After departing Newcastle in January 2009 to Manchester City, he moved to Aston Villa where he once again became the main man between the sticks before Brad Guzan came in to restrict his chances. He returned to the north east in the form of a brief loan spell with Middlesbrough before he finished his career at Stoke.
Given wrote in his autobiography in great detail about the time he left Newcastle United. It was of little surprise to read that Mike Ashley showed no interest in keeping the Irish international. Notably one of Given's final appearances in a Newcastle shirt when he received the Man of the Match award despite conceding five goals against Liverpool at St. James' Park in December 2008.
Stephen Carr: It was in this match against Southampton that Carr scored his only goal for Newcastle and the final goal of his career which finished nine years later in 2013. It was in 57th minute that Carr scored the winning goal from long range just four minutes after Anders Svensson equalised for Southampton.
Carr's time at Newcastle began well but his time at the club is remembered predominantly for the wrong reasons. In 2007, the signing of Habib Beye restricted his chances in the first team. In 2008 he moved to Birmingham where he spent the final five years of his career and made 121 appearances including three in the 2011/12 Europa League.
Robbie Elliott: Elliott, over the course of two spells for Newcastle United, spent a combined 11 years at the club. Notably he was also part of the squad that came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title back in 1996.
In 2006 he left the club a second time and took a step down to the Championship to play for biggest rivals, Sunderland. A brief spell on Wearside followed brief spells at Leeds and Hartlepool where he then retired from his playing career. He then returned to Newcastle as a coach but left following the club's 2009 relegation.
Andy O'Brien: O'Brien made his name under the managerial guidance of Sir Bobby Robson following his move from Bradford in 2001. Under the management of Souness, the Irishman was sold in summer 2005 whilst Titus Bramble and Jean Alain Boumsong were kept on.
After leaving Newcastle, O'Brien spent a further six years in the Premier League with spells at Portsmouth and Bolton before a season at Leeds. He spent the final three years of his career in Canada, playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS.
Olivier Bernard: Bernard started the first match of the manager that he went on to have a fractious relationship with. Bernard became a much loved player with the fans under Sir Bobby Robson and transitioned from a left midfielder to a left back. Bernard left Tyneside after making over 100 league appearances for the club, scoring six goals.
After leaving the Magpies in 2005, his career sadly fell off the rails in making only 22 more appearances before being forced into an early retirement at the age of 28 due to injury. He played for Southampton and Rangers before returning to Newcastle under Glenn Roeder but failed to make an appearance.
Importantly, in 2011, Bernard heavily criticised Souness in an interview for his poor man management that saw fellow star players like Craig Bellamy and Laurent Robert get the chop. He also blamed Souness for the death of his career. In 2013, Bernard became the owner and chairman of Durham City.
Nicky Butt: Famously one of the members of the 'Class of 92', Butt has experienced many different aspects of football in that he has been a player, a coach, manager and remarkably an owner.
Butt was the captain of Newcastle United's Championship winning campaign in 2009/10. He then left the club to finish his playing career with a brief spell in South China. Upon his retirement, he has became the co-owner of Salford City who are now in the Football League. He took interim charge of Manchester United's Under 23s in 2016-17 and is now the head of first team development for the Red Devils.
Lee Bowyer: Bowyer's time at Newcastle will be remembered for his on pitch brawl with teammate Kieron Dyer in April 2005 against Aston Villa, under Graeme Souness. Interestingly both players remained at Newcastle for the following season.
In 2006, Bowyer left Newcastle to go to West Ham. Funnily enough he was reunited with Kieron Dyer a year later as he made the same switch to Wes Ham. After three years in East London, he spent three years at Birmingham before finishing his playing career at Ipswich. As far as recent history is concerned, Bowyer is certainly in the Newcastle fans' good books after managing Charlton to their League One play-off win in 2019, beating Sunderland in the final with a last minute winner.
Jermaine Jenas: Jenas was another one of those players who seemed to love their football under Sir Bobby and were loving life on Tyneside only for Graeme Souness to destroy the squad harmony courtesy of his poor man management, poor results brought on by falling out of favour with the team's best players.
Jenas left Newcastle to go to Tottenham in summer 2005. Less than a year later in April 2006, he then missed an open goal at the Gallowgate End in what was a convincing Newcastle win during their resurgence under Glenn Roeder. At the turn of the decade, injuries became a huge hindrance on his first team chances as he retired at the age of 31 after loan spells with Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest and two years at QPR.
Craig Bellamy: Bellamy was another player who fell out of favour with Souness and thus left the club and voiced his displeasure about his relationship with Alan Shearer in his latter days at the club.
Bellamy became a journeyman after leaving Newcastle in 2005, playing for six different clubs in the nine years that followed. He found his excellent goalscoring touch whilst at Celtic and Blackburn. However an average spells at Liverpool (under Rafa Benitez), West Ham followed. A good couple of years at Man City earned him a big move back to Liverpool for a second spell before returning to his birthplace Cardiff where he finished his career.
Alan Shearer: A man who needs no introduction, a true legend of the footballing world. In this match, Shearer was credited with playing a key part in Newcastle's first goal as his attempted shot or pull back across goal was met by David Prutton who turned it into his own net just before half time.
Super Al went on to break the club's goalscoring record in February 2006 and his achievement has been marked with the club unveiling a statue of him in September 2016. His only stint in management came at the end of the 2008/09 relegation season where he was unable to work a miraculous recovery however it is safe to say that, despite his failure to keep Newcastle in the Premier League, it has not changed the fans' opinions of him.
After leaving Newcastle, Kluivert spent a season each at Valencia, PSV and Lille prior to his retirement in 2008. The Dutch international has since tried his hand at management in two short spells at Jong FC Twente (FC Twente's reserves) and the Curacao national team.
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