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23 years ago today: On May 1997 Newcastle United qualified for the Champions League for the first ti


(picture Getty Images Europe, taken from Chronicle Live article)

Exactly 23 years ago on 11th May 1997 at 12:00, Newcastle United celebrated winning 5-0 against Nottingham Forest during the Premier League match at St James’ Park.

History of Newcastle United can be divided into many sectors such as for example its creation till 1895, it’s interwar success or Premier League between 1992-2007, in which period the mentioned match took place. During 1996-97 season on the final day, goals from Tino, Shearer, Ferdinand and Elliott gave Newcastle United score 5-0 against Forest. It was a memorable moment for fans, as the first goal occurred in 20 by Asprill, 23 and 26 by Ferdinand, 36 by Shearer and 77 by Elliott.

1991-92 season saw Kevin Keegan returning as a manger, Newcastle singings of Rob Lee and Andy Cole helped with promotion of the season. St James’ Park was redeveloped into all-seated stadium and the club continued building its reputation even though there’s been criticism about a decision of selling Andy Cole to Manchester United in exchange for Keith Gillespie in 1995. Kevin Keegan made one signing during 1996-1997 securing striker Alan Shearer and win 5-0 against Manchester United. That victory on 20 October 1996 at St James’ Park confirmed our strong title, which was later challenged by Keegan’s resignation as a manager on 8 January 1997 and the club running few games without any victory. Kevin Keegan was replaced by Kenny Dalglish, who played Shearer, Ferdinand and Tino Asprilla all in the same team. Not only this allowed us to become the first English club to qualify for the Champions League without winning it, but also at that time both Sunderland and Middlesbrough had been relegated. The club maintained the good form through the end of the season, but in 1997-98 season, Ferdinand and Ginola both left the club and Shearer broke his ankle, which resulted in him not playing for the first half of the season. New signings of Ian Rush, Duncan Ferguston or Stuart Pearce helped with winning over Barcelona 3-2 in UEFA Champions League. Wikipedia website says:

“Dalglish's cautious brand of football, as opposed to the attacking style played under Keegan, did not prove successful—the club failed to progress beyond the Champions’ League group stage, finished 13th in the Premier League, and lost the FA Cup final to Arsenal. Dalglish began the signing Nolberto Solano and Dietmar Hamann but was soon dismissed following the club's declining form.”

The Mag website mentions that it all fell apart after Dalglish started buying and selling players, listing significant sales whilst Kenny Dalglish was manager. Some of them are:

£3.5m Robbie Elliot

£2m David Ginola

£6 Les Ferdinand

£1.5m John Beresford

£2.5m Paul Kitson

The website also adds:

“There was some serious drinking done in Newcastle city centre that night, hopefully we will all be doing similar in the not so distant future after this takeover and Newcastle United on their way back to fulfilling the potential that will always be there.”


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