How previous managers got on in their first game in charge

Eddie Howe takes charge of his game as Newcastle United manager against Brentford on Saturday so let's have a look at how our previous managers did in their first game, starting with Kevin Keegan's first spell.



Kevin Keegan (first spell) - Newcastle United 3-0 Bristol City 08/02/1992

The 1980s saw a lot of support unrest with local talents Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne all being sold and we eventually suffered relegation in 1989. Although we qualified for the Second Division play-offs a year later, the intensifying boardroom battle took it's toll on the club and we ended up with so much debt and the real prospect of relegation to the third tier for the first time in the 1991/92 season. John Hall stepped up to save the club and gave Kevin Keegan his first managerial job in February, eight years after he ended his playing career by winning promotion with us with Ossie Ardiles getting the sack after a 5-2 loss at Oxford United. Keegan received a superb reception as he took charge of his first game at home to Bristol City three days after his appointment and after a goalless first half, a David Kelly header gave us the lead after 52 minutes. Three minutes later, Liam O'Brien made it 2-0 from another set piece before Kelly got his second just after the hour mark after good work from Gavin Peacock as we run out 3-0 winners. We went on avoid relegation with a 2-1 final day win at Leicester City and the rest is history.

Kenny Dalglish - Newcastle United 2-1 Charlton Athletic 15/01/1997

In January 1997, Keegan stunned the fans by resigning, claiming that he had taken the club as far as he could. Fellow Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish took over as manager six days later after Keegan's assistant Terry McDermott took charge of a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa and his game was against the same club that his predecessor's last one was against - Charlton Athletic. We were held to a 1-1 draw by the First Division outfit in the FA Cup third round three days before Keegan left and despite Lee Clark's first half goal in the replay, a Mark Robson free kick forced extra time but in the 100th minute, Alan Shearer also netted a free kick, which proved to be the winner as we earned a fourth round tie at home to Nottingham Forest. We went on to finish 2nd in the league to Manchester United for a second consecutive season, this time rule changes meant that we qualified for the Champions League for the first time but despite beating Barcelona 3-2, we went out in the group stages and finished 13th in the league although we did reach the FA Cup final, where we lost 2-0 to Premier League winners Arsenal.


Ruud Gullit - Newcastle United 1-4 Liverpool 30/08/1998

Dalglish was sacked after only two league games of the 1998/99 season and Ruud Gullit was appointed in his place. Despite the promises to bring 'sexy football' to Tyneside, his first game saw us hammered 4-1 at home by Liverpool, a game which was pretty much over in the first half. 18 year old Future Magpies striker Michael Owen was able to complete a hat-trick in the first 32 minutes just over two months after his incredible goal against Argentina in the World Cup. Stéphane Guivarc'h, who was in the France squad that won the tournament, pulled one back four minutes before Owen's third but a superb finish from Patrik Berger made it 4-1 at the break, we were better in the second half but the defeat was a sign of things to come over Gullit's short reign as he fell out with Rob Lee and left Alan Shearer on the bench for a 2-1 loss at home to newly promoted rivals Sunderland in August 1999, in what proved to be his last game before his resignation.

Bobby Robson - Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United 11/09/1999

Caretaker manager Steve Clarke took charge of a 5-1 loss at reigning champions Manchester United two days after Gullit left and Bobby Robson took charge of his boyhood club later in the week, having turned down the opportunity to take over when Keegan left as he didn't want to leave Barcelona. His first game ended in a 1-0 loss at Chelsea as Gary Speed was adjusted to have fouled future Magpie Celestine Babayaro and Frank Leboeuf netted the subsequent penalty. Duncan Ferguson's header forced a superb save from Ed De Goey before half-time whilst Kieron Dyer was superb and thought he'd won a penalty, when he was brought down by De Goey, only to be booked for dissent. Our first win of the season came five days later as beat CSKA Sofia 2-0 away from home in the first leg of our UEFA Cup first round tie against the Bulgarians before Robson's first home game saw us smash Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 with Alan Shearer scoring five, a game which was a sign of things to come throughout his tenure.

Graeme Souness - Newcastle 2-0 Bnei Sakhnin 16/09/2004

Despite bringing the good times back to St James' Park, including memorable nights in Europe and three consecutive top five finishes in the Premier League, Robson was sacked after a bad start to the 2004/05 season, just under a year before he was set to leave. It was a real shame that he didn't get a chance to go up against his former translator José Mourinho as he took the Chelsea job after winning the UEFA Cup and Champions League with Robson's former club Porto. Graeme Souness was confirmed as his successor but did not took charge until after a 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, the club he was leaving and his game came against Bnei Sakhnin in the UEFA Cup first round first, who became the first Arab club to take part in the competition. Patrick Kluivert scored the only two goals of the game in the first half as Abbass Suan and Nicky Butt were both sent off in the second half of a heated game. Despite reaching the UEFA Cup quarter-finals and the FA Cup semi-finals, we could only manage a 14th place finish in the league in Souness' only full season in charge before he was sacked following supporter pressure as we were beaten 3-0 at Manchester City in February 2006.

Glenn Roeder - Newcastle United 2-0 Portsmouth 04/02/2006

After Souness' sacking, former Magpies defender Glenn Roeder was appointed caretaker manager three years after he was struck down by a brain tumour whilst he manager of West Ham United. His first game proved to be a memorable one as Charles N'Zogbia opened the scoring late in the first half before Shola Ameobi's header found Alan Shearer and he slotted the ball post Dean Kiely to overtake Jackie Milburn as our record goalscorer. This was the start of a late season surge that saw us finish 7th and qualify for Europe after sitting 15th when Souness was sacked and Roeder was appointed manager on a two year contract at the end of the season, only to resign after a disappointing 2006/07 season.

Sam Allardyce - Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Newcastle United 11/08/2007

Just over a week before Mike Ashley bought the club, Freddy Shepherd did appoint Sam Allardyce as manager after he left Bolton Wanderers. His first game in charge turned out to be away to his former club and a Charles N'Zogbia free kick before an Obafemi Martins brace put us 3-0 up at half time, Nicolas Anelka pulled one back for the hosts but Allardyce's tenure got off to a good start. Just a shame that the game wasn't a sign of things to come and he was sacked in early January after plenty of poor performances on the pitch, including giving Derby County four of their eleven league points that season and a 4-1 home loss against Portsmouth, a game where we were 3-0 down after eleven minutes.

Kevin Keegan (second spell) - Newcastle United 0-0 Bolton Wanderers 19/01/2008

Kevin Keegan was not only John Hall's first appointment but also Mike Ashley's. He sat in the stands to watch a 4-1 FA Cup third round replay win over Stoke City just after his appointment before taking charge of his first game against struggling Bolton Wanderers three days later but unlike Allardyce's first game, we couldn't manage to get three points against the Trotters. A drab game saw Stephen Carr fire wide and David Rozehnal head over before Shay Given denied Jlloyd Samuel an injury time winner for the visitors. Keegan's first win didn't come until 22 March, when a 2-0 home win over his former club Fulham (the club that Allardyce's last win came against) started a six game unbeaten run which eased any relegation fears.

Joe Kinnear - Everton 2-2 Newcastle United 05/10/2008

Following Keegan's controversial departure, caretaker manager Chris Hughton took charge of defeats to Hull City, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers as fans voiced their anger at Ashley for the first time. Joe Kinnear was named as interim manager and his first game with Ashley having put the club up for sale, three days after his first game, he controversially insulted Mirror journalist Simon Bird, leading to Hughton taking charge of interviews. His reign looked set to start with a defeat as goals from Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini left us trailing 2-0 away to Everton before Steven Taylor's header halved the deficit just before half-time, the 22 year old then set up Damien Duff's equaliser as we ended a five game losing run in all competitions. Kinnear went on to sign a deal until the end of the season after a goalless draw at Chelsea in November but didn't take charge of another game after falling ill shortly before a crucial 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion in February.

Alan Shearer - Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea 04/04/2009

As it became clear that Kinnear wouldn't be able to take charge of another game for the rest of the season, Alan Shearer returned as manager for the final eight games. Despite a goalless first half, the first of his eight games ended in a 2-0 home against Chelsea as Nicolas Anelka caught Fabricio Coloccini in possession and after his shot hit the bar, Frank Lampard's header gave the visitors the lead in the second half before Florent Malouda made it 2-0. Michael Owen was unlucky not to get one back as his shot was cleared by Ashley Cole but the game was an indication of how much of a challenge Shearer had to overcome to have a chance of keeping us up and despite a 3-1 win over relegation rivals Middlesbrough taking us out the bottom three, 1-0 losses to Fulham and Aston Villa in our final two games sealed our fate.

Chris Hughton - West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Newcastle 08/08/2009

Chris Hughton had twice been caretaker manager during our disastrous 2008/09 season and was in that position once again as a lack of communication from Mike Ashley meant that Shearer didn't get the job. It had been a worrying summer on Tyneside as Ashley tried again to sell the club but couldn't find a buyer, a 6-1 loss at Leyton Orient led to a dressing room inquest, which would go on to help us in the 2009/10 season. Hughton got on with the job despite the uncertainty and his first game of his third caretaker spell saw us draw 1-1 at fellow newly relegated side West Bromwich Albion with tributes paid to former Baggies forward and Magpies manager Bobby Robson before kick-off eight days after he passed away. After Shelton Martis missed a good chance to give the hosts the lead, Damien Duff fired over and Ryan Taylor came close with a free kick before Martis gave the hosts the lead as goalkeeper Steve Harper went down injured in the process. 21 year old substitute keeper Tim Krul impressed in his first league appearance for us four years after joining from hometown club ADO Den Haag as Kevin Nolan set up Duff to make it 1-1 in what would prove to be his last game before he joined Fulham. Hughton would go on to earn the job permanently at the end of October as Ashley took the club off the market and we won the Championship title by eleven points ahead of 2nd placed West Brom but was sacked in December 2010 after a 3-1 loss at The Hawthorns.

Alan Pardew - Newcastle United 3-1 Liverpool 11/12/2010

Our fans showed their support for the sacked Hughton and their anger towards Ashley at Alan Pardew's first game in charge against Liverpool but his reign got off to a memorable start as Kevin Nolan opened the scoring against his boyhood club after 15 minutes. Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Raul Meireles had chances to equalise before half-time and Dirk Kuyt put the visitors level early in the second half. Fernando Torres hit a shot straight at Tim Krul before substitute Nile Ranger outmuscled Martin Skrtel but fired wide. Ranger did flick on Krul's long ball towards Joey Barton, who gave us the lead in the 80th minute and Andy Carroll sealed the three points with a brilliant strike in stoppage time. Despite Carroll joining the Reds in January, we finished 12th in our first season back in the top flight and earned a 5th place finish the following season before things went downhill from there for Pardew as fans turned on him during his final twelve months on Tyneside.

John Carver - Newcastle United 3-3 Burnley 01/01/2015

After Pardew left for Crystal Palace, his assistant John Carver took charge, having oversaw the 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers when Bobby Robson left just over a decade previously. His first game was a New Year's Day thriller against struggling Burnley at St James' Park as Steven Taylor opened the scoring from Jack Colback's corner before a Paul Dummett own goal put Sean Dyche's side level four minutes later. Colback fired home to give us a 2-1 lead seven minutes later, having also scored the last goal of Pardew's tenure against Everton four days earlier. Despite losing Jason Shackell, Kevin Long and Dean Marney in the first half to injuries and illness, Burnley showed the spirit that had got them a 2-2 draw from 2-0 down away to reigning champions Manchester City in their previous game as Danny Ings put them level from substitute Michael Kightly's cross. Moussa Sissoko looked like he had won us the game as he gave us a 3-2 lead but after the visitors hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, George Boyd made it 3-3 and Burnley left Tyneside with a deserved point. Carver was confirmed as manager for the rest of the season later in the month but a disastrous run of form saw us come to close to relegation with survival only confirmed with a 2-0 win over West Ham United on the final day.

Steve McClaren - Newcastle United 2-2 Southampton 09/08/2015

With the discontent in the last twelve months of Pardew's tenure and Carver's disastrous spell nearly seeing us relegated from a comfortable position when he took over, fans were hoping that things could change going into the 2015/16 season, especially with the £14,500,000 signing of highly rated Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV Eindhoven. Steve McClaren was appointed as head coach and decided not to keep Carver as part of the coaching staff, his first game in charge saw us draw 2-2 with Southampton with Papiss Cissé cancelling out Graziano Pellè's opening goal to make it 1-1 at half-time. Wijnaldum scored a fantastic header from Gabriel Obertan's cross to give us a 2-1 lead shortly after Tim Krul superbly denied Maya Yoshida early in the second half but Shane Long headed the Saints level before Sadio Mané had two chances to give the visitors victory in stoppage time but saw his first shot blocked by Jack Colback then put his second shot inches wide of the post. Two other players (both of whom were signed from Anderlecht) made their Magpies debuts that afternoon - centre-back Chancel Mbemba, who arrived in a tuxedo and striker Aleksandar Mitrović, who was booked just 22 seconds after coming on.

Rafael Benítez - Leicester City 1-0 Newcastle United 14/03/2016

Despite us spending close to £80,000,000 in both the summer and January transfer windows, we were still in a relegation battle for almost the entire season and Steve McClaren was sacked after a humiliating 3-1 home loss to newly promoted Bournemouth, who of course were managed by our new manager Eddie Howe. His sacking wasn't a surprise whatsoever but few could've predicted Rafael Benítez to take over a side 19th in the league, especially just over two months after the end of a difficult spell as Real Madrid manager. His first game was away to surprise league leaders Leicester City and Shinji Okazaki, who scored the final goal when the Foxes won 3-0 at St James' Park four months earlier, netted the only goal with a superb overhead kick in the 24th minute. Marc Albrighton did come close to making it 2-0 three minutes later but we showed improvements from the Bournemouth defeat and although Benítez couldn't save us from relegation, he stayed on to get us out of the Championship at the first attempt and really improved our team spirit in his three years on Tyneside despite the lack of backing from Mike Ashley.

Steve Bruce - Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal 11/08/2019

When Benítez left, there was always going to be a lot of discontent and whoever took over from the Spaniard was always going to have such a difficult task. Even breaking our transfer record to sign Brazilian forward Joelinton for £40,000,000 from Hoffenheim didn't fans protesting outside St James' Park before Steve Bruce's first game in charge against Arsenal whilst some boycotted (but nowhere near as many as some fans hoped). He did come close to open the scoring in the first half after creating a chance for himself only to hit the ball straight at Bernd Leno whilst Jonjo Shelvey struck the post but Ainsley Maitland-Niles took advantage of a lapse in concentration from new signing Jetro Willems (thankfully not a sign of things to come from the Dutchman) and found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in space, the Gabonese striker then scored the only goal of the game in the 58th minute. We only created one notable chance to equalise as Willems played the ball to fellow new signing Allan Saint-Maximin, who cut in but Leno held his shot. Although we finished 13th and 12th in Bruce's two full seasons on Tyneside, he was under pressure as fans were able to return to stadiums at the end of the 2020/21 season after the vast majority of the season (plus the final nine games of the 2019/20 season) were played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he was sacked following our recent takeover after we failed to win any of our first eight league games of the 2021/22 season.

Hopefully Eddie Howe will begin his tenure with a win on Saturday and can keep us up and this time, if we do stay up, we can trust the board to build on it, unlike the previous regime. Unlike the 2015/16 season when we took too long to sack McClaren and appoint Benítez, Howe will get a January transfer to sign the players he needs to help us reach our short term goal of staying up.

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