Friday 7 February 2020

St James Park - Newcastle United

Newcastle United - St James Park

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Newcastle United Football Club
St James' Park
Strawberry Place
Newcastle upon Tyne


  • Newcastle United Football Club were formed in 1892. The 1st record of football being played in Tyneside came at the Elswick Rugby Club in 1877 with the club being formed as Tyne Association.
  • Before Newcastle United, there would be 2 clubs in Newcastle, both being called Newcastle West End and East End FC. Both would dissolve eventually in 1892 to merge with now Newcastle United.
  • Newcastle's 1st trophy would come in 19040-05 season winning the Football League First Division, winning the title on 48 points from 34 games. They would then go on to win it 3 more times.
  • Newcastle have won the FA Cup 6 times, with their last win coming in 1955 against Manchester City at the old Wembley Stadium winning 3-1. Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah would score the goals for them. However, after this last FA Cup victory the club fell back into decline and were relegated to the Second Division once again at the end of the 1960–61 season under the management of Charlie Mitten. Mitten left after one season in the Second Division and was replaced by former player Joe Harvey.
  • Harvey bought striker Malcolm Macdonald in the summer of 1971, for a club record transfer fee of £180,000 (worth ₤2499065 in 2016). He was an impressive goal scorer, who led United's attack to Wembley in their 1974 FA Cup Final defeat at the hands of Liverpool. The club also had back to back triumphs in the Texaco Cup in 1974 and 1975. Harvey left the club in 1975, with Gordon Lee brought in to replace him. Lee took the team to the 1976 Football League Cup Final against Manchester City, but failed to bring the trophy back to Tyneside. However, he sold Macdonald to Arsenal at the end of the season, a decision of which Macdonald later said "I loved Newcastle, until Gordon Lee took over". Lee left for Everton in 1977, and was replaced by Richard Dinnis.
  • Arthur Cox steered Newcastle back to the First Division at the end of the 1983–84 season, with players such as Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and ex-England captain Kevin Keegan the fulcrum of the team. However, with a lack of funds, Cox left for Derby County and Keegan retired.
  • Kevin Keegan took charge of Newcastle in 1992 and took them to two consecutive runners-up finishes in the league in 1995–96 and 1996–97, coming very close to winning the title in the former season which included a 4–3 game against Liverpool at Anfield – often considered the greatest game in Premier League history – which ended with a defining image of the Premier League with Keegan slumped over the advertising hoarding. The success of the team was in part due to the attacking talent of players like David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, who was signed on 30 July 1996 for a then world record fee of £15 million.
  • A title challenge emerged during the 2001–02 season, and Newcastle's fourth-place finish saw them qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The following season, Bobby Robson guided the team to another title challenge and finished third in the League, and the second group stage of the Champions League. Newcastle finished fifth in the league at the end of the 2003–04 season, and exited the Champions League in the qualifying rounds, but despite this Robson was sacked in August 2004 following a series of disagreements with the club.
  • After relegation from the Premier League for the 1st time since joining it in 1993 in 2009, Chris Hughton was given the job on a temporary basis and later became permanent in later in October that year. Hughton led Newcastle to win the 2009–10 Football League Championship, securing automatic promotion on 5 April 2010 with five games remaining, and securing the title on 19 April; Newcastle were promoted back to the Premier League after just one season away. Under Hughton, Newcastle enjoyed a strong start to the 2010–11 season, but he was sacked on 6 December 2010. The club's board stated that they felt "an individual with more managerial experience [was] needed to take the club forward." Three days later, Alan Pardew was appointed as manager with a five-and-a-half-year contract. Despite some turbulence, Newcastle were able to finish 12th at the end of the season, with one particular highlight being a 4–4 home draw against Arsenal that saw Newcastle come back from four goals down to claim a point.
  • 2016 would be another relegation to the Championship for Newcastle but the club would once again bounce back a year later under boss Rafa Benitez, winning the Championship title on 7 May 2017 with a 3–0 win against Barnsley. On 16 October 2017, Mike Ashley put Newcastle United up for sale for a second time. The team finished the season with a 3–0 win over the previous year's champions Chelsea, finishing 10th in the league, their highest finish in four years. The following season saw a 13th-place finish, despite being in the relegation zone in January. As such Ashley came under increased scrutiny for his lack of investment in the squad and apparent focus on other business ventures. Benitez left his position on 30 June 2019 after rejecting a new contract. On 17 July 2019, former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was appointed as manager on a three-year contract.

Local Hero song that is played before each game at St James' Park.

St James' Park would of course be on the film Goal! in 2005, as young lad Santiago Munez playing kick around football in Los Angeles would get spotted by a scout, get offered a trial and then would end up playing for Newcastle United permanently.


Newcastle United 0-0 Norwich City
Saturday 1st February 2020
Premier League

It would feel like quite some time since I last done a blog to be honest! But with this opportunity it was very hard to turn down. Of course it would be a free Saturday not watching Gillingham although lately I have been missing a couple of away days with Gills but mainly to do localish grounds. But with this one, as Gills aren't playing as we were due to play Bury at home who are sadly no longer in the league, and it was lucky with a home game just gone lately, I completely forgot I would have a Saturday not doing a lot. So luckily as it came with my week off from work, I had to plan something within a month basically. It came down to 2 choices, West Brom v Luton or of course Newcastle v Norwich. Newcastle would be my last Premier League ground so was eager to get it done, and hearing so many good things about St James Park, I wanted to go.

So the day come, and I left home just before 8.30am and got into London around 45 minutes later. A quick tube ride to King's Cross, and I left there on the 10.30am train and arrived into Newcastle around 1.40pm. I headed straight for the ground and got there around 2pm. After taking some photos outside, I headed inside and took to my seat. Not too long afterwards, the game kicked off.


Typically the ground I'm looking forward to visiting ends up finishing 0-0 although with most 0-0 draws being a typically boring game, although parts of it weren't the best, there were chances for both sides in 90 mins. Teemu Pukki having a great shot saved over the bar by Newcastle's keeper Martin Dubravka. Allan Saint-Maximin (a player I was impressed with) had a chance saved by former Magpies keeper Tim Krul in the 2nd half but with both sides having chances, they weren't able to convert them into goals.


So after my visit to Newcastle, I headed back to the station and waited for my booked 17.58 train and eventually arriving home shortly after 10.30pm. A long day but worth it to tick off my last current Premier League ground so far.


St James' Park has been the home of Newcastle United ever since the club's existence. The ground holds 52,354. Away supporters are housed in the Leazes Stand which can be allocated up to 3,000 supporters. Although I'm sure most of you know by now, there are a lot of stairs to get to the away end so be warned! Newcastle railway station is around a 10-15 minute walk to the ground.


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