UK Football Team - Newcastle United F.C 1984-85

In summer 1982 Keegan joined Newcastle United and spent two seasons there, during which time he was extremely popular with the supporters. He played 78 times, scored 48 goals and helped them to promotion from the Second Division in 1984, within a team which also contained Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Terry McDermott. His contribution to Newcastle's promotion, which ended their six-year absence from the First Division, earned him hero status on Tyneside. The move of a player of his stature to a Second Division Club was unheard of, which caused euphoria on Tyneside. The international superstar's £100,000 move to lowly United from First Division Southampton on the eve of the 1982-83 season was greeted with disbelief, but sparked a surge of excitement and brought full-house crowds to watch Arthur Cox's enthralling side. Keegan, who had done it all in a career with Liverpool and Hamburg before Southampton, relished the challenge that presented itself at Newcastle. While he produced leadership and inspiration in 1982-83, it was only in 1983-84 that the team, with important player additions such .as Peter Beardsley and David McCreery, swept to promotion. Keegan, a scorer on his debut against QPR in 1982, netted 21 times alongside 22-goal Imre Varadi in 82-83, but United fell short of the promotion places, finishing fifth, and 78 appearances, announced his retirement and was awarded an emotional testimonial against his old club Liverpool in May 1984, which ended with his spectacular departure from the pitch in a specially-commissioned helicopter.
In summer 1984 Newcastle United started their first season back in the top flight under the leadership of World Cup winner Jack Charlton after previous manager Arthur Cox left in the close-season due to lack of funds from the board for squad strengthening. Hopes of success were high due to the emergence of local youngsters Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and later Paul Gascoigne. Chris Waddle would win international recognition during this 1984-85 season before being sold to Spurs. 

Jack Charlton, is the new manager, England 1966 World Cup winner, and lifelong Newcastle fan. Big Jack once declared of United: “There’s only one club in the world I’ll leap off my feet for if they score.” As a manager, he brought the tough, no-nonsense approach of his playing days with him, but he had secured the promotion of second division Middlesbrough, and later Sheffield Wednesday, to the top flight. As the season dawned, there was room for some optimism. Kevin Keegan had gone, but in Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle, the club had two of the finest ever Geordie talents on their books. Three wins on the bounce, against Leicester, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa as the campaign commenced, also gave United a welcome foothold in the tough new environment of the First Division. To be fair to Charlton, it was a season when United were never really in trouble. There were hidings, including an almost perennial 5-0 hammering at Old Trafford, and a crazy see-saw 5-5 draw at QPR, but the Magpies largely resided in mid-table. 

If long-ball tactics and the arrival of giant forwards Tony Cunningham and George Reilly in the second half of the campaign were, quite frankly uninspiring, they served an end as the Toon battled towards top-flight survival. And let’s face it, Charlton wasn’t given wads of cash to throw around. The fees for Reilly, Cunningham and Nottingham Forest midfielder Gary Megson amounted to less than £400,000, at a time when Everton paid Sunderland more than that amount for one player - Paul Bracewell. On the plus side, Big Jack’s team secured a stirring 3-1 victory over Sunderland at a raucous St James’ Park on New Year’s Day, 1985. And then, in mid-April, Charlton gave a supremely talented local teenager his first team debut. Dunston-born Paul Gascoigne came on as a substitute for George Reilly and a star was born. Newcastle United finished in comfortable 14th place while, down the road, Sunderland were relegated. Before watching all the Panini stickers of Newcastle 1984/85's squad here it comes the video of the outsanding and disappointing game versus QPR when Newcastle led 4-0 before the Incredible QPR Comeback finished with a 5-5 draw !

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