Sunday July 31st, 2016

    last update 01:29 BST

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Next Match


Craven Cottage

Friday 5th August

Kick-off 7.45pm
Live on Sky Sports
Last Match
Newcastle 3
Vitesse Arnhem 2
St. James' Park
Saturday 30th July

Match report to follow

The Never-Ending Tour

  Number of Newcastle
  games attended by in 2016/17:




Martin Hardy's excellent "Touching Distance" book is now in paperback.

Order from the publisher for just £8.99 including UK postage here




Ticket news:
Fulham (a)

Huddersfield (h) Public sale now (online)
Reading (h) Public sale now (online)
Bristol City (a) ST holder sale now (
25 points)


Mixed bag

Newcastle  3  Vitesse Arnhem  2


Match action is online here

Newcastle successfully completed their five game pre-season schedule on Saturday, overcoming Dutch opposition at St. James' Park to make it eleven games unbeaten for Rafa Benitez and his side. 

However it wasn't all plain sailing for United despite scoring three goals in twenty first half minutes, as Vitesse exposed some defensive jitters and scored twice from set-pieces following the interval.

Debuting their new second choice blue and orange strip at a sparsely-occupied SJP, United attacked the Leazes End and went ahead midway through the first half.

Isaac Hayden's attempted pass to Jack Colback across the edge of the area was taken up by Daryl Janmaat and he swapped passes with Vurnon Anita before looping a centre towards the far post.

The cross was too strong for Dwight Gayle but fell to Matt Ritchie, whose low shot across the six yard box was unwittingly deflected in off Kelvin Leerdam.

That goal was a reward for a bright opening during which Ritchie saw a free kick saved and Ayoze Perez direct a header straight at 'keeper Eloy Room.

A second arrived on 36 minutes, when Gayle's run down the right flank ended with him finding Janmaat as the Dutchman headed infield. 

The right back threaded a neat pass into the box for Perez to swivel and create a shooting chance and although a defender took the ball off his toes, it dropped for Gayle to take a touch and drive home.      

United's third stemmed from a corner that was cleared to Anita and played down the left flank to Perez. With time to size up his options, the Spaniard flipped over a centre to the back post that Colback headed in from the edge of the six yard box.  

The Dutch side gained a foothold in the game six minutes into the second period when their on-loan Chelsea player Nathan had a simple finish after a corner was flicked on at the front post.

Just after the hour Vitesse struck again, this time from the right wing when a free kick wasn't cleared and eventually fell for Gurham Kashia to hammer in. 

That prompted the first of eight changes for United, which inevitably disrupted their flow and saw Arnhem enjoy a brief period of dominance when they could even have conjured up an unlikely equaliser.

The closing stages did produce a few half-chances for Newcastle to cement their victory, but Room's best save was to prevent another OG and a couple of efforts from Aleksander Mitrovic were easily dealt with.  

United held on for the victory and Rafa will have been boosted by positive contributions from new arrivals Ritchie and Hayden, plus some astute contributions from Anita.

A slight injury meant that Chancel Mbemba wasn't involved as a precaution, while pre-season has now concluded without Siem De Jong kicking a ball. 

Cheick Tiote and Florian Thauvin were on the bench but not used - the expectation being that they'll follow Moussa Sissoko down Barrack Road in the coming days. The chances of the latter reprising Damien Duff's Hawthorns cameo in the 2009 opener next week at Craven Cottage don't look great.  

Those likely departures maintain an air of uncertainty as to quite what strength we'll possess once the window shuts, Janmaat's apparent return to the fold looking like a boost - assuming he's here by choice.    

Benitez still has work to do on his final formation and get his new-look defence to act in unison, but as he said recently, the XI for Fulham is already in his mind and likely to be close to the one that started here.

More pre-seasons than we care to recall have made us oblivious to the ups and downs of friendlies and attempts to correlate their results with the real stuff are doomed to failure - even more so since the artificial obstacle of the transfer window appeared.

Regardless of the opposition though, the records will show we won four games and drew one, scoring 17 goals with 13 different players on target. The four goals conceded all came from or after set pieces. 

Looking back over the last Championship season in 2009, our verdict after six pre-season games was summed up as "unconvincing" and "uninspiring". 

At this point back then, optimism was in short supply and what anticipation there was for the Championship season was largely as a distraction from the ongoing off-field pantomime.  

Indeed, it took a Shola Ameobi hat trick against

Reading in the second game to put an end to our self-pity and move forward to the task in hand. 

Seven years on, the mood is utterly different; the relegation issue instantly processed and filed. We also possess a manager who commands respect from his employers and opponents...and doesn't have a job title including the word "interim".

Expressing some concerns about the playing strength is understandable, but has to be put in the context of what we'll come up against. 

There was enough pace, poise and talent on show today to suggest we'll be a threat to every team in the division. It's now a question of adding more quality, options and goal threat to get this right first time. 

Team: Sels, Janmaat (Sterry 73), Dummett, Lascelles, Hanley (Gamez 62), Hayden (Saivet 73), Colback (Shelvey 62), Anita (Gouffran 73), Perez (Armstrong 62), Gayle (Mitrovic 73), Ritchie (Aarons 62).
Subs n/u: Darlow, Tiote, Thauvin.

Goals: OG(Leerdam) (22), Gayle (41), Colback (41)

Vitesse: Room, Leerdam (Lelieveld 71), Kashia, Kruiswijk, Ota, Nakamba, Baker, Vako (Foor 46), Rashica, Zhang (Van Wolfswinkel 62), Nathan (Van Bergen 71)
Subs n/u: Van Der Werff, Dauda, Osman, Kotte, Tornes, Houwen, Koryan, Faye. 

Goals: Nathan (51), Kashia (61) 

Referee: Sebastien Stockbridge.


Aside from seasons when Intertoto Cup ties were played instead of friendlies, United last completed a pre-season without defeat in 1995/96.

KK's side beat Hartlepool, Rushden, Gateshead, Hearts and Spurs, playing a draw with Celtic. 


I was really pleased with the first half and pleased with some of the chances that we created.

“I was a little disappointed with the two goals we conceded but in pre-season you have to adjust things.

“You have to change players, systems and teams around and the mistakes we did make, I hope we won’t concede when the real season starts.

“I was really pleased with the goals we scored and the way we played.

“I think the team was doing well and Gayle and Ritchie have quality too. We have seen a lot of good things - even in the second half.

“I don’t want to say negative things about the second half. I just think that knew that they were 3-0 down and they would keep pushing and pushing. That’s the reason why it was harder.

“We still had other good chances and I think both teams did well. There were mistakes but we can change them in time.

"You always think as a manager that you can improve. I think we are close but we have room for improvement and I think we will do that.”

On transfers:

"I can’t complain about anything.

"You always have clubs asking about your players’ futures. They need to train and do well but I am feeling very positive.

“We are still working behind the scenes to do some deals. I am happy but I still think we have to balance the team a bit more.

“We have 46 games in the Championship but we have to make sure we approach every game the right way until the end.

“We know some players will leave and we have to replace them.”

“We don’t talk about names. The players that are here now, some know we are already working.

“Everything is clear. There are players who aren’t here, like Moussa, so we will have to wait. He will start with us until we have any other news.”

Crowd: 19,200 including around 150 Arnhem fans present, housed in the North East Corner.

Home followers in the Gallowgate End made a couple of attempts at emulating that slow clap from Iceland fans at Euro 2016. Thankfully they failed....

There was a one (young) man pitch invasion after the final whistle while the players were applauding the crowd, with Lascelles approaching the steward who became involved to defuse the situation.


NUFC home pre-season friendlies - last decade:

2016/17 Vitesse Arnhem won 3-2
2015/16 Monchengladbach lost 0-1 21,088
2014/15 Real Sociedad won 1-0 19,199
2013/14 SC Braga drew 1-1 16,187
2011/12 Fiorentina drew 0-0 12,656*
2010/11 PSV Eindhoven drew 2-2 16,118
2009/10 Leeds United drew 0-0 16,945
2008/09 Valencia won 2-1 31,494
2008/09 PSV Eindhoven drew 2-2 13,477
2007/08 Sampdoria won 1-0 23,078
2007/08 Juventus won 2-0 34,016
2007/08 Celtic won 4-1 30,225
2006/07 Villarreal drew 2-2 20,144
2006/07 PSV Eindhoven lost 2-3 20,175

*abandoned after 63 mins

Proud sponsors of

DK Max:
Kelly hat giveaway
- ends Sunday


Having sold out earlier in the year (when right minded people should really have been buying woolly hats), Tyneside-based merchandiser Spirit of 69 have replenished stocks of their "David Kelly" bucket hat. 

Available in various sizes online here for £21.50, we have one up for grabs in a free-to-enter giveaway. 

Simply identify a former Magpie striking colleague of Ned from the following clues:

Signed from non-league side Kettering Town
Scored 13 times in 51 games under 3 managers
Left for West Brom and ended his days at Charlton

Email your answer to (subject: Hat).

Closing date is Sun July 31st @ 9pm - one per person please. Entries welcome from across the planet.

Second string:
City stalemate


York City  1  NUFC Res  1

While the first team were in action at Gallowgate on Saturday, United's reserve side maintained their own unbeaten pre-season run at Bootham Crescent.

Aidan Kennedy gave the National League Minstermen a ninth minute lead but Magpies defender Stuart Findlay levelled from a Callum Roberts corner three minutes into the second half.

Harker, Mbabu, Williams, Findlay, Cameron, Barlaser, Bigirimana, Gilliead (Holmes 74), Vuckic (Longstaff 86), Roberts (Ben El-Mhanni 71) Toney.
Subs n/u: Woolston, Broccoli, Newberry.

885 exclusive:
Promotion Promotion

Our betting partner Coral are currently offering new customers 10/1 on Newcastle winning promotion from the Championship this coming season.

The maximum stake is £5 and should Rafa's side fail in their quest, your stake will be refunded as a £5 bet.

This enhanced price is only available online here

(NB: this can't be combined with any other promos)

Coral now have their match markets for our opener at Fulham online with the following catching our eye:

NUFC to win 1-0 @ 13/2
NUFC to win to nil @ 12/5 
HT draw, FT NUFC win @ 9/4
1-1 draw FT @ 11/2
NUFC to come from behind and win 10/1


Friday's Brighton Argus newspaper reported interest from United in signing Albion's right winger Anthony Knockeart, with an undisclosed bid claimed to be around £8m rejected in recent days.

24 year-old Knockeart joined the Seagulls in January 2016, scoring five goals in 18 Championship starts. He's under contract at the Amex until 2019.

Previously with Leicester City, the Frenchman ended a three year stint with the Foxes in 2015 when he left under freedom of contract to join Standard Liege. 

Mac back at Brunton

Newcastle reserve defender Macaulay Gillesphey has returned to League Two side Carlisle United on loan, following a successful spell there last season.

20 year-old Gillesphey made 27 appearances in all competitions for the Cumbrians last season and has agreed a switch until early January 2017.

The news is less positive on fellow loan player Liam Smith however, who picked up a foot injury during a pre-season game for his new club Crewe Alexandra.

Scans showed no broken bones, but the 20 year-old midfielder has returned to the Magpies for treatment and is set to miss Crewe's season opener against Stevenage this coming Saturday. 

ST refunds: update

Press release from NUFC, Thursday:

Newcastle United have confirmed details of how season ticket holders will receive discounts after the club reduced all season ticket prices at St. James' Park by 10% for 2016/17.

The club has written to season ticket holders to confirm that required updates of its ticketing system are now complete and has thanked them for their patience while waiting for payment information.

From early September, all supporters who pay for their season ticket with a lump sum up front will be receiving a refund payment to the value of 10% of their season ticket.

The club will be writing to supporters individually to confirm precise details of how this payment will be made very shortly.

Season ticket holders who use the club's Direct Debit scheme will start to see lower monthly payments from September onwards, which will equate to a total final saving of 10%.

Tiote departure delay 

Update: a rejected bid of £800K is being claimed.

Despite being absent from the Newcastle squad at Southend United on Tuesday, the departure of midfielder Cheick Tiote remains in some doubt. 

The Ivorian has one year left on his deal and has reportedly been in negotiations with Al Jazira, who participate in the Arabian Gulf League.

However Sky report that the Abu Dhabi-based club's valuation of Tiote is some way off United's and the player is now back in training at Darsley Park.

Sky Sports also report that Lazio's bid to sign Florian Thauvin has been rejected. The possibility of another loan move to Olympique Marseille with a subsequent purchase option remains on the table.

PS: Ahead of a scheduled return to training on Monday (when the first team are put through their paces at the SJP open day), transfer links to malcontented Moussa Sissoko haven't yet translated into bids.

That leaves the fate of Sammy Ameobi (in training but not involved in any senior or reserve pre-season games) and Remy Cabella (in pre-season with Marseille but not yet confirmed as a permanent signing) to be revealed.

Back home

Mark Allison aka Run Geordie Run returned to the North East on Thursday, after successfully completing the 2016 leg of his global charity challenge.

An 83 day route through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia added a magnificent 2,633 miles to his total.

Fundraising for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation, with donations totaling over £42.5K raised from Mark's latest leg - boosting the figure raised since 2007 to over £255K.

If you'd like donate, please do so online here 

Unlikely lads:
(Old) spice boy

Fresh from what can reasonably be called an Indian summer with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016, Aaron Hughes has extended his club career by signing for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Premier League 

Spending last season in Australia with Melbourne City, Aaron is the third ex-Magpie to join the Blasters after Michael Chopra in 2014 and Peter Ramage last year.

Unlikely lads:
Thai aye man

Ex-United striker Xisco is on the move again, joining
Muangthong United
in Thailand. The 30 year-old left Cordoba in his native Spain after they missed out on promotion to the top flight, but wasn't fit enough to debut in a 3-2 win over Buriram United last week.    

An announcement is expected soon from MLS side Portland Timbers, confirming that they have reached agreement to sign old boy Steven Taylor.

The 30 year-old is now a free agent after his contract expired and had received contracts offers from various clubs including Glasgow Rangers. 



Matz Sels
24 year-old Belgian international 'keeper signed from KAA Gent on a five year deal for approx £5m, the costliest custodian in our history.   

Matt Ritchie 26 year-old Scottish international left winger bought for £12m from Bournemouth on a five year contract. Formerly with Portsmouth, Dagenham and Redbridge, Notts County, Swindon Town.

Dwight Gayle fleet-footed 25 year-old forward who arrived on a five year deal from Crystal Palace for £10m. Also played at Arsenal, Stansted, Dagenham and Redbridge, Bishop's Stortford and Peterborough.

Jesus Games turned down the chance to rejoin his former club Malaga from Atletico Madrid when Rafa Benitez made his interest known. The 31 year-old Spanish-born right back signed a two year deal.

Isaac Hayden arrived from Arsenal on a permanent deal, the Essex-born 21 year-old defender/midfielder agreeing a five year contract. He helped Hull City achieve PL promotion last season while on loan.

Grant Hanley defected from fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers to United, becoming the second Scottish international in the squad with Ritchie. 

The 24 year-old hails from Dumfries and previously played for Crewe Alexandra.


Sylvain Marveaux Contract expired

Gabriel Obertan
Contract expired

Steven Taylor
Contract expired

Andros Townsend Joined Crystal Palace for £13m after the Eagles triggered a release clause inserted into his deal when arriving from Spurs in January.

Fabricio Coloccini Negotiated an early release from his contract in order to return to Argentina and join former club San Lorenzo.

Papiss Cisse Moved into the final season of his deal and agreed a transfer to Chinese Super League club 
Shandong Luneng for an undisclosed fee.

Gini Wijnaldum followed in the boot steps of Didi Hamann, Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique by making a switch to Liverpool. Just 12 months into a five year contract, he moved to Anfield for a claimed £25m. 

Old boys:
Unlikely lads 
Old boys with new clubs:

Joey Barton (Glasgow Rangers)
Craig Baxter (South Shields)
Hatem Ben Arfa
(Paris SG)
Leon Best
(West Bromwich Albion - trial)
Jamie Cobain
Adam Collin
(Notts County)
Mark Cook
(Dunston UTS)
Frank Wiafe Danquah
(Fortuna Sittard)
Nicky Deverdics
(Hartlepool United)
Ryan Donaldson (Plymouth Argyle)
Seydou Doumbia (Basel)
David Edgar (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Alex Francis (Bishop Auckland)
Matthew Grieve (Morpeth Town)
Lewis Guy (Annan Athletic)
Aaron Hughes
(Kerala Blasters)
Brad Inman
(Peterborough United)
Sylvain Marveaux (Lorient)
Callum Morris
Charles N'Zogbia (mackems - trial)
Oguchi Onyewu (Rangers - trial) 
Matty Pattison (Blyth Spartans)
Ben Pollock (Hartlepool United)
Nile Ranger (Southend United)
Louis Storey (South Shields)
Ryan Taylor (Rotherham United - trial)
Ryan Taylor (Wigan Athletic - trial)
Ben Tozer (Newport County)
Jake Trodd (Newcastle Benfield)
Xisco (Muangthong United)

Coaches etc:

John Carver
(AC Omonoia M - Cyprus)
Steve Clarke (Aston Villa AM)
Patrick Kluivert (PSG D of F)
Nigel Pearson (Derby County M)
Carl Serrant (Charlton Athletic C)
Paul Stephenson (Kilmarnock C)
Steve Watson (Macclesfield Town AM)

Jennings Ford Direct
Jennings Ford Direct | 0845 020 5918


Fixtures, Tickets etc.
Season 2016/17

The ticket office is on the first floor of the SJP club shop, under the Gallowgate End towards the Strawberry.

Paid-for matchday ticket collections take place from the windows at the back of the Gallowgate End Stand, above NINE Bar.

Matchday ticket sales are from the Box Office in the Milburn Stand, just up the slope from the Sir Bobby Robson Statue.

SJP Box Office phone: 0844 372 1892* 
(7p per minute plus network charge)

* 0044 870 444 1892 from overseas


Online Box Office is here

SJP seating plan is here

Of interest to those who are awaiting the promised refund / direct debit change following price reductions is the following:

Following the 10% discount, existing season ticket holders who have paid up front in full will soon be receiving details of refunds, while existing season ticket holders on the club's Direct Debit scheme will be notified of reductions in their payments shortly.

Existing season ticket holders are reminded to retain last season's entry card. New season ticket holders and supporters who have moved seats or changed concession bands will receive a new card by Thursday 4th August.

On the opening day of ticket sales, they officially commence at 10am - with any points reduction for away tickets becoming effective at the same time.

Away tickets are sold only to season ticket holders and members. All ST holders are also automatically members (a non-negotiable fee is added annually by NUFC to each ST).

A £1 administration fee per ticket applies to away sales in all competitions, with no upper limit. In addition, non-NUFC members pay the same fee on home ticket sales.

NUFC's members only away ticket policy is still in force, with only NUFC ST holders and members able to purchase tickets. 

altoonative travel is the public face of the Newcastle United Travel Plan, designed to help fans attend matches using the most efficient and sustainable methods available.


Heading to the Toon?

City guide

Geordie Map here  

NE guide here

Mon 01.08.2016 SJP open training session. Full details tbc, free admission.

Mon 01.08.2016
NUFC second and third kits go on sale.

Mon 01.08.2016 Res v Ashington (a)
@ Woodhorn Lane, 7.30pm. Friendly.
£6 adults, £2 concessions. Pay at the gate.

Fri 05.08.2016 Fulham (a) @ Craven Cottage, 7.45pm. Championship. Live on Sky Sports. SOLD OUT (allocation: 2,750)

Sat 13.08.2016 U18s v Everton (h) @ Little Benton, 12.30pm. U18 Premier League.

Sat 13.08.2016 Huddersfield Town (h)
@ SJP, 3pm. Championship. Public sale now (online), Mon 01.08.2016 (in person/by phone).

Mon 15.08.2016 Res v Norwich City (a) @ Colney Training Centre, KO tbc. Premier League 2. NB: venue switch from home to away.

Wed 17.08.2016 Reading (h)
@ SJP, 7.45pm. Championship. Public sale now (online), Mon 01.08.2016 (in person/by phone).

Sat 20.08.2016 U18s v West Bromwich Albion (a) @ WBA Training Ground, KO tbc. U18 Premier League.

Sat 20.08.2016 Bristol City (a)
@ Ashton Gate, 3pm. Championship. ST holder sale now (25 points), 0 from Mon 01.08.2016.
£30 adults, £27 over-65s/U25s, £15 U19s, £10 for U12s. Allocation: 2,500.

Mon 22.08.2016 Res v West Ham (a) @ venue tbc, KO tbc. Premier League 2.

Sun 09.10.2016 Alan Shearer's Newcastle Legends team v Keith Gillespie's Manchester Select, Kingston Park, 1.30pm.

Tickets from £10 adults & £5 juniors via 0871 226 6060 or online here (Hospitality packages via 0191 214 2892). Proceeds donated to the Alan Shearer Foundation. 

Sat 06.05.2017
Championship season ends (all games kick off at Noon).

(Championship playoff final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Mon 29.05.2017)

Confirmed NUFC UK live TV coverage:

NUFC Live on Sky Sports:

Fri 05.08.2016
Fulham (a) 7.45pm
Sat 27.08.2016 Brighton (h) 5.30pm
Sat 10.09.2016 Derby County (a) 5.30pm Sat 24.09.2016 Aston Villa (a) 5.30pm

From the EF: The next selections are due for consideration early next month with an announcement set for just after the opening weekend of the season (Aug 6).

League Cup (aka The EFL Cup):
United have a bye to Round 2.

R1 w/c 08.08.2016
R2 w/c 22.08.2016
R3 w/c 19.09.2016
R4 w/c 24.10.2016
R5 w/c 28.11.2016
SF1 w/c 09.01.2017
SF2 w/c 23.01.2017
F Sun 26.02.2017

FA Cup:
United enter in Round 3 - draw date tbc

R3 07.01.2017
R4 28.01.2017
R5 18.02.2017
R6 11.03.2017
SF 22.04.2017
Sat 27.05.2017

United have declined an invitation to enter a team in the 2016/17 EFL Trophy.

Metro line closures 2016:

Sat 23.07.2016 to Sat 06.08.2016 From Benton to Whitley Bay both ways. 


International Magpies
National Service
2016/17 future match dates:
Mon-Tue 29.08.2016-06.09.2016
Mon-Tue 03-11.10.2016
Mon-Fri 07-18.11.2016
Mon-Tue 20-28.03.2017
Coxy's Cockup Corner
Whoops, He did it Again...

What's this all about then?
Click here  
for a rambling explanation of sorts....

On This Day in History
31st July

Born Or Died:

1944 Tommy Robson born, Gateshead.

Winger who began his playing career with Redheugh Boys club and was working in a garage as a school leaver when a chance meeting with former Magpie Jimmy Scoular led to a trial at St.James' Park.

That was in 1959, but no contract offer was forthcoming from United boss Charlie Mitten and Tommy ended up joining Northampton Town two years later. 

Chelsea paid £30,000 for him in November 1965 but opportunities were limited at Stamford Bridge and Robson jumped at the chance to join Newcastle in late 1966.

Arriving at SJP at the same time as John McNamee and Dave Elliot, Robson helped United climb away from the foot of Division One, although his debut resulted in a 0-4 loss at Spurs on the last day of 1966.

Finishing second top scorer behind Wyn Davies the following season with 11 goals, Tommy picked up a foot injury early the following season and saw rookie Geoff Allen replace him to good effect as United made their entrance in the Fairs Cup. 

The Magpies made a £7,000 profit when Tommy joined Peterborough in October 1968 and 111 goals in 482 games made him an idol of Posh supporters.

Moving on to Nuneaton Borough, Tommy also played for Stamford, Northampton Town and Chatteris before returned to London Road as a youth coach in 1986.

Acting as a match day host for Posh and local radio pundit in the Peterborough area, Tommy suffered a heart attack in 2012 but recovered and returned to Tyneside for an ex-players reunion in July 2013. 

1959 Peter Manners born, Sunderland.

Midfielder who came through United's youth ranks and made his senior debut in a home win over Bristol Rovers in May 1979.

Keeping his place for the final game of the season at Gallowgate against Brighton days later, Peter failed to break back into the senior side and left in December 1979.

Manners spent a year in Hong Kong with Seiko Sports before returning to the North East, where he played for Blyth Spartans, Bedlington Terriers and Seaton Delaval.

1966 Rob McKinnon born, Glasgow.

Left back "Rab" began his career with East Kilbride Youth Club and Rutherglen Glencairn on his native Clydeside, before moving to SJP in 1985.

However he'd feature just once for the Newcastle first team, in a 1-5 drubbing away at Spurs in September 1985, when deputising for the injured Kenny Wharton. 

Released in the summer of 1986, McKinnon went on to have a successful career in the game, initially with Hartlepool United (which included a brief non-playing loan spell at Manchester United).

Returning to Scotland with Motherwell in 1991, McKinnon won the first of three full Scottish international caps in a World Cup Qualifier against Malta two years later.

1997 saw him join Dutch side FC Twente on a Bosman free before returning to Scotland with Heart of Midlothian.

Winding down his career with loan spells at Hartlepool and Carlisle, Rab also played for Clydebank and later served as player/coach of junior side Bellshill Athletic. 

With spells as a players agent and radio pundit, he also continues to work in the family business - commercial vehicle dealership McKinnon & Forbes in Paisley.

1981 Titus Bramble born, Ipswich.

Titus was an England U21 international when Sir Bobby Robson persuaded United to bring him from Ipswich Town to Tyneside at a cost of £4.5m in July 2002.

First sighted in a pre-season friendly in Holland against minnows UDI '19 Beter Bed, Bramble's competitive debut came in a 1-0 Champions League victory over Zeljeznicar in Sarajevo.

He partnered Nicos Dabizas in central defence that night and would gone on to play alongside Steve Caldwell, Jonathan Woodgate, Aaron Hughesm Andy O'Brien, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Craig Moore, Peter Ramage and Steven Taylor during his five seasons in a Newcastle shirt.

Regardless of his partner though, Bramble was never able to show the concentration and consistency that could have seen him force his way into the full England squad.

And for every blockbuster tackle or moment of skill, the inevitable "Titus moment" was lurking around the corner - often with appalling consequences for United.

Allowing his contract to run out, Bramble joined Wigan in June 2007, gifting United a winner on his first return to Gallowgate three months later.  

Almost inevitably though he made a scoring visit to Tyneside with Wigan in November 2008 - notching a last minute effort to earn his side a point in a 2-2 draw.

Inspired by some elements of the media, there has been something of a revision of history recently about Bramble being the victim of poor treatment by Newcastle.

In the summer of 2010, Bramble's Latics ex-boss, Steve Bruce, made a surprise decision to sign Titus for the mackems - a move that tickled many Toon fans.

And his sending off in the 5-1 humiliation of the mackems at SJP in October 2010 was the cherry on a rather massive cake....

Another dismissal in May 2012 though came as something of a relief to Titus, when he walked free from Teesside Crown Court.

That came after Bramble was found not guilty of two sexual assault charges that were alleged to have taken place on the same night out in Yarm a year earlier.

Released by the mackems in summer 2013, Bramble was linked with moves to sides in both Turkey and Serbia. 

Sighted at West Ham and Ipswich Town, he played as a trialist in friendly games for both clubs ahead of the 2013/14 season but a reported knee problem sidelined him.  

He was subsequently reported to be coaching youngsters at Portman Road.

1991 Michael McCrudden born, Derry,  Northern Ireland. (2007-10)

Arriving at SJP in 2007 with his fellow Northern Ireland youth internationals Partrick McLaughlin and Shane Ferguson, Michael appeared in midfield and attack during his time with United.

Making his reserve team debut at Bolton in September 2008, Michael however failed to establish himself at that level and injury would also limit his U18 appearances.

Released by Newcastle at the end of the 2009/10 season, he joined Derry City and later moved on to city rivals Institute.

Following their relegation in 2015, Michael made the switch to Ballinamallard.

2009 Death of Sir Bobby Robson.
(Mgr 1999-2004)

As a footballer, Bobby appeared for Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and England before ending his career with Vancouver Royals.

His managerial career then began back at Craven Cottage before a successful stint at Ipswich Town, which led to his appointment as England boss.

Returning to club management, Bobby then enjoyed success in the Netherlands (PSV), Portugal (Sporting Lisbon and Porto) and Spain (Barcelona).

Having failed to convince him to break his contract at Barcelona and become United boss in 1997, the Magpies had rather more success two years later, by which time Bobby had returned to Eindhoven.

Installed in succession to Ruud Gullit, Bobby's home debut as Newcastle manager promptly saw his new side beat Sheffield Wednesday 8-0, with Alan Shearer netting five of those.

After successive 11th place finishes, Robson then steered United to 4th, 3rd and 5th place. In 188 Premier League games, his side registered 83 wins, 51 draws and 54 losses.

And in the cups, Sir Bobby managed semi final appearances in both FA Cup and UEFA Cup competitions.

However his most memorable cup campaign was to be in the Champions League in 2002/03, when United played fourteen games - their longest-ever European campaign.

A qualifier in Sarajevo, success in Rotterdam and Leverkusen, a fighting draw in Milan and an emotional return to the Nou Camp were all epic trips. And at home, beating Juventus and Dynamo Kiev were also highlights. 

In truth, the 2003/04 season ended on a low note with UEFA Cup elimination to Marseilles in the semi-final and then a home draw with Wolves that saw most of the SJP crowd fail to stick around for the post-match parade - a vote of no confidence in the manager that many folk failed to recall in later years.

And although draws at Southampton and Liverpool saw the club scrape back into Europe, the damage was done.

Robson took his side to Thailand and Hong Kong in pre-season, but after two draws and two losses in the Premier League he was relieved of his duties and exited from the training ground, golf putter in hand.

After losing 4-2 at Aston Villa in what was to be his final game, we wrote that:

The ninety minutes had encapsulated the previous five years of Sir Bobby's reign: initial difficulties overcome, the promise of something magical but ultimately heartache and disappointment with the fates always seeming to conspire against us.

A subsequent advisory role with the Republic of Ireland proved to be Sir Bobby's final job and he became a regular spectator at both SJP and the stadium of plight, not to mention Durham cricket club.

Failing health and a recurrence of the cancer that he'd successfully fought previously began to take their toll, but he devoted the final years of his life to charitable works - notably the massively successful foundation established in his name to raise funds for cancer research.

Sir Bobby passed away just days after what was his final SJP appearance at a charity match staged in his honour and following that announcement, the Leazes End of the ground became a shrine to his life - with flags, shirts, scarves and flowers laid.

Subsequent tributes included a bust sculpted by Tom Maley and exhibited in Old Milburn reception at SJP and a memorial garden created just off Gallowgate.

May 2012 then saw Sir Bobby's family unveil a statue of him at the South West corner of the stadium - close to the spot where he was first introduced to supporters as the Magpies boss back in 1999. 

And the fifth anniversary of his passing in 2014 saw Sir Bobby's widow Lady Elsie confirm that an incredible £7.3m had been raised by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to aid cancer research and treatment.  


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What Else?

1972 Partick Thistle (a)

Macdonald(44), Gibb(57)
McQuade(35), Glavin(52)
After victory at St. Johnstone two days earlier, United's three game tour of Scotland continued with this Firhill stalemate. Ex-Jag Tommy Gibb was made captain for that and crashed home a 20-yard equaliser. 

1991 IF Rimbo (Sweden) (a) 6-2 (1-1)
Hunt (10,60,65)
scorers tbc(0-1)

Newcastle's pre-season tour of Sweden moved on to a small town near Stockholm, where Andy Hunt and Mick Quinn both found conditions to their liking.

1993 Berwick Rangers (a)

Cole(2), Papavasiliou(57pen), Mathie(80)
A routine victory over the part-timers from the banks of the Tweed, on a day when the biggest hazard proved to be the wind blowing across Shielfield Park and scattered the contents of the surrounding speedway track into spectators' eyes.

1999 Bochum (Germany) (a)

Balusynski(41,63), Schreiber(67)
A thoroughly underwhelming pre-season ended in defeat at this German Second Division team. Nice beer though.... match report

2000 Burnley (a)

Striker Carl Cort made it three goals in two games as he headed the only goal at Turf Moor in the continued absence of Alan Shearer. match report.

2002 Nottingham Forest (a) 1-3 (1-1)


Johnson(16), Lester(46), Bopp(79)
A cracking goal from Hugo Viana but on a sunny night by the Trent there was little else for the away fans to cheer.

Future Magpie loanee Marlon Harewood was in the home side, but failed to make any real impact. Meanwhile Forest old boy Jermaine Jenas appeared as a United substitute. match report

2004 Rangers (h)

Shearer(11pen), Bellamy(29), Bernard(37), Dyer(90)
Prso(43), Ricksen(85)
Nicky Butt made his Magpies bow as a half-time substitute but by then his new colleagues had blown the Ibrox chaps away with a three-goal first half onslaught, silencing the travelling masses.

Peter Lovenkrands and some guy named Boumsong were both in the Rangers starting XI - one would later return to SJP in a value for money deal, the other wouldn't.... match report

2006 Juventus, Marseille and Monaco were all (incredibly) linked with defender Jean-Alain Boumsong. Meanwhile, the link with Sol Campbell cooled.

Other speculation had us interested in: Jefferson Farfan, Jonathan Woodgate, Wayne Bridge, Miroslav Klose, Jermain Defoe and Juventus's Croatian defender Robert Kovac.

2007 As Kieron Dyer was poised to leave the club, news broke that his car and house had been attacked by angry Newcastle fans after the Juventus friendly.

Meanwhile, reports in Manchester suggested that Alan Smith was being lined-up as a replacement. Scapegoat, presumably.

2009 The death of Sir Bobby Robson was announced. He was 76. A statement released on behalf of his family read: 

"It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

"He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

"Sir Bobby's funeral will be private and for family members only. A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby's life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

"Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time."

2010 PSV Eindhoven (Holland) (h)
R.Taylor(52), Best(72)
Toivonen(10), Dzsudzsák(42)
Second half goals from Ryan Taylor and Leon Best helped United to recover from a 0-2 half-time deficit against Dutch opposition.

On the first anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson's passing, both sides joined fans in a minute's applause before kick-off, as Newcastle debuted their new Puma home kit. match report