Newcastle Football Club is steeped in the English game’s tradition and history. However, the Magpies have certainly enjoyed a rollercoaster history, with drama, intrigue and controversy galore.
They have had their ups and downs since their foundation in 1892, including some recent relegations to the Championship and their acquisition by a wealthy foreign ownership group.
Early titles for the Magpies
The answer to whether Newcastle has ever won the Premier League is simple. They have not won the English top flight in its current guise. However, when we talk about the First Division, that’s a totally different story. The Magpies have actually claimed the English top-flight league title on four occasions in their history.
After two failed applications to join the First Division, the Magpies finally won promotion to the English top-flight in season 1889/90 and finished their first top-flight campaign in 13th place in the standings.
The Magpies’ first English top-flight title arrived in season 1904-05, with two more to follow in 1906/07 and 1908/09. Newcastle also suffered FA Cup final heartbreak in 1905 and 1906, losing finals to Aston Villa and Everton, respectively.
The team from the north east finally claimed their first major silverware in 1910, as the Magpies defeated Barnsley in the final of the FA Cup. Once again, they tasted disappointment a season later, though, when suffering a defeat to Bradford City in the final of the competition.
A wait for more glory and relegation
Newcastle failed to achieve anything of note until they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1924. The Magpies gained revenge over Aston Villa by recording a 2-0 victory in only the second final to be played at the then-new Wembley Stadium.
Newcastle followed that cup success up with their fourth and latest English title to date in season 1926/27. Club legend and prolific marksman Hugh Gallacher not only played a vital role in the triumph but also captained the team to glory.
The north east side staved off relegation in 1930, which led to the departure of star striker Gallacher to Chelsea. Despite Gallacher’s departure, the Magpies won their third FA Cup in 1932, as they defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the final.
Disaster followed triumph in 1934, though, as Newcastle suffered relegation to the Second Division after 34 years in the English top flight.
Recovery after World War ll
The Magpies even came close to dropping down into the third tier of the English game in 1938 before World War ll broke out in 1939. The break in action gave Newcastle a fresh start, and the Magpies brought in key players such as the legendary Jackie Milburn, Tommy Walker and Bobby Cowell.
United won promoted back to the English top flight in season 1947/48. Further success arrived in the FA Cup in the 1950s, as Newcastle lifted the trophy three times in 1951, 1952 and 1955, beating Blackpool, Arsenal and Manchester City in the finals.
However, the success turned to failure in season 1960/61, as the Magpies again suffered relegation to the Second Division. It took them until 1965 to return to the First Division after winning the Second Division title.
The up and down years
With star forward Malcom Macdonald in the team, Newcastle once again reached the FA Cup final in 1974, where they suffered a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool. Two years later, they also suffered defeat in the League Cup final, losing 2-1 against Manchester City.
The mixed fortunes continued when in 1978, the Magpies once again dropped down into the English Second Division. Newcastle won promotion under Arthur Cox in 1984, with Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and ex-England captain Kevin Keegan playing critical roles in their promotion back to the top flight.
The Magpies’ top-flight status lasted until 1989 when they once again returned to the Second Division following the sales of the likes of Waddle, Beardsley and promising youngster Paul Gascoigne.
The Kevin Keegan years
In 1992, Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle as the team’s new manager. He saved the Magpies from dropping down the pyramid even further. The north east team then won promotion to the newly formed Premier League in 1993 after the club’s hierarchy allowed Keegan to spend money to strengthen his squad.
Keegan’s attacking philosophy helped Newcastle finish third place in the Premier League table in their first season back in the top flight, which was their highest finish in the English top flight since 1927.
The former Liverpool hero then guided the Magpies to back-to-back runners-up finishes in seasons 1995/96 and 1996/97, with the likes of David Ginola, Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand the star attractions.
Keegan left the club to be replaced by another former Liverpool man in the shape of Kenny Dalglish. However, in season 1997/98, Newcastle finished 13th in the Premier League table. They also suffered a 2-0 FA Cup defeat against Arsenal in the same season.
Dutch legend Ruud Gullit replaced Dalglish in the hot seat the following season. It was a case of history repeating itself, as they once again finished 13th place in the table and suffered a 2-0 FA Cup final defeat, this time against Manchester United.
Bobby Robson replaced Gullit as the team’s boss four games into the 2001/02 season, with Newcastle rock bottom of the table. Boyhood Newcastle fan Robson guided the Magpies to a third-place finish in the next campaign and fifth in season 2003/04.
Robson left the club in August 2004 after reported disagreements with the club hierarchy, and Graeme Souness arrived as his replacement. The Scot took Newcastle to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup before being sacked in February 2006 with the team on a poor run of form. Souness’ replacement Glenn Roeder guided the Magpies to seventh place in the table before leaving by mutual consent in May 2007.
Mike Ashley arrives as club owner
In 2007, Newcastle’s majority shareholder Freddy Sheppard sold his shares in the club to London businessman Mike Ashley. Keegan returned as boss for the 2007/08 season. His team finished 12th place in the table and once again left in September 2008 after criticising the club’s hierarchy for a lack of investment.
Newcastle suffered relegation to the Championship in season 2008/09, under interim head coach Alan Shearer after Keegan’s replacement Joe Kinnear went into hospital for heart surgery.
Long-term coach Chris Hughton was appointed as the club’s new boss initially temporarily, but after impressing, he was given the job full-time. Hughton guided his team to the Championship title in season 2009/10.
Despite the team making an excellent start to their return to the Premier League, the club sacked Hughton on December 6th, and Alan Pardew signed a five-and-half-year deal as his replacement. The season saw the Magpies finish 12th place in the Premier League table.
In season 2012/13, the Magpies finished fifth place in the table and secured a spot in the Europa League for the next season. Due to the team’s relative success, Pardew won both the Premier League Manager of the Season award and also the LMA Manager of the Year.
However, the following season saw the Magpies struggle to beat the drop after an injury-ravaged opening to the campaign. Despite a poor start to their, Newcastle once again finished fifth place in the table, but Pardew left for former club Crystal Palace in December.
His former assistant John Carver was appointed on an interim basis, and the team from the north east narrowly survived yet another relegation scare. Carver’s reign was short, as he was sacked on June 9th, with Steve McClaren coming in as his replacement.
He lasted just nine months, as in March, the club sacked him, with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez coming in. However, the damage had already been done, and the Spaniard couldn’t stop Newcastle from suffering relegation to the Championship.
The Magpies achieved promotion at the first time of asking, though, winning the Championship title. Benitez guided the north east team to tenth and 13th place finishes in the Premier League before leaving in June amid more claims of a lack of investment in the squad by the club’s owner.
Benitez’s replacement Steve Bruce achieved 13th and 12th-place finishes in his two full seasons in charge of the Magpies.
New owners arrive
In October 2021, Mike Ashley sold his shares in Newcastle Football Club to a consortium comprising of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, RB Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners. Shortly after the new owner’s arrival, Eddie Howe came in as a replacement for Bruce, and the former Bournemouth boss helped the team achieve 11th place in the table. They became the first club in Premier League history to beat the drop, having failed to win any of their opening 14 league games.
A brighter future for Newcastle
Since they arrived at the club, Newcastle’s new owners have shown serious ambition in the transfer market and backed boss Howe. The early signs of the club’s new ownership are good, and Newcastle fans will be excited by the new beginning, as they, as a fanbase, have certainly been put through the mill in recent years by their team.