1996 Collapse Not Possible – We Have Our Doubts

John Beresford was part of the 1995-1996 Newcastle team that held a 12 point lead at the top of the Premier League just before Christmas 1995.

John Beresford – no repeat of 1996

And as we know Manchester United caught us, after some poor results by Newcastle in the run-in, which  included the best game ever in the Premier legue that 4-3 defeat at Liverpool.

The Red Devils ended up with 82 points to win the Premier league title, and Newcastle were second on 78 points.

Liverpool were 3rd on 71 points and Aston Villa just pipped Arsenal on goal difference for 4th place on 63 points.

All familiar clubs still at the top today  and nothing seems to have changed much does it?

Well, other than Newcastle now being in the English  second division of course.

Beresford thinks that Newcastle will do just fine during the run-in, because he thinks things today are very different from what they were 14 years ago.

Beresford talked to the Sunday Sun today:

“There are obvious similarities between this year’s scenario and what happened to us under Kevin Keegan,” “But there are two major differences this time.”

“First, the two clubs challenging Newcastle – West Brom and Nottingham Forest – are not Manchester United.”

“Second, finishing runners-up this year will be good enough. OK, you would rather go up as champions, but what really matters is just that you go up.”

“Contrast that with ‘96, when second place felt like nowhere.” “We were just devastated – you could have heard a pin drop in our dressing room on the final day of the season. I’ve never known a feeling like it.”

“Then there was the massive added frustration of us not pushing on and putting things right the following year.”

“But second place this season is far from nowhere.”

“If I was pushed, I’d admit West Brom look to be the best team in the Championship, and I would back them to win it.”

“But I think Newcastle have got the best squad in the division, they have some home games going up, and I’m sure they’ll also go up.”

“We maybe suffered from a little bit of inexperience in ‘96, especially when Man United  started putting pressure on us.”

“But I don’t see any Cantonas or Schmeichels in this division, so Newcastle will be OK.”

Well we all hope it will not happen, but we wouldn’t put it past Newcastle.

As we learned last season, anything is possible at the Newcastle club – anything

The influence of the manager will also be huge, and Chris Hughton seems a very down to earth manager, who can control his emotions, and that should transmit nicely to the players.

But he has a job to do before Wednesday night.

Our two upcoming home games against Coventry on Wednesday (2:45 pm KO) and Preston on Saturday (3:00pm KO) have to be wins, and we expect Newcastle to put in an all-out attacking display in both these games.

Anything less will be a disappointment.

Comments welcome.

23 comments so far

  • hitman

    Feb 14, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #1

    if we dont go up as champions so be it as long as we go up thats all that matters..

  • The Entertainers

    Feb 14, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #2

    The next 2 games are HUGE!!!!!!

  • clooneytoon

    Feb 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #3

    How can West Brom be the best team yet we have the best squad. If we have the best squad we should have the best team, which means we are obviuosly under-performing and not playing to our potential. I dont like to get on hughtons back cos i like the guy but i still dont think he is getting the best from what we have. Espeically when i read guthrie sayin he doesnt spend much time on tactics in training which is why sometimes we look like we have no method to our play.

  • hitman

    Feb 14, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #4

    i dont think hughton is the right man to take us forward,like clooney says the lads should be playing better,they look like heedless chickens.

  • TheGallowgateEnd

    Feb 14, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #5

    Maybe we have the best squad but we won’t succeed as a team as long as Hughton keeps lining up Andy Carroll as our only frontman.

  • clooneytoon

    Feb 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #6

    Smith is obvously wrecked cos at the begining of the season he was impressive and runnig around like a man possesed getting in tackles whereas now he’s playin more like butt sittin in front of the back four and barely moving unless a player comes his way.

    Swansea where better than us in possession but also without it, they didnt give our lads a moments peace on the ball and closed down from the front.

  • MacToon

    Feb 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #7

    clooneytoon, agree with both ur posts.

    Smith has little pace and cannot read the game well, he gave a bad freekick away again yesterday just infront of the box, that’s what I expect from him now!

  • TheGallowgateEnd

    Feb 14, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #8

    Guthrie should also be criticized. Poor game yesterday.

  • Marty-Toon

    Feb 14, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #9

    You could see the frustration on Hughton`s face yesterday….he was fuming.
    He had a game plan and i think all the lads knew it but he cannot make them pass the ball to their own players if they don`t want to…….
    The passing was so pathetic,Sunday League football quality.
    Hughton cannot get the blame for players under performing!He put out a good squad that should have played well but got played off the park.
    They didn`t look interested and had little fight.
    They ran after their opponents but as soon as we got the ball we gave it away again.
    We need to raise our game Big Time

  • joe

    Feb 14, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #10

    The sign of a successful side is when they have a blip they continue to win games or avoid defeat. Eventually though the blips stop and they start playing better and win games.

    This isn’t happening at Newcastle.

    No amount of “We’d have accepted this position at the start of the season” type posts give me any reassurance.

    We now see “It doesn’t matter how we go up as long as we go up” posts. That is true but it shows signs of desperation.

    I’m going to the game against Coventry. I was at the game down their place and it was turgid stuff. I’ll settle for the same again if they go on to improve, but I can’t see it happening.

    A blind man could see that we are hopelessly deficient in midfield, and yet nothing has been done to correct this.

    I wonder if deficiencies were evaluated on the amount of money spent on wages. I guess Butt, Smith and Barton are taking a huge chunk of money between them. Smith is buggered and has been since the day he arrived. Butt should have retired by now. Barton may well save the day when he returns, but he’s no genius and would anyone be surprised if he wasn’t off injured again in a couple of games.

    We lost a big league before thanks to adopting the same defending policy that saw us get that lead and Cantonna playing put of his skin game after game. We’ve lost this 12 point lead thanks to playing shite. We were valiant runners up and even in defeat extremely watchable before, now I can’t concentrate watching them on TV as they are so inept. I’m not convinced that we will fall out of the play off spots. It’s almost nailed on that if we do have to settle for the play offs that we will fail, probably in the first round on penalties.

  • TheGallowgateEnd

    Feb 14, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #11

    Agreed, Marty. Yesterday the midfield especially was poor and we could hardly pass the ball well. But Hughton shouldn’t play Carroll alone up-front. They rely too much on Lovenkrands/Routledge, and when these players don’t produce the goods then what we see is a hopeless attack – as it happened yesterday.

  • stuart no9

    Feb 14, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #12

    i really think it is down to pressure.not just this season, but go back to 1996, look at our last 2 F A cupfinals , go back to1974 against liverpool at wembly, our semi final against man u, at cardiff , we simply fall apart,when it comes to a must win game, we cant handle it, now we can see the finishing line, we panic, it is a trait of nufc which goes back nearly 60 years ,hence our empty trophy cabinet we lack a winning mentality, thats why i believe we will stutter now, but will go up via playoffs, but looking at the mess at SJP at the minute,there is nothing there that suggests to me that that things are about to change, ive been going to SJP for45 years now, and i cant see any success in my lifetime

  • jimiley

    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Comment #13

    Stuart no 9
    You are right. There is a losing mentality at the club which has been bred of 55 years of failure. We last won the league in the Stone Age. Sadly NUFC will never ever win the Prem unless some super rich Arab comes along. We are fighting for the Carling Cup and perhaps the FA Cup if the big boys play their U18s!!!

  • NewcastleMole

    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Comment #14


    We lack a Leader.

  • newcastle29

    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #15

    Ambrose back to newcastle anyone? what a season he is having, and what a goal he just scored against villa. bring him back in the summer i say!

  • MacToon

    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #16

    no tx

  • jimiley

    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #17

    Yeah, lets have Ambrose back. After all, we got rid of our crap players like Bramble and Duff to the Prem league and kept the better ones to get us relegated.

  • jimiley

    Feb 14, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #18

    Ambrose has to be better than the men in wheelchairs..Butt, Smith and Nolan. Consider the players we have sold over the last 5 years and compare it to this Wimbledon/Stoke team (except this team is nowhere near as good as Stoke/Wimbledon) and you would have to say the running of the club and transfer policy is criminal.

  • dave 1961

    Feb 14, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Comment #19

    Ashley has absolutely no ambition that’s why he wanted a puppet manager, someone that is happy with tuppence happney transfers, that’s why he did not want shearer because he would not have excepted the duck eggs Hughton brought in we just build for a yoyo club, Hughton’s best spell was when he had to play his only fit players when he picks a team(that’s if he does pick it) we just fall apart.

  • silverfox

    Feb 14, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    Comment #20

    If we are to get promotion this year we have to do something in the midfield area. I disagree with many and think Smith does a good job protecting the defence. The problem is that Nolan and Guthrie have no pace and cannot drive through the midfield. I feel that we are getting overun in this area
    I watched the Swansea game and thought Nolan was dreadful and has been for some time. I would have rather had Lua Lua playing in midfield, at least he would give us some pace.
    This current crop couldnt fasten the bootlaces of the 96 team.

    Havent heard anyone else talk about it but do you not feel that Best has blocked Rangers progress. I feel that Ranger has been coming along very nicely.

  • baro

    Feb 14, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    Comment #21

    newcastle 29

    Totally agree with u. Darren Ambrose had a stunning free kick today. Awesome shot! Should come back.

  • joe

    Feb 15, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    Comment #22

    Based on one televised game you say he should come back. No wonder this club is in the state it is. He’s not been missed since he left, and he left four and a half years ago. Come on people, stop this knee jerk bollocks and start thinking long term.

  • Mr Books

    Feb 15, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #23

    As I’ve said before, I think if we can get Jonas and Enrique back, then we will see an improvement, because we will get the balance back – the 5-1 is the only game all season we have played with pacey wingers on both sides coupled with a big strong CF and a striker with a bit more finesse. I dont think its coincidence it was by far our best performance, with the goals coming from the strikers and the supply coming from the wingers.

    Unfortunately Enrique and Jonas got crocked and we’re back to playing Guthrie wide midfield where he heads infield and leaves the full back exposed and frees up the opposition full back to squeeze the space in the middle. Coupled with 2 huge failings in the squad – poor passing (either direction, weight or usually both) and at times a lack of movement that makes a morgue seem like a swinging joint, the inevitable result is that we squander possession, most of the time simply kicking the ball back to the opposition, rather than being tackled or muscled off the ball.


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