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.