Toon big to go down? Don't bet on it - Newcastle face going the way of Man City, Forest and Leeds
24 March 2009 03:50
There's an unspoken word lingering over Newcastle like the fog on the Tyne on a winter's morning. Relegation.
The one-club city in which people are born in black and white stripes must contemplate the prospect of playing the likes of Blackpool, Doncaster and Swansea next season.
Newcastle United are in the bottom three of the Premier League with just eight games to go and safety far from a certainty.
Pain of relegation: Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan (left) loses out to Robin van Persie during Arsenal's 3-1 win at St James'
With Middlesbrough looking likely to face the drop as well, the north-east's unerring passion for the beautiful game could be restricted to the Stadium of Light. For Newcastle fans, what could possibly be worse than that?
Newcastle have experienced the woes of relegation and the worry of financial uncertainty before, but this time is different.
In February 1992 the Magpies lost 5-2 away at Oxford and were on the brink of relegation to the third tier of English football.
Back then it was goodbye Ossie Ardilles and hello Kevin Keegan, who saved Newcastle from the drop with the backing of Sir John Hall's millions.
A record points haul (96) saw the Magpies promoted to the Premier League in 1992-93 and soon Newcastle were challenging for the top-tier title, playing flowing, free-scoring football under King Kev and then competing in the Champions League under Sir Bobby Robson.
But now the outlook is as bleak as a night out in Byker.
Keegan has gone (again), record £16m signing Michael Owen has the firepower of a disused County Durham coal mine and the club's owner, Mike Ashley, is about as popular as the Sunderland mascot.
We don't want Venables, we've got Kinnear! Magpies rule out Tel swoopToon troubles piling up as Steven Taylor faces long lay-offSportsmail's Star of the Season: Which player has been the top man at your club this campaign? NEWCASTLE UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB And are Newcastle 'too big' to go down? Of course not.
Sportsmail looks at some of the 'big' clubs who have crashed out of the Premier League since its conception in 1992.It's a long way back up - just ask Leeds United.
Newcastle UnitedStadium capacity: St James' Park - 52,387
Honours: Football League Champions (1904-05,1906-07, 1908-09, 1926-27), FA Cup Winners (1910, 1924, 1932, 1951, 1952, 1955), UEFA (Fairs) Cup Winners 1969.
Record signing: Michael Owen (£16m, 2005)
Manchester CityStadium capacity: City of Manchester Stadium - 47,726
Honours: European Cup Winners' Cup (1970), Football League Champions (1936-37, 1967-68), FA Cup Winners (1904, 1934, 1956, 1969), Division One Champions (2001-02), Division Two Champions (1898-99, 1902-03, 1909-10, 1927-28, 1946-47, 1965-66), League Cup Winners (1970, 1976)
Record signing: Robinho (£34m, 2008)
Hope and a prayer: Former Man City chairman Francis Lee pleads for some divine intervention
City were one of the founding clubs of the Premier League (then thePremiership), finishing ninth in 1992-93 under the guidance of PeterReid, the former Sunderland manager.
But, as is often the case, the club's progress was stunted by changes in personnel.
Chairman Peter Swales was ousted by former City centre-forward Francis Lee in 1994 after over-seeing a turbulent period in City's history and David Bernstein was brought on board.
The club slipped to 16th the year after as Reid was replaced by Brian Horton, now assistant boss at Hull City, and the club then finished 17th in 1994-95. Horton was sacked in May 1995 and City were relegated a year later under the watch of Alan Ball.
An £11m outlay on the new Kippax Street Stand at Maine Road, coupled with relegation, was crippling for the club and three managers - Steve Coppell, Frank Clark and Joe Royle - could not stop City's slide down the league table.
Lee famously claimed he would 'jump off' the Kippax Street Stand if City had to suffer the embarrassment of playing third tier football for the first time in its history, and he was only saved by his resignation as City were relegated to Division Two.
But Manchester City bounced back straight away under the guidance of Royle, albeit via the play-offs, John Wardle and David Makin (the men behind JD Sports - John, David, geddit?) became the club's major shareholders and promotion to the Premiership followed in 2000.
We don't want Venables, we've got Kinnear! Magpies rule out Tel swoopToon troubles piling up as Steven Taylor faces long lay-offSportsmail's Star of the Season: Which player has been the top man at your club this campaign? NEWCASTLE UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB City's stint in the top flight only lasted a season, however, as the club finished 18th in 2000-01 and went straight back down to what was then Division One.
Enter Keegan and promotion to the Premiership in 2002, followed by a place in the UEFA Cup via the Fair Play Draw a season later.
City have been ever-present in the Premier League since 2002 and now, backed first by Thaksin Shinawatra's cash and now by those Abu Dhabi billions, the club is looking to progress up the table rather than worrying about what lurks below.
Well, if Mark Hughes can sort out the club's away form and get Robinho firing on all cylinders, anyway.
Nottingham ForestStadium capacity: The City Ground - 30,576
Honours: European Cup Winners (1978-79, 1979-80), Football League Champions (1977-78), FA Cup Winners (1898, 1959), Anglo-Scottish Cup Winners (1976-77), European Super Cup Winners (1979-80), Football League Cup Winners (1977-78, 1978-79, 1988-89, 1989-90), Full Members' Cup (1988-89, 1991-92), Division One Champions (1997-98), Division Two Champions (1906-07, 1921-22) Division Three South Champions (1950-51).
Record signing: Pierre van Hooijdonk (£3.5m, 1997)Forest played in the first season of the Premier League (1992-93) but finished 22nd out of the 22 founding clubs, managing just 40 points from 42 games in Brian Clough's last season in charge at the City Ground.
Totally Frank: Clark succeeds Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest
Old Big 'Ead's powers had long diminished and the decision to cash in on Teddy Sheringham for £2m did not help Forest's cause.Clough ended his 13-year tenure at the City Ground in ignominy, but new manager Frank Clark, aided by a £10m transfer budget, got Forest back in the top flight at the first time of asking.
A UEFA Cup campaign followed in 1995-96 but Forest were spiralling into debt.
Clark was gone by Christmas 1996 after overseeing a 16-game run without a win and Stuart Pearce became the caretaker manager. But it was too late - Forest were relegated in 1997 with just six wins, 34 points and 13 league goals.
Under the guidance of Dave Bassett and fired by the strike power of Pierre van Hoojidonk, Forest were crowned champions of Division One in 1997-98. But the success was not to last - the club finished bottom of the Premier League in 1998-99 and have not been seen in the top flight since.
Now hovering dangerously in the Championship drop zone, Forest could do with another Clough and Taylor partnership to help them recapture their former glories. Don't suppose Nigel Clough will fancy a trip down the A52 any time soon, will he?
Leeds UnitedStadium capacity: Elland Road - 39,460
Honours: First Division Champions (1968-69, 1973-74, 1991-92), Second Division Champions (1923-24, 1963-64, 1989-90), FA Cup (1972), League Cup (1968), UEFA/Fairs Cup (1967-68, 1970-71).
Record signing: Rio Ferdinand (£18m, 2000)
League champions the year before the Premiership was formed, Champions League semi-finalists in 2000-01 and relegated in 2004. Where did it all go wrong for Leeds United?
Star line up: (from left) Robbie Keane, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Smith and Olivier Dacourt celebrate Smith's goal against Grasshoppers during Leeds' UEFA Cup third round in 2001
Another one-club city with an illustrious history, Peter Ridsdale's Leeds United gambled on securing a Champions League spot at the end of the 2001-02 season. They lost.
Leeds finished fifth under David O'Leary and the club were denied lucrative Champions League revenue, which was essential after the Irishman's £100m spending spree.
Terry Venables came in but the debts were mounting and the former Spurs manager was sacked with eight games to go in the 2002-03 season.
Peter Reid saved Leeds with one game left, but the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Fowler had left the club by then.
Ridsdale resigned after the club announced debts of £80m and Professor John McKenzie took over, sacking Reid in November 2003 after a run of poor results.
Eddie Gray could not stop Leeds' demise and they were relegated in 2004 alongside Leicester City and Wolves after earning just 33 points from their 38 league games.
Sinking feeling: Alan Smith salutes the Leeds fans after United are relegated at Charlton
Administration was now a real possibility and a consortium lead by Gerald Krasner took over the club in March 2004.
Players such as Paul Robinson, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith left the club and the board sold - and leased back - Elland Road Stadium and the Thorp Arch training complex to raise much-needed cash.
Kevin Blackwell managed Leeds in the Championship and Ken Bates took over the club in early 2005.
A play-off final followed in 2006, but Leeds were beaten 3-0 by Watford at the Millennium Stadium and relegation to League One, the third tier of English football, came in 2007.
Debts of £35m forced the club into administration on May 4 2007 and Leeds were deducted 10 points, but the wrangle over Bates' 'buy-back' plans continued into the 2007-08 season, which Leeds started on minus 15 points.
Currently nestled in the League One play-off places Leeds are still a long, long way from Premier League glory, but at least they can dwell on the talent of Fabian Delph when the likes of Hereford and Yeovil come calling.
We don't want Venables, we've got Kinnear! Magpies rule out Tel swoopToon troubles piling up as Steven Taylor faces long lay-offSportsmail's Star of the Season: Which player has been the top man at your club this campaign?