So close...



Newcastle reached the FA Cup final after beating West Brom, Nottingham Forest and Burnley. But they crumbled 0-3 to Liverpool at Wembley, in what was Bill Shankley's last game in charge of the Reds. Liverpool were too good, with future Newcastle player and manager Kevin Keegan grabbing a brace, and Steve Heighway scoring once. BBC commentator David Coleman famously said that Newcastle's defence had been "undressed" by Liverpool.


Newcastle seemed to be cruising to the Premier League title, and held a 12-point lead over the chasing pack in February. This was supposed to be it. But Manchester United went on a charge, Keegan's men slipped up and the gap was cut to just one point after the Red Devils crucially won 1-0 at St James' Park. Both teams were level on 76 points with just two games left. United went on to win the title by four points. It was the season when Keegan famously suffered the finger-jabbing meltdown on television.


Despite signing Alan Shearer for a then-world record fee of £15 million and posting a memorable 5-0 win over Manchester United early in the season, things unravelled for the Magpies halfway through the season. Keegan abruptly resigned in January, Kenny Dalglish took over but Newcastle once again finished runners-up in the league, seven points behind United.


Newcastle reached their first FA Cup final since 1974, beating Everton, Stevenage, Tranmere, Barnsley and Sheffield United. But their opponents in the final, Arsenal, were on a high, having just snatched the Premier League crown from Manchester United. A Ray Parlour-powered Gunners side came out 2-0 winners at Wembley.


Newcastle reached their second consecutive FA Cup final, but were clear underdogs against a Manchester United side hunting for a treble. Even though Roy Keane picked up an injury in the ninth minute of the final at Wembley, the newly crowned Premier League champions comfortably won 2-0, thanks to goals by Keane's replacement, Teddy Sheringham, and Paul Scholes. The Red Devils would complete the treble by winning the Champions League four days later.