Newcastle United almost capped a glorious season last season with a place in the Champions League. Unfortunately Alan Pardew's men just didn't have the legs to get the job done. However, The Mags have been involved in some great matches down the years - not all of them have gone in their favour though, ie Liverpool 4-3.
But with the big kick off almost in sight, I'm going to get you Geordies in the mood by taking your mind off yesterday's recent summer storms in your neck of the woods and highlighting five of your greatest games.
As the saying goes "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Newcastle United put retribution on the back burner for five months before this classic.
The Toon had seen Manchester United snatch the title from their grasp four months earlier. Insult was added to injury when the sides met in the Charity Shield. Sir Alex Ferguson's double winners hammered the Geordies 5-0 to ruin Alan Shearer's debut. For the second time in his career Shearer had been courted by the Old Trafford club. However, the England striker couldn't resist the lure of joining his hometown club.
The two sides met the following October, in another top of the table clash. The home side made all the early running, Les Ferdinand was unlucky when his deflected shot went narrowly wide. Manchester United's reprieve didn't last long. David Ginola's corner was headed across goal by Shearer, Darren Peacock rose highest and saw his header creep over the line. Ginola doubled the Toon's lead before half time. The mercurial Frenchman picked up possession on the corner of the visitor's penalty area. With no support in sight Ginola turned and curled a beauty past Peter Schmeichel.
Both sides had chances before Kevin Keegan's men went three up. With the boos of the travelling fans ringing in his ears, Shearer delivered a fine right wing cross. The inch perfect centre was headed emphatically home by Les Ferdinand. It wasn't long before his strike partner joined Ferdinand on the scoresheet. Shearer started the move when his cross field ball found Peter Beardsley. The Newcastle skipper's shot was parred by Schmeichel who also blocked Ferdinand's follow up. However, the Dane was powerless when Shearer buried the rebound.
A famous victory was capped with a wonderful goal. The move began as Robert Lee exchanged pass with David Batty. Lee spotted Phillipe Albert lurking on the edge of the visitor's box. The Belgian took one touch before chipping the ball over Schmeichel and into the net. It is 5-0 and the St James' Park crowd are in ecstasy. It is well and truly payback time for Keegan's entertainers.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 5 SUNDERLAND 1 2010
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
A scoreline to gladden the heart of any true Geordie. Chris Hugton's side totally dominated this Tyne-Wear derby. In a strange twist the old enemy were managed by Steve Bruce. Corbridge-born Bruce is a self-confessed Newcastle fan. The former Manchester United captain was a ball boy when his boyhood favourites lost the 1976 League Cup Final.
The Magpies took the lead on 26 minutes when Kevin Nolan acrobatic overhead found the net. Nolan scored his second eight minutes later. Andy Carroll's mishit shot fell kindly for Nolan who steered the ball home. The game was effectively over when Nedum Onuoha brought down Jonas Gutierrez. Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and Ameobi made it 3-0 on the stroke of half time.
Things got worse for the Black Cats when Titus Bramble was sent off. The former Newcastle defender received his second yellow card after hauling Caroll to the ground. United made it four midway through the second half. Danny Simpson flung over a right wing cross, Caroll headed against the bar before Ameobi gleefully gobbled up the rebound. Fittingly it was Nolan who completed the rout. The midfielder nodding in at the far post to complete his hat trick.
Darren Bent's late strike was scant consultation for the Wearsiders. In a post match interview Bruce admitted he had endured his worst day in football. The North East bragging rights belonged to The Toon Army.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 4 ARSENAL 4 2011
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
In hindsight this remarkable comeback was a turning point for Alan Pardew and Newcastle United. Following a steady start to the season United surprisingly sacked Chris Hughton. Further eyebrows where raised when Pardew was appointed his successor. The Tyneside public failed to warm to the former West Ham and Southampton boss.
His popularity sunk further after 10 minutes of this encounter. Goals from Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou and Robin Van Persite put the Gunners in complete control. St James' was stunned when Van Persie added a fourth before half time. The visitors were reduced to 10 men on 48 minutes when Abou Diaby saw red but nobody predicted what was to happen next.
Twenty minutes later the home side finally got on the scoresheet. Danny Simpson's bustling run was checked by Laurent Koscielny inside the penalty area and the home side were awarded a penalty. Joey Barton gave Newcastle hope from the spot. Seven minutes later United were back in the game. Leon Best pulled down a right wing cross and slotted home. The great escape grew nearer when Barton scored his second 10 minutes from time.
With the Gunners crumbling, Newcastle seized their chance. A left wing corner fell inertly for Cheick Tiote. The midfielder steadied himself and let fly from the edge of the box. The ball arrowed past Szczesny and the home side were level. Pardew's side could have even nicked a late winner when Ameobi shot narrowly wide.
The wonderful recovery sparked a spirited end to the season. Building on that mid-table finish, the following campaign saw Pardew lead Newcastle to a fifth place finish and a place in Europe.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 3 BARCELONA 2 1997
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Long before Mario Balotelli another overseas striker divided opinion. In January 1996 title-chasing Newcastle United signed Faustino Asprilla from Italian club Parma. The Columbian striker came with a big reputation and was seen as the final piece in the title-winning jigsaw. The omens weren't good. Asprilla arrived on a snowy Tyneside and looked frozen. Wrapped up against the elements the front man must have longed for the warmth of Italy.
Tino looked similarly out of sorts on the pitch. He was sent off as Kevin Keegan's side surrendered two vital points at Manchester City. As Newcastle continued to struggle, pundits began to question the signing of Asprilla. Few doubted his talent, but free-scoring Newcastle were already awash with attacking firepower, maybe a defender in the Paul McGrath mould would have been a wiser investment. The Toon's leaky defence was seen as the weak link in many quarters.
Sadly Newcastle failed to clinch the title and perhaps unfairly Asprilla was branded the scapegoat. But football moves on and few would have denied Asprilla his finest hour. It came when the mighty Barcelona visited St James' in a Champions League tie. Asprilla was at the heart of the action from the off. He had already gone close before he put the Geordies ahead. Jon Dahl Tomasson's brilliant through ball put the muscular frontman clean through. Barca keeper Ruud Hesp had no option but to to bring Asprilla down and a penalty was awarded. Tino dusted himself down and kept his composure to squeeze the ball past Hesp.
Newcastle doubled their lead when Keith Gillespie's cross was headed home by the striker. A carbon copy second half strike saw Tino complete his hat trick. The inspired Gillespie sped down the right before sending a perfect weighted cross to the unmarked Asprilla who made no mistake. Although the plaudits rightfully went to the hat trick hero, few would forget the wonderful wing play of Keith Gillespie. Nine times out of 10 he could have been named man of the match.
Although Barcelona pulled two late goals back, Tino had temporary silenced his critics.
UJPEST DOZSA 2 NEWCASTLE UNITED 3
1969 FAIRS CUP FINAL 2nd LEG. (NEWCASTLE WON 6-2 ON AGGREGATE)
Unfancied Newcastle United beat the odds to claim their first piece of European silverware. Joe Harvey's side beat Feyenoord, Sporting Lisbon and Glasgow Rangers to reach the Fairs Cup (now Europa League) Final.
The Geordies faced Hungarian side Ujpest Dozsa in the two legged showpiece. St James' Park was rocking as the Magpies took an iron grip on the tie. The 60,000 plus crowd saw the Toon ease to a 3-0 win. If Newcastle thought the second leg was a formality, they were in for a shock. Ujpest were two up at half time and looked like wiping out their first leg deficit. Newcastle United found an unlikely hero in their hour of need. Skipper Bobby Moncur volleyed home Jackie Sinclair's cross. The centre half scored only his second ever goal for the North East club, the other was in the first leg. The goal ended the Hungarian resistance. Benny Arentoft scored soon after to equalise on the night. The comeback was complete when Alan Foggon added a third. Ian McFaul's goal kick was flicked on by Wyn Davies. The header was anticipated by Foggon who scored at the second attempt.
The rest of the game passed without incident and Moncur lifted the trophy. This could have been the springboard for the vibrant Magpies. Harvey continued to recruit great players like Malcolm MacDonald and Tony Green, but further silverware eluded the Toon. Remarkably the Fair Cup remains the last major trophy to grace the St James' Park boardroom.
Calling all Newcastle fans: Are these the five greatest games in your history? If not, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.