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Nucleus

Challenges Newcastle United: The Entertainers Challenge

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Newcastle United: The Entertainers Challenge

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Credit to @danovic78 for this one.

1992 - 1998

Kevin Keegan had spent the last seven years living in Spain, but when Sir John Hall – who was on the verge of taking over the club – asked him to become the manager of Newcastle United on a short-term contract, the lure of a return to Tyneside was too strong to ignore. The Magpies were nearly bankrupt, faced relegation from the Second Division – never before had they slipped to the third tier of English football – and St. James’ Park had been neglected. Newcastle needed a saviour in their centenary year. 

Keegan’s mere presence lifted the supporters, just as it had done when he arrived as a player, and it clearly had an effect of the players too as they narrowly avoided the drop on the final day of the season.

Having finished 20th in the second tier, Keegan and Sir John joined forces to spark a stunning turnaround, with the Magpies starting off the 1992/93 campaign with a remarkable eleven straight wins.Entering the Premier League in its second season, Keegan brought in new players and Newcastle firmly established themselves with an impressive third-place finish.

What's more, they were playing fantastic football - characterised by flowing attacks, incisive passing moves and majestic wing play. In the summer of 1995, more firepower and flair were added, with the likes of Les Ferdinand and David Ginola arriving. Warren Barton joined as a marauding full-back, Peter Beardsley returned for a second spell and Philippe Albert and Darren Peacock bolstered the backline. Newcastle quickly became known as the 'Entertainers’ – most football fans’ second-favourite team.

And in 1995/96, they so nearly won the Premier League title. In January 1996, United were 12 points clear at the top of the table but a dip in form, allied with Manchester United’s relentless form under Alex Ferguson (later Sir Alex), saw that cut and eventually Keegan’s side were pipped into second. A 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield - still regarded by many as the greatest game of football in the Premier League era - was particularly pivotal, as was a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn, when two late goals from Geordie Graham Fenton proved costly.

Rather than lick their wounds, Newcastle signalled their intentions by breaking the world transfer record to sign local hero Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers for £15m. It would prove to be money well spent. Keegan left midway through the following season – although only after a never-to-be-forgotten 5-0 win against Manchester United, with Philippe Albert's sensational chip over Peter Schmeichel completing the scoring. The Magpies finished second again under Kenny Dalglish, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time after a shift in qualification criteria.

Though the Scotsman oversaw a change to a more conservative style, Newcastle still had their moments of magic under Dalglish. He led United to another iconic win in September 1997, when Faustino Asprilla's hat-trick saw the Magpies defeat Barcelona 3-2 in their opening Champions League group game at a packed St. James' Park. Dalglish also took the club to its first cup final in 22 years, though Arsenal prevailed at Wembley in the FA Cup in 1998.

Another big name, Ruud Gullit, was the club’s next manager and the former AC Milan star promised to bring “sexy football” to Tyneside. He led Newcastle to a second successive FA Cup final but they were beaten by Manchester United, who went on to complete an unprecedented treble. Results in the Premier League, however, were not as alluring as the Dutchman had hoped and after a 13-placed finish, a high-profile spat with senior players would herald a change just five games into the 1999/00 season.

Can you take the Magpies to the next level?

Rules:

    •    Load England and any other countries you wish. 

    •    Take control of Newcastle United. 

    •    To join the entertainers, you must sign (or use currently at club) a Belgium central defender, French attacking midfielder and an English/Colombian Striker. 

    •    You have 6 seasons to rack up as many points from the below points system. 

    •    Usual other rules apply 

Scoring System:

Premier League:
1st – 25 points
2nd – 20 points
Top 4 – 15 points
5 - 6th - 10 points
7-8th – 5 points
9th - 15th – -10 points
15th - 17th – -20 points
Relegated - -50 points

Sacked: -25 points (and the challenge is over)

FA Cup:
Winner - 25 points
Runner Up - 20 points
Semi Finalist - 15 points
Quarter Final - 10 points
Fourth or Fifth Round Exit - 0 points
Third Round Exit - -10 points

League Cup:
Winner - 25 points
Runner Up - 20 points
Semi Finalist - 15 points
Quarter Final - 10 points
Fourth or Fifth Round Exit - 0 points
Third Round Exit - -10 points

Community Shield:
Winners – 25 points 
Runners Up - 20 points

Champions League:
Winners – 50 points 
Runners Up - 25 points
Semi Finalist - 20 points
Quarter Finalist - 10 points
Knockout Rounds - 5 points
Group stage - 0 points

Europa League:
Winners – 50 points 
Runners Up - 25 points
Semi Finalist - 20 points
Quarter Finalist - 10 points
Knockout Rounds - 5 points
Group stage - 0 points

European Super Cup:
Winners – 25 points 
Runners Up - 20 points

FIFA World Club Cup:
Winners – 25 points 
Runners Up - 20 points

Bonus:

Win Premier League Manager of the year – 5 points

Premier League Player of the year - 5 points

Premier League Top Goalscorer - 5 points

Add up your Belgium defenders appearances, French midfielders assists and your English/Colombian strikers goals per season.

Leaderboard

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If I hadn't been playing as Newcastle in my current career, I'd be on this like a car bonnet!

 

Maybe after a change of pace somewhere else first...

Definitely interested to see who picks up this poison chalice or a challenge!

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