Newcastle United Season Guide

August 9, 2003
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

Newcastle United

Nickname: The Magpies
Founded: 1881
Ground: St James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 4ST
Capacity: 52,193
Ticket Office: (0191) 261 1571
Club Colours:
Home - Black and white striped shirts, black shorts and socks
Away - All black with grey trim.


Top Links

Soccernet's Newcastle United page | Full squad | Fixture list

Soccernet's Newcastle United Correspondent

Official Newcastle United Website

Unofficial website - NUFC.com

Unofficial website - ToonTastic

Fanzine site - True Faith

Last Season - One of the big boys Position: 3rd

Picture: JohnWalton/Empics

Manager Bobby Robson insisted throughout the course of last season that Newcastle could not win the Premiership, but the Toon Army narrowed the gap at the top of the table as the season drew to a close and many fans, including Bobby, allowed themselves to think that they might just win the title for the first time in over 70 years. It wasn't to be as a 6-1 thrashing from eventual champions Manchester United dented morale, but a third placed finish and a Champions League place is still a season of success. Bobby's boys made a habit of coming from behind, highlighted in the first phase of the Champions League when Magpies overturned a poor start to progress with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Feyenoord - the first side to ever lose their first three games and still progress. They threatened to repeat the feat in the second phase, but it wasn't to be. Unfortunately, when all is said and done, although successful, it was another season without silverware.

Transfers - In and Out
Coming In:
Lee Bowyer (West Ham) - Free










  • On The Move - All the transfers
  • Getting Out:
    James Beaumont (Nottm Forest) - Undisc.
    Ross Gardner (Nottm Forest) - Undisc.
    John Karelse (AGOVV) - Free
    Joseph Kendrick (1860 Munich) - Free
    Gary Caldwell (Derby) - Loan
    Adam Collin (Oldham) - Loan
    Brian Kerr (Livingston) - Loan
    Wayne Quinn (West Ham) - Loan
    Calvin Zola (Oldham) - Loan
    Damon Robson (None) - Released

    First Choice XI

    1-Shay Given; 18-Aaron Hughes, 27-Jonathan Woodgate, 19-Titus Bramble, 35-Olivier Bernard; 29-Lee Bowyer, 8-Kieron Dyer, 7-Jermaine Jenas,
    32-Laurent Robert; 9-Alan Shearer, 10-Craig Bellamy.

    The Gaffer - Sir Bobby Robson

    Picture: JohnWalton/Empics

    What can you say about Bobby Robson? One of the game's true characters who will be truly missed when he finally folds away his tracksuit. He has had a glittering career as a manager, starting at Vancouver Whitecaps 35 years ago. The former England international has had spells at Fulham, Ipswich Town, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto and Barcelona. He transformed Ipswich into one of the top clubs in the country, relying almost exclusively on the youth policy. But most will remember Robson for leading England to the World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990, with England missing out on a place in the final in Italy on penalties. His managerial honours include the UEFA Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup, League titles in Holland and Portugal and the Portuguese Cup. He then turned his hometown club, Newcastle, from relegation fodder to title challengers in just two years. In the summer of 2002, he quite rightly became Sir Bobby. A manager that players love to play for, he is one of the greatest of all time and is determined to win the club their first top flight silverware since 1969 before he calls it quits.

    Player to Watch - Lee Bowyer

    Picture: JohnWalton/Empics

    Newcastle's new signing was voted Leeds United's Player of the Year for 1998/99, he almost topped the Champions League goal scoring charts and was one of the best players in the Premiership throughout 2000/01 and won himself an England cap before the fall-out from his much publicised court case sparked a delayed fall from grace. As Leeds battled against relegation last term, injuries and a loss of form saw Lee Bowyer sold to West Ham United for a platry £100,000 - just a matter of months after his £9million move to Liverpool had broken down. The Hammers failed to get the best out of Bowyer as they fell foul of relegation and as a result lost the midfielder to the Magpies for free this summer. Robson has taken a gamble in bringing the 29-year-old to the St James Park and Bowyer must deliver. If he rediscovers his undoubted talent and eye for goal, as well as banishing his off-field woes, Bowyer will soon win favour with the Geordies.

    Young Gun - Michael Chopra

    Picture: JohnWalton/Empics

    Newcastle-born Michael Chopra is a real star in the making but has so far been limited to only a handful of substitute appearances since making his debut against Everton in 2002. The striker has already made a name for himself at junior and reserve levels, scoring 14 goals in the opening nine games for the Academy, and had a successful loan spell at Watford last season - scoring five goals and making an appearance in the FA Cup semi-final. The 19-year-old is hotly tipped to be the next Alan Shearer and will be hoping to make his mark this season. Chopra, who signed a new contract last summer, was runner-up in the Sony Under-18 Asian Sportsperson of the Year Awards in 2001.

    From the terraces

    Having flirted with success in Europe and domestically last season, it's tempting to predict silverware this time round. However that ignores our barren run since 1969 and the fact we remain some way behind the front two.

    The jury is out on Bowyer (literally if the civil case proceeds) while Woodgate is vital to anchoring our defence. Champions League qualification and a top five finish remain a good return, but may depend rather too much on the form and fitness of Shearer.

    By Biffa at, NUFC.com


    It's hard to see how Newcastle can improve on last season's impressive third place finish in the Premiership given the club's complete lack of activity in the transfer market. While the teams who finished just behind Newcastle last season have used the summer break to bolster their squads for the new campaign, Bobby Robson has chosen to remain largely anonymous in the transfer market since the arrival of Lee Bowyer from West Ham.

    The current Newcastle squad is undoubtedly the strongest the club has ever possessed. And while Chelsea may have the cash to bring in an all new starting eleven, Bobby Robson has built up his squad over the past few seasons, making shrewd signings here and there.

    If the squad, with its impressive blend of youth and experience, can perform consistently over the course of the new season then, there seems no reason why the club's ambitions should stop at either the FA or Worthington Cup. A title push is certainly not out of the question, nor is another epic Champions League crusade.

    By Mike Guellard at, NUFC NET


    Newcastle once again improved on their previous years work after finishing 3rd last season and although Bobby would love to do it again, I still feel the team is lacking something to push us into the top two.

    Chelsea look to be trying to buy the league but I still think Newcastle have enough to finish ahead of them leaving the top foru in the table looking pretty similar to last year.

    Last year I felt that Shola would be pushing the first team players for their places and was proved right, this year is a massive year for Michael Chopra, the young striker should be given more cup games and if a few players pick up suspensions or injuries the young lad could easily push his way further up the list of great strikers at the club.

    By Phillip Craig of ToonTastic.


    When I am asked how I think Newcastle will fair this season, I always answer the same: 'it may be a year too early'. This way, I cover myself, you see. One look at our squad will automatically tell you that we are certainly good enough to wrestle the Premiership title from Old Trafford, yet we may only really see the fruits of our talented pool in a year or so.

    Even so, anything less than a top three finish would be a disappointment, whilst a Lee Bowyer-inspired run in Europe would also be more than welcome. We will also see more of striker Michael Chopra this season, who could have everyone asking 'Wayne who?' at the end of the season. All in all, an exciting season ahead which promises much. Prediction - top three.

    By Alan Potter, from Fans FC.

  • Have your say on the Newcastle United Message Board

    Best - Runners-up Worst - UEFA Cup

    After a quiet summer in the transfer market - signing only Lee Bowyer - Newcastle will lose out in the title race again this season. Sir Bobby Robson's side are missing that little bit extra needed to land the championship and will probably be battling it out with big spending Chelsea and Liverpool for the third place and Champions League football. But the Magpies have been improving every year and could finish a surprise second.

  • Any thoughts? Email Dominic Raynor.