With two of English football’s most hallowed sides prepare to face off tomorrow night, it seems apt to look back at some of the truly epic clashes between Manchester United and Newcastle through the years. The Magpies and the Red Devils have come to blows (literally on some occasions) across the decades, creating moments that get discussed annually in the build-up to the clubs’ modern day meetings.
From home wins to away day shocks, terrific goals to bundled tap-ins and league wins to cup triumphs, this fixture has had something to cater for every football fan through the years, so here are ten of the very best Manchester United vs. Newcastle ties…
In homage to Sir Bobby Robson’s 100th game in charge, his side recorded a memorable 4-3 home win against United. The Geordies were 3-1 up with just over 30 minutes on the clock, before two goals in as many minutes from Ryan Giggs and Juan Sebastian Veron looked to have put the momentum well and truly with the travelling side. However, that man Alan Shearer popped up in the 82nd minute to drive the ball into the net and send the home fans into a state of euphoria. To cap an awful day for United, Roy Keane was dismissed late on for aiming a punch at the Newcastle No. 9.
With a weakened team and an awful record at Old Trafford (their last win at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ having occurred in 1972), Newcastle kicked off at United with optimism in short supply. However, a shock Darren Ambrose effort put the ‘Toon’ 1-0 heading into the second-half. But, the visitors’ joy was turned into despair with one swing of a precocious Wayne Rooney’s right boot, as the then youngster sent one of the finest volleys in Premier League history fizzing into Shay Given’s net. Wes Brown’s headed winner was not quite as spectacular, but it did complete another comeback win for United.
For one of Newcastle’s finest moments against the champions we have to travel back over a century to 1910. In a time where football was a far cry from the game we now know, Newcastle smashed six goals past their rivals to record one of their finest performances against the Red Devils. Little is known about the game itself, but braces from Stan Seymour and Neil Harris, allied to Andrew Smailes’ and Tom Phillipson’s efforts have gone down in the history books.
A little over two years ago the two sides met at Old Trafford, with Manchester United (surprise, surprise) clinching a win with last gasp strike. The Red Devils trailed the ‘Toon’ on three occasions, each time levelling the scoreline during the Boxing Day clash. Eventually Javier Hernandez popped up in the closing minutes of the tie to bury a trademark poacher’s effort.
St James’ Park has traditionally been a fairly fruitful venue for United, and their 6-2 win in 2003 still goes down as one of their finest visits to the North East. Paul Scholes grabbed the headlines with an excellent hat-trick, while Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also found the back of the net to win a clash in which they visitors has at one stage trailed in.
Arguably Newcastle’s finest ever performance produced one of the very best games in Premier League history, with one of division’s most magical goals completing a stunning 5-0 scoreline. After narrowly missing out on the title at the hands of their rivals in the previous campaign, the Magpies were out for revenge, and they certainly punished United for the pain caused earlier in the year. Darren Peacock opened the scoring with a controversial headed effort, before David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer made it 4-0. Then came the moment that capped one of the finest games in the English football’s history as Philippe Albert released an audacious chip from 25 yards. Magical.
It is often said that good and great strikers are separated by what happens when they are having a quiet game. The good will sometimes fade into the background, while the great are always a threat, a point which was proven in 1996 by Eric Cantona. The enigmatic Frenchman was having one of his more reserved performances, but still managed to provide one moment of class to fire his side to victory. The United icon met a perfect cross from the left hand side and crashed a bouncing volley into the net for all three points.
Chances for silverware have been few and far between in the North East in recent decades, but one opportunity that was presented to Newcastle came in 2005. For all of their efforts, the ‘Toon’ met a nearly unstoppable United side at the Millennium Stadium in the FA Cup, who eventually ran out 4-1 winners to book a spot in the final – which they ultimately lost to Arsenal. The Red Devils were 3-0 up with 30 minutes on the clock, before Shola Ameobi pulled one back to give the Geordies dreams of a comeback. However, their joy was short-lived, as Cristiano Ronaldo put the tie to bed 15 minutes later.
Newcastle were flying high in early 2012, starting the calendar year with an excellent 3-0 rout against their Manchester rivals. Demba Ba opened the scoring before Yohan Cabaye curled a sumptuous free-kick past Anders Lindegaard. United attempted to fight back, and came close on several occasions, before a 90th minute own goal from Phil Jones completed a scoreline that didn’t flatter the home side.
Nearly 32,000 fans at St James’ Park saw Manchester United secure a memorable 4-2 victory in 1986. Two goals from mark Hughes sent the visitors on their way, before Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside rounded off the Red Devils’ scoring. This result extended United’s winning run against the black and whites, whose last victory in the tie came way back in 1973.