It is seeming more likely that Rafa Benitez will not bow to fan pressure and play two up front.
Benitez is not the first manager to do things his own way though. Here are five occasions that Newcastle managers have gone against the fans.
1. Keegan Sells His Cole Machine
When Kevin Keegan signed Andy Cole, for a fee of £1.75million, from Bristol City, a fee that seemed somewhat excessive for a virtually unknown prospect, some eyebrows were raised.
However, during his twenty two months on Tyneside, Cole quickly proved all doubters wrong, scoring fifty five goals, in sixty nine league games and a total of sixty eight goals in eighty three games for the club.
He soon became a hero amongst the fans, earning his song, which could be heard, more often than not, echoing around St. James’ Park to the tune of “Andy Cole, He gets the ball, He scores a goal, Andy Andy Cole.”
However, despite Cole’s exceptional goal scoring gift, he found himself sold to Manchester United in January 1995. A move that saw Kevin Keegan coming out onto the steps at St. James’ Park, to explain his decision. Although, it must be noted, the move worked out quite well for both sides, even if it was slightly more prosperous for Cole.
2. Gordon Lee, the man who sold Supermac.
For fans of a certain era, Malcolm Macdonald was the hero of the club. The star striker was one of an exceptional group of players who have flourished with the pressure of leading the line for United.
He combined devastating pace and power with exceptional technique. Summed up perfectly by his iconic double against Bolton Wanderers, in a thrilling FA Cup 5th round tie, which finished 3-3.
MacDonald used his pace and clever movement to find space and slot home his first, before audacious half volley, on the turn, flew in for his second. However, despite these and many other heroics, Macdonald did not see eye to eye with Lee and was sold to Arsenal, a decision that to this day, still infuriates many supporters of the ‘Supermac’ era.
3. Graeme Souness’ Nightmare Transfer Window
After the departure of Sir Bobby Rosbon, early into the 2004-05 season, many fans felt that the hierarchy of the club needed to employ a disciplinarian, something that the board obviously agreed with. Moving quickly for Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness.
However, the reason for Souness’ struggles at Blackburn soon became apparent. Just as he had frozen out the likes of Dwight Yorke, David Dunn and Keith Gillespie at Blackburn, he alienated many of the top stars at St. James’ Park, with Laurent Robert and Craig Bellamy deemed surplus to requirements after their personal relationship with Souness had broken down, while left-back Olivier Bernard was replaced by Celestine Babayaro.
In short, in one single transfer window, Souness saw the departure of many of the fans favourite players. While his own signings flopped, leaving the club in a desperate state.
4. Gullit’s Derby Day Errors
August 1999, a shameful night that cost Ruud Gullit his job as the Dutchman resigned from his role as Newcastle United manager. The loss at home to bitter rivals Sunderland were hero Alan Shearer was conversationally left on the bench.
Tensions between the two had been bubbling away for weeks previous to the derby clash. However when word spread that Shearer and strike-partner Duncan Ferguson would have to settle for a place amongst the substitutes the atmosphere reached fever-point.
After a positive start by Gullit’s men, a rampant Sunderland turned the tables in the second half – as things became as sour as the weather conditions. Ferguson was thrown to replace the inexperienced Paul Robinson moments later though, Niall Quinn equalised.
As chants of Newcastle’s favourite sons name rang louder Gullit threw the England captain on, it was little too late. As Kevin Philips scored to seal Sunderland victory, leaving Gullit out of a job.
5. Pardew Mocked for Shortcomings
For many Newcastle United fans the departure of Alan Pardew to London outfit Crystal Palace was long time wish finally granted. Pardew returned to St James’s Park for the a few months after leaving his role as Toon boss.
Pardew – in the eyes of many a Geordie treated fans favourites Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez unfairly. The protest fan group SackPardew.com planned a hostile atmosphere in which chants supporting the popular duo would be sang throughout the game.
Cult hero Jonas Gutierrez criticised Pardew for ditching him during his battle with testicular cancer. Only for the Argentine to make a full recovery and to score the goal to keep Newcastle in England’s top-flight on the final day of the season.
The French international Ben Arfa claimed Pardew forced him out of the club abandoning him from training with the first team. Ben Arfa went onto to be shortlisted for the France Player of the year award, which earned him a move to France champions PSG.