As a 26-year-old, my memories of Keegan’s Entertainers come more from old VHS’ my dad showed me as a kid, and I was also too young to remember some of the early Sir Bobby Robson days, however I’ve still been lucky to see some absolute classics over the years.
In no particular order, here’s twelve that will always stay with me for one reason or another:
Newcastle 4-3 Man Utd (2001)
My earliest memory of St James’ Park and the game that had me hooked for life. I was just seven at the time, yet I remember it so well.
Sat in the Leazes End, I was lifted up in the air by my Dad’s good friend as Laurent Robert curled in a stunning free-kick to give us a 1-0 lead just four minutes in. That was the moment I felt the spine-tingling buzz and electric atmosphere for the first time in a game we’d go on to win 4-3.
The Red Devils had a star-studded line up, with Van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Beckham, Keane, Cole and Veron all on display, but we had Alan Shearer – a man I’d go on to idolise as a ‘Junior Magpie’ enjoying every second of my first proper taste of St James’ Park.
Newcastle 6-0 Aston Villa (2010)
Our first home game back in the Premier League after that brilliant promotion season under Chris Hughton – and what a statement we made!
I was sat up in the gods but it didn’t matter, with Joey Barton’s early thunderbolt and an Andy Carroll’s stunning hat-trick proving we were very much back where we belonged on a sunny day at St James’ Park.
The moment our Gateshead-born goal machine got off the mark in style and also pretty priceless to smash SIX past a club whose fans mocked our devastating relegation to the Championship at Villa Park barely 12 months before.
Newcastle 5-1 Sunderland (2010)
Beating your bitter rivals in any game is big, but this was an absolute massacre in arguably the most memorable Tyne and Wear Derby to date.
Sunderland strutted into St James’ Park after spending big that summer and starting the season well, only for those travelling up from Wearside to leave with their tails well and truly between their legs after a Kevin Nolan hat-trick and two goals from Shola “The Mackem Slayer’ Ameobi.
The win – which came over none other than Steve Bruce! – sent us into 7th and above them in the table and also featured a comical red card for ex-NUFC centre-back Titus Bramble.
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (2011)
Yet another game from that 2010/11 season that delivered so many classics at St James’ Park and perhaps the greatest Premier League comeback of all time.
At 0-4 down at half-time, I remember switching off from the game and wondering what takeaway we were going to have that night. Little did I know what was about to come next.
Arsenal absolutely crumbled in that lions den of an atmosphere and we took full advantage, with that late Cheick Tiote equaliser creating a moment that will stay with me and many other Mags forever. Limbs everywhere and that famous pile-on on the pitch! Goosebumps.
This one is sure to be included in Historic Newspaper’s book of Newcastle United classics!
Newcastle 3-0 Man Utd (2012)
There were many magic moments in this 2011/12 season, but this was right up there on a brilliant night under the lights at St James’ Park.
A bit of genius from Demba Ba gave us an early lead and Yohan Cabaye made it 2-0 at the Gallowgate End with one of the best free kicks you are ever likely to see, before Phil Jones put through his own net to make it three.
I’ll also remember this one for the way Cheick Tiote bossed the midfield and didn’t give Wayne Rooney a moments rest, with our Ivorian warrior being at his best in a win that all but ended Alex Ferugson’s hopes of another Premier League title – and boosted our chances of making Europe in the process!
Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool (2012)
A game that was so enjoyable for so many reasons.
Seeing a lethal Papiss Cisse score twice, Jose Enrique end up in goal after they went down to 10 and Andy Carroll return to Tyneside on the losing side was memorable on a day that saw us stay in the race for a Champions League spot at St James’ Park.
We were without Coloccini in this one, but a front six of Ba, Cisse, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote and Gutierrez was too much for Liverpool to handle – a side we went 11 points clear of after the win!
Newcastle 3-2 Chelsea (2013)
Moussa Sissoko’s first outing on Tyneside following his January move from Tyneside and perhaps one of the best home debuts we’ve seen at St James’!
The then 23-year-old looked an absolute monster of a midfielder, not only scoring twice but going on several lung-busting runs – including one incredible sprint that saw him get in behind Ashley Cole, despite giving the England left-back a 10-yard head start!
Elsewhere, fellow French import Yoan Gouffran also scored on his debut, but it was Sissoko that stole the show in a frenetic five-goal thriller.
Newcastle 2-0 West Ham (2015)
A fairytale moment for Jonas Gutierrez, who not only beat testicular cancer but came on to score the goal that helped keep us up on the final day of 2014/15.
It proved to be the Argentine’s farewell appearance as a Newcastle United, however he left his mark in magical fashion, creating a moment few will forget and sending a clear message Mike Ashley and Co. in his iconic celebration in front of the Milburn Stand.
A battler both on and off the pitch and an adopted Geordie for life.
Newcastle 4-3 Norwich (2016)
With just just two minutes of added time remaining, Norwich were 2-3 up and set to go SEVEN points clear of us in the Championship table – until something quite extraordinary happened on a cold Wednesday night in Newcastle.
Yoann Gouffran rescued what looked set to be a huge point with 60 seconds left to play, but we weren’t done there. We immediately won the ball back from the restart, Shelvey pumped one long and it fell to Dwight Gayle – whose low shot snuck past a host of Norwich legs and the Canaries keeper to send St James’ Park delirious.
For me, this dealt a body-blow to promotion rivals Norwich which they never recovered from, paving the way for their collapse and our immediate return to the top flight.
Newcastle 3-0 Barnsley (2017)
From “going down, going up” to “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS”, this really was an atmosphere to savour at St James’ Park.
We knew we were heading to the Premier League (and replacing Sunderland!), but the noise and buzz around St James’ Park after word go around that Brighton had conceded late at Villa Park was priceless, with Jack Grealish’s strike meaning we were not only going up but going up as Champions!
Promotion was all that mattered, but the late drama and party atmosphere after the full-time whistle was the cherry on the top of a brilliant season in the Championship for Rafa Benitez’s Mags!
Newcastle 2-1 Man City (2019)
A Rafa Benitez masterclass and five-star display from everyone in black and white to beat a formidable Man City side who had been breaking records left, right and centre across 2018/19.
After conceding in the opening minute via Sergio Aguero and fearing a hammering, we went on to defend superbly in the next 90 minutes and score twice to send us five clear of the drop zone.
The brilliant Salomon Rondon bullied them all night and gave us a lifeline with half an hour to play, until Matt Ritchie slotted home a late penalty to send the Gallowgate wild.
Newcastle 3-2 Everton (2019)
Everton came out for the second half 0-2 up and Jordan Pickford immediately goaded the Gallowgate End with a cheeky smile and show of the tongue. How he would live to regret that.
Salomon Rondon started the comeback on the 66th minute and a late double followed from Ayoze Perez in the final 10 minutes – leaving a previously peacocking Pickford to look foolish and sending 50,000 Mags inside St James’ Park wild.
Considering it was also a win that sent us SIX clear of the bottom three at the business end of the season, this was a priceless three points in more ways than one!