For The Record: The following 13 featured in Newcastle United’s first game in the Premier League: SRNICEK (£350k)
played at St James, United’s worst on home soil. After a slow start, United would take the transition in their stride and once an English heavy XI found their feet, The Mags really were as good as anybody on their day. As the season progressed, Keegan would break United’s transfer record twice more with the signings of Ruel Fox and Darren Peacock as it would be apparent that if Newcastle were to compete at the highest level, attracting the best of the division would come at inflated prices. However, United’s progression and signs of success meant future signings would be partially subsidised by a £500 bond scheme promoted on the strength of a brochure titled “The next 10 years guaranteed.” Supporters who panicked and bought into it would later learn it wasn’t true.
But in those early Premier League days, Keegan was unquestionably backed by the supporters, allowed to rebuild and everyone appeared to stick together. A risk taker, as well as the aforementioned unknowns Keegan took a chance on those with injury records signing Bracewell, after learning of him only being offered a 1 year deal at sunderland, and John Beresford who had having failed medical at Liverpool was allegedly going to pass his Newcastle medical regardless. Keegan the motivator and morale booster got the best out of limited players and more out of class acts. This is paramount now if we are to progress as well as we did in those fantastic years. The jury may still out on the owner, but in Rafa we trust and put slight faith in the hope we can challenge like we used to.
Subs: O’Brien (£300k), Watson (Ranks) Total PurchaseValue: £4.675m (Source:The Ultimate Who’s Who, Paul Joannou) It’s worth noting that Beardsley (£1.5m) and Sellars (£600k) would have been starters if they weren’t injured.
The signings: After starting the opening 7 games of which he was withdrawn in 4, Nicos Papavasiliou would be an unused substitute once before never being selected by Kevin Keegan again having sustained an injury in the reserves. Leaving the club in December 1994, a sublime through ball for Andy Cole’s equaliser to earn our first point in the Premier League was his standout contribution. Alex Mathie would make an immediate impact and score a classic volley on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday live on SKY in a game that saw United come back to win 4-2 from 1-2 down. Adding 3 more goals in his total of 29 appearances (4 starts), the Scot would leave for Ipswich in February 1995 and score a hat-trick v the mackems during the 1995-96 season.
Newcastle United back in the Premier League with Rafa Benitez serenely assembling his squad for the new challenges and receiving every possi...