“Jossys Giants” visit Bobby Charlton and Willie McFaul at St James’ Park – 1985.
Aye Bobby Charlton, not Jackie Charlton who had left the club as manager in the huff over player sales and such before McFaul stepped in and faced the same old problem.
After introducing the Jossy’s lads to McFaul the ex Northern Ireland goalie, Bobby then takes them through the bowels of the old St James Park, the old away dressing room with the old plunge bath, the old physio room and so on. A magical trip down Magpie memory lane. As you can see, Bobby’s no Al Pacino when it comes to acting; then again, he could probably teach Pacino a thing or two on playing against the likes of Eusebio and Beckenbauer!
As some of you may know already, Jossy’s Giants was written by Nothumberland’s greatest living polymathic genius, Sid Waddell, the man who also raised Darts commentary into the realms of high art amongst other things.
The signing of Mirandinha – 1987.
With top players such as Keegan, Waddle and Beardsley now sold (or retired in Keegan’s case), manager Willie McFaul brought in Brazilian star Francisco Ernani Lima da Silva aka “Mirandinha” to plug the gap. Incidentally, he was the first Brazilian to play for an English side, and as you can see in the video, Newcastle’s new number 9 was signed through one of the club’s most legendary older ones, Malcolm MacDonald aka “Supermac.” Newcastle United also still had another reasonably talented midfield playmaker on the books called Paul Gascoigne aka “Daft Get.” However he was go too in the fullness of time, joining Chris Waddle at Tottenham in 1988.
Mirandinha went on to score 23 goals in a total of 67 appearences for Newcastle, eventually returning to Brazil to join Palmeiras in 1989.
Newcastle United face Sheffield United in the Rumbelows Cup after the sacking of Willie McFaul – 1988.
Four and a half years after the glory of promotion under Arthur Cox. On Oct 12th 1988. after being frequently undermined by the sale of top players at the club, Newcastle United manager Willie McFaul has just been sacked as the now troubled Magpies go into their Rumbelows Cup 2nd Round, 2nd Leg clash against Sheffield United 3 goals down. Meanwhile an aggressive local property shark called Sir John Hall is circling with Chairman of the time, Gordon McKeag, trying to fend him off. Hall and his so called “Magpie Group” rode on a ticket of democratising the club and handing the power to supporters. Of course Hall eventually completed a takeover in the early ‘nineties, becoming chairman of the club in 1992.
Tracking back though, after the departure of McFaul we had youth coach Colin Suggett as caretaker for a nine match spell until Jim “Bald Eagle” Smith was brought in to try and steady the ship, which he didn’t. After 38 games, the Magpies finished rock bottom of the league with 31 points and were thus relegated.
The season after they nearly made it, coming third as Cox and Keegan did five years before. This time though promotion was much as it is today, ie the top two automatically went up and there was a playoff amongst the third to sixth teams. In those depressing times, fans would often say “things couldn’t get any worse”, just before some cruel twist of fate promptly made it get worse. Well, fourth placed Swindon Town won the Second Division playoff final, then they admitted to a series of financial irregularities which started off a horrendously complicated carry on which resulted in Swindon being relegated initially instead of promoted, then they changed their minds and it was a very messy business overall. Anyway, the upshot was that third placed Newcastle stayed down, yet a certain team from the Wearside area who go by the name of “Sunderland” were promoted even though they only came sixth! They beat us 2-0 in the playoff semi final and got the final place in the Premiership as Samiritans’ switchboards in the Tyneside area went into overdrive.
The teams form then slumped in the next season, we had virtually no hope of promotion and the Bald Eagle walked out amid a boardroom struggle, describing the club as “unmanagable”. World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles was came in and he was something of a proto Ruud Gullit, ie great player, not so great manager. The once mighty Newcastle United’s fall from grace continued, right to the bottom of the Second Division.
And so we turn full circle, ending up in much the same place where this trip down Magpie memory lane began in part one. It was time to give the permed Messiah another call!
Contrary to popular myth, of which there are many at Newcastle United, it was actually Sir John Hall’s predecessor as Chairman, George Forbes, who was the first to approach Kevin Keegan for his second coming as manager, the period which subsequently became known as the “Entertainers” era. Peter Mallinger’s book “So You Think You Want To Be A Director of a Football Club: A View from Inside the Boardrooms at Newcastle United and Kettering Town” gives an interesting insight on this important transitional period in the club’s history.
Liverpool v Newcastle United, October 1st, 1988.
Despite the Eighties ending on a very low note for Newcastle United, with the lowest note of all, relegation coming in the 88-89 season, there were a few highlights in that season which sent us back to the second tier. Keegan had gone, Waddle had gone, Gazza had (just) gone, and Beardsley was now playing for the other team in this match! However, however, despite no wins, 3 defeats and 12 goals conceded in the games preceding this one, we still managed to go to Anfield and take the fight to one the two predominant teams of the time (along with George Graham’s “one nil to the Arsenal” side). We had a new star upfront, Francisco Ernani Lima da Silva AKA “Mirandinha”, who was the first Brazilian to sign for an English club. His silky Brazilian skills could give way to overelaboration sometimes, but he went on to score 23 goals in a total of 67 appearences fpr the Magpies.
It looked like it could’ve been a massacre in the early stages against Division One’s bottom feeders. Liverpool’s Gary Gillespie chalked one up for the mighty Reds within the first five minutes as the home side dominated possession. However that was to be the only Liverpool goal, with McFaul’s Magpies striking back, firstly with John Hendrie’s debut goal for the club. With the game deadlocked in the final stages, the scorer of the Liverpool’s first goal, Gillespie, fouled the scorer of United’s first goal, Hendrie, just inside the box. Penalty to the Magpies said the ref! Mirandinha slotted it home and the Mighty Reds were vanquished by the first division’s bottom club. It was Willie McFaul’s birthday too!
Newcastle United 3-0 Smoggies, October 26th 1988 – A “Braziliant” brace for Mirandinha.
Another rare highlight from Newcastle United’s 88-89 season. With McFaul now sacked, and caretaker Colin Suggett now in temporary charge until Jim Smith’s eventual appointment, Newcastle took on fellow North Eastern strugglers in Bruce Rioch’s Middlesborough at SJP. It was a great 3-0 victory for the Magpies with the first goal coming when a young Gary Pallister, who of course went on to fame and fortune with Manchester United, headed the ball into his own net. The rest was the Mirandinha show with two goals from the “Braziliant” number nine. The first was a 20 yard bullet of a free kick which went beyond the reach of Stephen Pears in the Middlesbrough goal. The second saw Mira using his pace to bomb thorugh a gaggle of Smoggy defenders, smacking his initial effort into Pears, then finally finding his target on the rebound.
Newcastle v Liverpool, February 4th, 1989
With McFaul the Bald Eagle now at the helm, Newcastle United took on Liverpool at St James’ Park later in the season. In this one number 9, Mirandinha, opened the scoring for Newcastle in what would be a 2-2 draw. But this game also features the only goal (off the back of his heed) from Smith’s star striker signing, a name who will live forever in the pantheon of NUFC legends, the “Danish Destroyer” himself, Frank Pingel. Rather shamefully, it also shows some of the lesser Newcastle United fans having the gall to boo Saint Peter when he came on for Liverpool in the second half.
Famously the First Division title that season was decided by the narrowest possible margin, with Liverpool eventually being pipped to the post by Arsenal after the Gunners beat the Reds 2-0. At the end of that, both their points and their goal difference were the same and the Championship was decided on goals scored. It was somewhat ironic that a rule which was originally brought in for the 1975/76 season to discourage boring defensive play would later be the rule which handed the title to George Graham’s boring defensive “one nil to the Arsenal” side!