Monday, September 5, 2011

English Leagues the 80s: Newcastle Brighton Division Two 1983 1984

Day 42
12 may 1984
St. James Park,

  One of only four Newcastle players ever to return to the club as manager, Kevin Keegan occupied a prime place in the affections of all Newcastle supporters in two dramatically successful playing years in the stripes from 1982 to 1984. Keegan galvanised the slumbering club and left with United a First Division side, but then was called on to return as manager after eight years out of the game to guide United away from the bottom of the Second Division and into the newly-formed Premier League.
The international superstar's £100,000 move to lowly United from First Division Southampton on the eve of the 1982-83 season was greeted with disbelief, but sparked a surge of excitement and brought full-house crowds to watch Arthur Cox's enthralling side. Keegan, who had done it all in a career with Liverpool and Hamburg before Southampton, relished the challenge that presented itself at Newcastle. While he produced leadership and inspiration in 1982-83, it was only in 1983-84 that the team, with important player additions such .as Peter Beardsley and David McCreery, swept to promotion. Keegan, a scorer on his debut against QPR in 1982, netted 21 times alongside 22-goal Imre Varadi in 82-83, but United fell short of the promotion places, finishing fifth, and only when Varadi was replaced by Beardsley in 1983-84 did everything fall into place. At age 33, Keegan, having hit 49 goals in 85 appearances, announced his retirement and was awarded an emotional testimonial against his old club Liverpool in May 1984, which ended with his spectacular departure from the pitch in a specially-commissioned helicopter.

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