Newcastle did not just win promotion. They went up with superb panache and style into the bargin. Kevin Keegan's men set record after record including a club best points haul and United's biggest number of wins in a season. Their magnificent start of 11 wins in the first 11 games provided the platform on which the First Division Championship was won. And while there were a few mini stutters on the way, they also ended the season powerfully to take the title with plenty to spare. So where was the difference from a side that had only just escaped relegation the previous season? Most importantly, Keegan instilled enthusiasm and confidence. The players almost expected to go up before a ball was kicked. He bought well during the summer, particularly at fullback where Barry Venison and John Beresford had magnificent seasons.
Robert Lee, who arrived from Charlton in September, also made a major contribution. And the purchase of the mercurial talents of £1.75m Andy Cole for the last 12 games was just the tonic needed for the final push. His signing proved particularly fortuitous given the injury which ruled out second-top-scorer Gavin Peacock for a couple of months and similarly Keegan was lucky to have Paul Bracewell to step in and perform the midfield anchor role superbly in the closing stages just when the impressive Liam O'Brien was injured. Midfield dynamo Lee Clark was voted Player of the Year, but it was very much a team effort in a side that was not only successful, but provided consistently excellent entertainment value to the packed houses that attended St James's Park throughout the campaign.
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