Storming straight back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, Newcastle United’s title chase with Brighton went right down to the wire before the Championship trophy headed to Tyneside. United were a full nine points ahead of third placed Reading in the final analysis, as under Rafa Benitez The Magpies were never destined to settle anywhere but on the highest perch.
The Toon’s promotion campaign started before the season did. Unbeaten in the last six games of the previous year, a final day 5-1 annihilation of Spurs showed that while the Magpies were down they certainly weren’t out. The ‘Rafa-lution’ saw 11 players leave and another 17 depart on loan, while in total a dozen came in.
A Champions League winner, Benitez loaded up with players equipped to get Newcastle straight out of the Championship and despite back to back shock defeats to begin with United were soon in full stride.
Through the 6-0 away win at QPR, the sensational seven goal thriller with Norwich, the nine-man pantomime at Nottingham Forest and a record 14 away wins every step of the Rafa-lution is captured in ‘Toon Up.’
Re-live a season to remember as every match in league and cup is reviewed and reflected on in the story of Newcastle’s instant return to the top-flight.
* Foreword by Newcastle’s 1965 promotion wining captain Stan Anderson.