As Manchester United prepare to host Newcastle United in their third Premier League clash, we look back at three memorable moments for the Red Devils against the Tyneside outfit in the league.
Manchester United fans have plenty of happy memories against Newcastle United. Of course, there are some exceptions, but, generally, the Red Devils have given their fans plenty of good moments against the Magpies.
With former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren leading the men in black and white to Old Trafford on Saturday, we look at three games which have gone in the folklore of the Old Trafford faithfuls.
1 – Schmeichel heroics, Cantona’s goal in 1996 flattens Newcastle title march
The 1995/96 season was a season to remember for Manchester United faithfuls. It was the year Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United were the top dogs in England, full of attacking talent and swagger, but, were stopped by Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United who showed the winning mentality that are in bred in champions.
A pre-knighthood Alex Ferguson took his side to St James’ Park and battled for a championship-defining 1-0 win. The goal came from the legend himself, Eric Cantona.
The real hero that day, though, was Peter Schmeichel. The Great Dane kept out wave after wave of Newcastle United attacks. Schmeichel was amazing, Cantona was brilliant on the night and a couple months later, Red half of Manchester was celebrating Premier League glory.
2 – Ruud van Nistelrooy show in 2002
Unlike in 1996, Manchester United had established their status as the top team in England in a much clearer way. Newcastle were no more a force they were in mid 90s, but, were still a very talented side with the legendary Alan Shearer regularly playing a key role in helping the Magpies qualify for Europe.
Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the greatest center-forwards in the Premier League era and he decided to show his ability in this game.
The Dutch international grabbed a perfect poacher’s hat-trick, none from much outside of the six-yard box, each presented on a plate, as Manchester United won 5-3 against Newcastle in one of the most entertaining Premier League games. One befitting the attacking talent on display that evening.
The hat-trick for Nistelrooy is of much more significance for the player with it being en route to his only league title with the club.
Alan Shearer scored his 100th Premier League goal for Newcastle United in the game, too, as defences were torn to shreds by two masters of their trade.
3 – Kevin Keegan’s rant in 1995-96
No Manchester United-Newcastle United Premier League moments review can be complete if it does not include the infamous rant by the Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan losing it on television in the bitter 1995-96 title race.
Ferguson suggested, “teams like Nottingham Forest might not try as hard against Newcastle as they did against his side”
That was enough to set Keegan off. Perhaps feeling the pressure of Manchester United gathering momentum in the title race, perhaps genuinely hurt by the Scotsman suggestion, Keegan flew off the handle, ranting fierely: “I would love it if we beat them”.
In the end, of course, Alex Ferguson had the last laugh. Keegan might have loved it if his side had beaten Manchester United, but it was not to be.
For Manchester United fans of certain age, it still remains one of the greatest moments of the club in the Premier League era, made more sweeter with the fact that Keegan was also a Liverpool FC legend.