The Shirts of the 1995-96 Newcastle United Season

(Posted on 06/11/21)

 

Probably the most famous season in the recent history of Newcastle United was in the mid-90s. The season was 1995-96 under the leadership of club legend Kevin Keegan. The Magpies had one of the greatest home and away kit combinations that season and they were 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League season. What could go wrong?

 

Going into the 1995-96 season Newcastle United were looking to improve on the 6th place finish in the previous Premier League campaign which had led to them just missing out on Europe. The season had fizzled out with star striker Andy Cole having moved to top of the table rivals Manchester United in January 1995. Despite the end to the previous season there was some optimism heading into ‘95-96 with the arrival of highly rated Les Ferdinand from QPR. A much needed replacement for Cole.

 

That optimism was justified at the start of the campaign, with Newcastle entertaining the crowd with an exciting brand of football that produced high scoring matches and 9 wins out of their first 10 Premier League games. By Christmas the Magpies were 10 points clear of second place Manchester United and despite losing at Old Trafford, Newcastle were still 9 points clear in mid-February. What happened next has gone down in Premier League history. 

 

Newcastle’s form suddenly nosedived, losing 5 of 8 games from February to April. Although only one of those was at St. James’s Park - their only home loss of the season - it was a big one. A single Cantona goal for Manchester United meant The Red Devils took all 3 points from the fixture and cut Newcastle’s lead down to a single point. It proved to be the turning point of the season.

 

 

Next came one of the most famous games in Premier League history. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle. We all remember Kevin Keegan slumped in his seat and Martin Tyler’s commentary. The words “Collymore closing in” flooded into our homes as Stan Collymore won the game for Liverpool and sent Manchester United clear at the top of the Premier League.

 

 

The drama of the season wasn’t over as Newcastle managed to keep pace with the leaders going into the final games of the season. Alex Ferguson started with the mind-games and hoped Kevin Keegan would bite. It worked to great effect. Keegan got on the microphone and went on an unbelievable rant. “I would love it if we beat them, love it”. It was entertaining but it didn’t work in Newcastle’s favour and there was no slip up from Man United.

 

 

This was Adidas’ first season as the club’s kit manufacturer and they decided to look back at classic silhouettes for inspiration. The vintage grandad collar design was used with a perfectly distanced black and white stripe pattern. That was paired with the iconic orange accented Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor which added a bit of colour to an otherwise monochromatic shirt. To a lot of people it’s probably Newcastle’s greatest kit. One of the other contenders for this accolade is the away kit from the same season. The grandad collar was used again in a slightly off-white colour which worked well with the blue and maroon stripes. A nice feature of this kit is the change of both the shape and colour of the Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor colour to fit the kit design and to match the collar tone. An orange sponsor would have been too much for this kit. As a pair they are so strong. 

 

 

So we’ve established that the home and away kits were wonderful. A statement that is also true of the goalkeeper shirts from this season. New for 1995 was a great Adidas template which was also used by Liverpool and Rangers. Newcastle were issued a blue and grey home shirt and a purple and green away kit with the Newcastle Brown Ale sponsors corresponding with the different logos on the home and away outfield kits. The main ‘keepers this season were Shaka Hislop and Pavel Srnicek, although Srnicek was wearing the number 1 there seemed to be rotation at times throughout the season. Another Adidas design triumph.

 

The home kit design was re-used in the following season, Alan Shearer’s first season back in Newcastle. Surely they could push on and win the Premier League’s top striker on board! That didn’t quite go to plan either.

 

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