Wear. That they are persistant underachievers makes the near-global love for the club all the more heartening, and their long-suffering fans are among the most loyal and good-humoured that you'll find anywhere. But how much do you really know about Newcastle United?
Newcastle East End (formed in 1881) and Newcastle West End (formed in 1882). West End were in financial difficulties and approached the more successful East End, their fierce rivals from the Northern League, about a merger. East End were happy to cherry pick the Westerners' best players, while the Eastenders were quite happy to go and play at the much superior St James Park. And so a team were born. The new club toyed with a few names, like Newcastle Rangers and Newcastle City, before deciding that United would be far more apt, considering.
They still play at West End's old ground St James Park, although it's a bit bigger these days. Now it's a massive 52,387 capacity megalith right on the edge of Newcastle's city centre. So tall is this, the third largest club stadium in England, that from the back of the away stand you can see ships sailing up the Tyne to the open sea.
Jackie Milburn, Ivor Allchurch, Joe Harvey, George Robledo, Malcolm MacDonald, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and latterly Alan Shearer - every one of them near legendary and picked from a list that could have been three times as long.
In total their trophy cabinet has glistened to four league titles, six FA Cup wins, an Inter-City Fairs Cup victory and a host of smaller knock out tournament wins. But more tellingly they've been league runners up twice and losing FA Cup finalists a massive seven times. They're they club the phrase 'nearly men' could have been written for. So could the fanatically loyal Toon Army ever have another few seasons in the sun? History suggests that it's an inevitability.
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