November begins with the visit of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to St. James Park, a club with which we’ve met regularly since the 1950’s mostly in the top division but also in the Second Division for a brief period in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Our first meeting with Chelsea came in 1907/08 when a Ronald Orr goal separated the two sides and gave us as reigning champions an early victory in our quest to defend our crown. The most recent visit of the men from West London came last February when Newcastle came from behind to win 3-2 with Moussa Sissoko announcing himself on Tyneside with a brace and man of the match performance on his home debut in a match which also had Demba Ba being taken off with a broken nose on his return to St. James’.
That win back in February was our first at home to Chelsea since 2006 when a European spot was secured against a Chelsea team which had already won the league by none other than Titus Bramble, with a bicycle kick! Two years previous to that, we edged a close encounter 2-1 with Alan Shearer scoring one of his best goals in Black and White, turning Marcel Desailly and sending a vicious shot flying into the top corner of the Gallowgate, it was a goal which was celebrated almost as much in North London as on Tyneside with Arsenal closing in on the title as a result of our win.
The Magpies recorded an important win against Chelsea on the excellent run towards the back end of the 1996/97 season which resulted in our qualification for the Champions League for the very first time, that game ended 3-1 with the flamboyant Colombian Faustino Asprilla in particular running the Chelsea backline ragged, scoring one and assisting one of Alan Shearer’s double. Another memorable fixture between the two sides in the Premier League era was in September 1994, with Newcastle looking to maintain an early 100% record which eventually lasted 6 games we triumphed 4-2 with Andy Cole (2), Ruel Fox and Robert Lee getting on the scoresheet, the poison dwarf himself Dennis Wise was also given his marching orders for two bookable offences.
As alluded to previously we met Chelsea in both the Second and First Division in the 1980’s, perhaps the most memorable of all the encounters would be a 3-1 victory for The Magpies in 1988 when that comical duo of Paul Gascoigne and Mirandinha both got on the scoresheet with the latter scoring twice. Another game worth mentioning came in 1974 when 5 goals were put past Peter Bonetti with Malcolm Macdonald (2), Alan Kennedy, Paul Cannell and Stewart Barrowclough the scorers.