Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Memorable Moments for Magpies in 2016; LEE RYDER LOOKS BACK OVER YEAR TO REMEMBER

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Memorable Moments for Magpies in 2016; LEE RYDER LOOKS BACK OVER YEAR TO REMEMBER

Article excerpt

IN keeping with Newcastle United's turbulent history, the year 2016 did not fail to serve up its fair share of eyebrow-raising moments as far as the Toon Army was concerned.

There has been room for the second relegation of the Mike Ashley era plus a promotion push and the club appointed one of the most renowned managers in world football - Rafa Benitez.

As we look to raise a glass to the new year, and hopefully better times, here are five moments which shocked United fans during 2016.

THE ARRIVAL OF RAFA BENITEZ WHEN Steve McClaren was sacked, supporters could be forgiven for believing talk of ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was nothing but a malicious piece of trolling.

Yet as news started to emerge of talks between the club and Benitez it was quickly apparent this was more than just a bit of tittle-tattle.

With Newcastle refusing to deny rumours Benitez was being lined up as the replacement for McClaren, excitement swept around the city in early March.

Could this really be the case? Well, on the morning of March 11, the Chronicle's photographers pictured Benitez walking up the hill at Gallowgate past the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St James' Park. It was happening all right and Benitez said hours later: "I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club."

No Rafa, the pleasure was all ours.

THE DAY IT ALL GOT ROWDY AT THE CLUB'S PRESS CONFERENCE!

BY the time AFC Bournemouth were due at St James' Park, McClaren was fighting for his job.

Having lost a host of matches, there were national headlines in the Daily Mail which suggested McClaren would be out of a job if he failed to beat the Cherries.

McClaren tried to tackle the rumours by taking on the journalist in his pre-mntch press conference and, speaking about Mail reporter Craig Hope, he said: "It was done by a journalist who for the last 18 months has written nothing but negative things about Newcastle, a journalist who used to work at this club and who four or five years ago was released from this club."

At the end of thepress conference, though, Hope hit back and said: "Don't you dare accuse me of having an agenda. You are second bottom of the league. Is this your latest excuse? You are the problem, not me. Walk away Steve, smile, grin."

McClaren and Hope patched things up afterwards but it was obvious Newcastle were in trouble and they put in a poor display against Bournemouth in a 3-1 loss when fans turned on the manager - he was shown the door a few days later.

WHEN REF STEVE MARTIN TOOK CENTRE STAGE AT THE CITY GROUND THE performance of Mr Martin was so bad in the 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest it prompted fans to inadvertently direct their anger at comedian Steve Martin!

After wrongly sending off Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett, and denying Newcastle a good goal and a penalty, US star Martin tweeted: "Evidently, there is someone who is a bad referee with my name and now there are thousands of English who will not go see my films anymore. …

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