Only 16 months after leaving Newcastle United, Andy Cole was part of the team that denied Newcastle the Premier League title.
After Andy Cole was sold in January 1995, Newcastle went on to finish ‘only’ sixth with claims that after third spot the year before, NUFC’s time in the upper reaches was going to be very brief.
Of course Kevin Keegan was the man with the plan and masterminded the brilliant signings of Ginola and Ferdinand, as well as Barton and Hislop, that turned Newcastle into title contenders.
It is 20 years to the day that the final matches of the 1995/96 season were played – Newcastle home to Spurs and Manchester United away at Middlesbrough.
To win the Premier League that day, Newcastle needed to win AND also see Man Utd lose…
It wasn’t to be as Manchester United took a 14th minute lead which signalled very early on that whatever happened at St James Park was irrelevant.
Andy Cole adding a second on 54 minutes and then three minutes later Newcastle fell behind to Tottenham with a Jason Dozzell goal. Les Ferdinand gave a glimmer of hope with a 71st minute equaliser but seven minutes later on Teesside, Ryan Giggs completed a 3-0 rout.
In his only full Premier League season (1993/94) at Newcastle, Andy Cole scored an amazing 34 goals, whilst at Manchester United in that first full 1995/96 season at Old Trafford he only managed 11 goals.
It was Cantona and Schmeichel who were the chief architects when it came to pushing Newcastle into second but Andy Cole has been recalling that day 20 years ago.
Andy Cole speaking to the official Manchester United website:
“It was very tense – when you go away from home every team wants to beat Manchester United anyway, regardless whether it is the last game of the season, everyone wants to finish on a high.
“We had to go there and win and did it in the end.
“Maysie [David May] got one, I got one and Giggsy got another. The scoreline was a lot more comfortable than it actually was on the day though.”
“It was very, very important we did that in the end (winning league), it was a bit of hard work and dedication but a bit of Newcastle imploding as well. It’s always nice to be crowned the best team after 38 games.
“At the start of the season you’re thinking about winning the league and being known in the country as the best team. We did that and winning the FA Cup as well was so special – to do the Double with my first FA Cup win made it even better and when you beat Liverpool in the final, it makes it even sweeter.”