Plymouth, Stoke and Blackburn have a special place in Newcastle fans’ hearts…why may you ask?
In eight years of FA Cup football under Mike Ashley, these are the only three clubs that Newcastle have beaten.
2015 Leicester (A) 0-1
2014 Cardiff (H) 1-2
2013 Brighton (A) 0-2
2012 Blackburn (H) 2-1 Brighton (A) 0-1
2011 Stevenage (A) 1-3
2010 Plymouth (A) 0-0 Plymouth (H) 3-0 West Brom (A) 2-4
2009 Hull (A) 0-0 Hull (H) 0-1
2008 Stoke (A) 0-0 Stoke (H) 4-1 Arsenal (A) 0-3
In 2008 Sam Allardyce somehow survived an away tie at Championship Stoke with one of the most negative and pathetic performances ever seen but it wasn’t enough to save his job. By the home replay Kevin Keegan was in the stands and inspired ten man Newcastle to a 4-1 win, though there was nothing KK could do when Arsenal away awaited in the fourth round.
Chris Hughton managed a draw away at Championship Plymouth in 2010 and then beat them at home, before going down to another Championship side in West Brom.
In 2012 Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League and in the home tie United were trailing in the third round game until two late wonder goals from Ben Arfa and Gutierrez rescued the game.
In total, fourteen matches played, with 3 wins, 3 draws and eight defeats.
Three wins in eight years is appalling and United could easily have gone out in the third round even in those years when we somehow got into the fourth round.
Four exits were against lower league clubs and only the defeat at Arsenal could in any way be seen as a match that you’d expect Newcastle to automatically lose.
Time after time weakened teams have been played to seemingly ensure the earliest exit possible and sadly yesterday at Leicester was no different.
This is life under Mike Ashley and nothing will change until he has left St. James’ Park.