16 Months That Seem Like A lifetime!

Last updated : 15 September 2008 By Footy Mad - Editor
May 23 2007: Billionaire businessman Ashley's completion of a £55million deal to buy out Sir John Hall's family comes only eight days after confirmation of Sam Allardyce as Newcastle's new manager on a three-year contract. By the end of June, Ashley's St James Holding Limited will own more than 93% of the club's shares - and his total investment will reach £134.4million.

June 7: Ashley spends another £37.6million to buy chairman Freddy Shepherd's stake. Striker Mark Viduka's free-transfer signing from Middlesbrough on a two-year deal comes on the same day.

June 14: Midfielder Joey Barton arrives from Manchester City for £5.8million.

June 26: The Ashley landscape starts to take shape. Bruce Shepherd, Allison Antonopoulos, Tim Revill and Douglas Hall all resign from the board - and Chris Mort and Steve Hayward are appointed in their place.

June 29: Allardyce makes Czech international defender David Rozehnal one of his notable early signings, for £2.9million from Paris St Germain.

July 13: Winger James Milner signs a new four-year contract with Newcastle.

July 22: It is confirmed Barton will have surgery on a broken metatarsal and will be out of action for six weeks.

July 24: Mort replaces Shepherd as chairman.

August 3: England forward Alan Smith joins Newcastle from Manchester United on a five-year contract, for an undisclosed fee.

August 6: Allardyce splashes out £6.3million on a five-year deal for Villarreal defender Jose Enrique, the most expensive of his £26million worth of transfer-window acquisitions.

September 27: Prize asset Michael Owen has to have stomach surgery. A subsequent thigh strain on England duty means the forward does not return to significant club action until the end of December.


January 9: Allardyce's reign ends after less than four months of competitive football. With Newcastle 11th in the Barclays Premier League after eight wins and six draws from Allardyce's 24 matches in charge and a trip to play Manchester United at Old Trafford looming, the club confirm they have parted company with their manager. Allardyce's departure comes just days after assurances from both Ashley and Mort that his job was safe.

January 10: Feverish speculation begins over Allardyce's successor, with Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp's assurance there is "nothing" in reports linking him with the vacant position at St James' Park.

January 16: Following an apparent last-minute change of heart from Redknapp, Newcastle land the biggest crowd-pleasing fish of all. Kevin Keegan agrees a three-and-a-half-year contract to return to the club where he will always remain a hero following previous stints as both a player and manager.

January 25: Keegan ends 'dream team' rumours by announcing ex-Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer will not be engaged as his assistant.

January 31: Keegan's only notable transfer-window business sees Rozehnal join Lazio on loan until the end of the season.

February 8: Newcastle coach Nigel Pearson leaves the club.

May 11: Newcastle finish the season 12th in the Premier League. Keegan has already begun clearing the decks - announcing Stephen Carr, Peter Ramage and James Troisi will leave in the summer.

July 7: Keegan, with director of football Dennis Wise a key adviser on player targets, makes his first major signing - Argentina winger Jonas Gutierrez from Real Mallorca on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

July 29: Newcastle show their support for Barton, despite his troubled existence off the pitch. Following the midfielder's release from prison after serving part of a six-month sentence for assault, the Magpies confirm he will remain on staff.

August 15: Argentina defender Fabricio Coloccini follows Gutierrez into St James' Park, on a five-year contract from Deportivo La Coruna.

August 27: With only five days of the transfer window remaining, Milner hands in a request to leave the club.

August 31: Newcastle offer England striker Owen an improved three-year extension to his current contract.

September 2: The signing of Spanish striker Xisco is confirmed, on a five-year deal from Deportivo La Coruna. Newcastle try to stop sudden and unexpected rumours about Keegan's future, by announcing on their website that they have not sacked him.

September 3: The club confirm talks are ongoing between their board and Keegan - who "has neither been sacked nor resigned".

September 4: The League Managers' Association announce Keegan has resigned as Newcastle manager.

September 12: As shocked fans continue to organise boycotts and protests, they are left bemused by LMA confirmation that discussions have been held between Ashley and Keegan. Magpies supporters also learn "the discussion failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion".

September 14: Confusion continues to reign - but Ashley makes his position clear when he announces, in a lengthy statement, that he wants to sell the club.