The last time Newcastle were In the championship, the 2009–10 season , it was the first time the club had played in England’s second tier following relegation after 16 consecutive years in the Premier League. At the end of the season, Newcastle had secured promotion in style, breaking the 100 points barrier, winning 30 league games, drawing 12 and losing only 4. As we currently fight for promotion back to the premier league, I’m taking a look at United’s preferred starting XI from the 09/10 season and asking – Where are they now?
Goalkeeper: Steve Harper
Harper joined Newcastle in 1993 and is a very familiar face on Tyneside. He appeared 153 time’s for Newcastle in total with 45 of those coming from the championship season. That year Harper managed to set a club record of 21 clean sheets. After 20 years of service, on the 19th of May 2013 Harper captained the team for his final game with Newcastle. The black and whites unfortunately suffered a 1–0 defeat to Arsenal that day. Harper then joined newly promoted Hull signing a one-year contract with the side. On 28 May 2015, Hull City released Harper which then saw him have a short stint at fierce rivals Sunderland to provide cover for their goalkeepers. As of now Harper is back at Newcastle as an Academy Goalkeeping coach.
Right back: Danny Simpson
Danny Simpson was a key part of United securing promotion, and for him personally it meant it was his second championship title. Simpson continued to start for Newcastle when they returned to the premier league and was part of great times; including the Europa league campaign and the club’s 3–0 win against Manchester United.Since leaving Newcastle he has mostly notably won the 2015/2016 Premier League with Leicester City. He appeared 30 times for the foxes becoming an important part of Leicester re writing the rules of the football world.
Left back: Jose Enrique
A consistent performer for the black and whites through the championship season and the premier league campaign following. Although now Jose Enrique is no longer thought of fondly around Newcastle. After leaving Newcastle he claimed “never again” would Newcastle be able to fight for a top-six finish under the current regime. Ironically he returned to St. James’s Park a few months later, with his new club Liverpool, and Newcastle were above the reds and also in the top six. Chants of “Jose Enrique, we’re in the top six!” echoed around the ground that day. After being released from Liverpool in 2016 Enrique now finds himself in the Spanish second division playing for Real Zaragoza,a definite fall from grace.
Fabricio Coloccini was strong, athletic and could read the game well. He was almost the perfect centre-half and his brilliant performances saw him achieve a place in the championship team of the year. Coloccini was named Newcastle captain for the 2011–12 season however, two years later in January 2013, Coloccini shocked the club and fans alike by handing in a transfer request him with wanting to return to Argentina citing personal reasons. The move fell through and since then his form dipped and he became a voiceless “leader” in increasingly tough times. His legacy at the club is consequently marred and in the summer of 2016, Coloccini mutually agreed with Newcastle that his contract would be terminated, seeing his wish to finally re-join San Larenzo becoming a reality.
Centre back: Steven Taylor
Steven “Fistpump” Taylor totalled 215 appearances for his local club however it certainly would have been more if his career wasn’t cursed with injuries. He ultimately lacked ability and attempted to win over the fans with his passion. Taylor was released by the club in the summer of 2016 which saw the Whitley Bay lad move stateside to join the Portland Timbers where he still currently plays.
Centre midfield: Kevin Nolan
Nolan was voted as the Championship Player of the Year that season and it was completely justified. He played a huge 48 games that year netting 18 goals. He quickly became a terrace favourite and on United’s return to the premier league he was appointed captain. Nolan’s popularity was only increased when he managed to score a hat-trick in Newcastle’s 5-1 domination of Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby. Nolan was controversially sold for speaking out against Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to West Ham where he captained them for 4 seasons. He later became player-manager of Leyton Orient in 2o16 however he was shortly relieved off his duties after an unsuccessful spell.
Centre midfield: Alan Smith (C)
Smith was appointed vice-captain for the 2009–10 season, however, he captained the team in almost every game due to Chris Houghton’s preference of Smith to first choice captain Nicky Butt in centre midfield. Smith fell out favour and lost his place in the team when the club returned to the top tier of football and this saw him released in June 2012. He then spent two seasons at MK Dons and when his contract with MK Dons ended, Smith joined Notts County on 20 May 2014 on a one-year player-coach contract. Today he is more likely to be found in the news for his off the pitch antics rather than on.
Centre midfield: Danny Guthrie
Guthrie reached his peak with Newcastle during the year in the Championship, scoring five goals from 43 games and holding the highest registered assists among the squad with a total of 13. Injury’s and more quality competition saw him lose his place the following seasons which led him to be released like Alan Smith in June 2012. He then spent 3 seasons at the Madjeski stadium with Reading where eventually he was released once more in 2015. Guthrie can currently be found playing for Blackburn Rovers where his contract expires in the summer of 2017.
Left midfield: Jonás Gutiérrez
Say the words “Jonás Gutiérrez” to any Newcastle fan and they will most likely smile. Jonas spent a total of 5 years in the North East and over that time he won over fans hearts with his hard work on the left wing and his determination. Famous for celebrating with a red Spiderman mask, Jonas was sadly diagnosed with Cancer after a collision with Bacary Sagna. He had an operation to remove his testicle in Oct 2013 and has returned to full fitness since. Jonas has a special relationship with the Geordie faithful and he will be certainly remembered as a club legend. He now plays in his native Argentina after a short spell in Spain for Deportivo.
Striker: Andy Carrol
An academy product and at a towering 6ft 4in, Andy Carrol certainly was a success in the championship. He finished the season as Newcastle’s top scorer, with 19 goals in all competitions, with 17 in the league. The Geordie was the key to the way Newcastle played, adapting their game plan around the target man. He was young and promising which added to the shock when Newcastle agreed to sell him on deadline day. A British record sum of £35million was accepted and Carrol joined Liverpool joining his former teammate Jose Enrique. Carrol had an average few years at Liverpool and was transferred to West Ham in 2012 where he still plays, although being plagued by injuries.
Striker: Peter Løvenkrands
Løvenkrands was the other half of United’s strike partnership along with Andy Carrol and this partnership accounted for more than half of the club’s goals in 2010. Løvenkrands re-joined the club after a few months of being released by Newcastle. He joined on September 2009 and incredibly later made himself available for the 18th of January match against West Brom despite having just returned to his home country Denmark upon his father’s death. Løvenkrands managed to score in this game and dedicated it to his late father. After Newcastle, Peter joined Birmingham where he spent two years before retiring.