Newcastle United might not have the longest list of trophies in Premier League history, but the club is still one of the oldest in English football. Newcastle was founded in 1892 and has been part of the top division nearly every year since then.
Along the way, there have been some truly great managers to lead the squad, with these five men being the best in club history. Before we start the list, some of the managers who just missed the cut include Alan Pardew, Tom Mathew, Arthur Cox, and George Martin.
When you think of Kevin Keegan, there’s probably a different club that comes to mind. After he started his professional career with Scunthorpe United during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Keegan made his way to Liverpool where he spent six years and played in over 230 matches. Keegan then spent time with Hamburger SV and Southampton before becoming a member of Newcastle United from 1982 to 1984. Eight years after retiring, he became the club’s manager for five years.
Keegan is the only man in Newcastle United history to have more than 100 matches managed while also being able to secure a winning percentage of over 50. In fact, Keegan won nearly 55 percent of his matches and even led Newcastle United to a second-place finish in the Premier League in 1995-96. His club won the First Division in 1993, and he wrapped up with 138 career wins.
Sacriston native Bobby Robson spent much of his playing career with Fulham while also having a long stint with West Bromwich Albion. He wrapped up his playing career in 1968 as a player-manager in Canada before moving on to Fulham to become their manager for a brief period. Robson had several different tenures as a manager, ending his career in 2004 after spending five years leading Newcastle United.
Robson is fourth all-time on the list for matches managed with Newcastle United at 255, though his winning percentage is actually better than those ahead of him. Robson won 46.67% of those matches, though the First Division title escaped him. Robson’s squads nearly won the Intertoto Cup, as well as the UEFA Cup in 2004.
Stan Seymour had a lengthy playing career that lasted nearly two decades, almost all of it split between Greenock Morton and, of course, Newcastle United. Seymour retired in 1929 after spending nearly the entire decade with the club, netting 73 goals in 242 league matches. After 10 years away from football, Seymour would return to Newcastle United to become manager. He had three stints as the club’s manager (1939-1947, 1950-1954, and 1956-1958), and managed no other clubs.
Seymour had 338 total matches as a manager, winning nearly 40 percent of those contests. He also won the FA Cup twice during that time. Unfortunately, Seymour wasn’t able to win the First Division as a manager but did do so as a player in 1927. He lived for another two decades following his retirement from football, passing away on Christmas Eve in 1978.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Joe Harvey spent time with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth, and Bradford City as a player before joining Newcastle United in 1945. He’d spend the rest of his playing career with the club, retiring in 1953 after more than 220 appearances. Harvey then became a manager who had stops in Crook Town, Barrow, and Workington before returning to Newcastle United for the final 13 years of his career.
Harvey’s winning percentage wasn’t the greatest at 37.9%, but he brought a sense of stability during a time when Newcastle United really needed it. Harvey managed 591 matches, which is the second-most in the club’s history. Harvey won the Second Division once during his run while also winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and Anglo-Italian Cup.
The top manager on the list is one that most younger supporters may have never heard of, but he’s credit with being the “man who made Newcastle United”. Frank Watt was a massive influence on club football in England and Newcastle United in particular. Watt was named the secretary of the club in 1895 and stayed in that position until the mid-1930s. For more than 30 years, Watt was the manager of the club.
He finished with 1,264 total matches managed, which is far and away the most in the club’s history. That puts him more than 650 ahead of anybody else on the list. Watt won 575 of those matches, giving him a 45.49% winning rate. Watt won the First Division title four times during his career, as well as the Second Division once.