On this day in 2004: Graeme Souness appointed Newcastle manager

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Graeme Souness was the surprise replacement for Sir Bobby Robson as he was appointed Newcastle manager on this day in 2004.

The Scot quit his post at Blackburn in order to make the move to St James’ Park – although he was put on gardening leave for a week as Rovers were, coincidentally, due to play his new club in their next match.

“I think I’m ready for a big challenge and they don’t come much bigger than this,” said Souness, who had previously won trophies with Rangers, Liverpool and Blackburn.

Graeme Souness celebrates with his Newcastle players
Souness got off to a good start at Newcastle but things quickly turned sour (Gareth Copley/PA)

“I don’t need to be told by anyone that Newcastle are one of the best supported clubs around. Everything is geared to be successful and I hope I can bring success.”

The club’s 14th-place finish was their lowest since promotion in 1993 and despite making it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup and the semi-finals of the FA Cup Souness found himself under pressure at the start of his second season.

He was sacked in February 2006 with the club sliding towards relegation and that prompted a huge upturn in performances, with replacement Glenn Roeder guiding them to seventh.