Cheer Up , Kevin Keegan

On course, for United to now go on to win the Double, having secured their place at Wembley, much depended on how Newcastle handled the pressures of the league run-in.And we got a very significant clue only a few days after the semi-finals, in one of the all-time great Premiership matches, on 3 April, 1996. This was a passionate end-to-end encounter in which the lead repeatedly changed hands before Liverpool finally beat Newcastle 4-3 with virtually the last kick of the match, from Stan Collymore. The Toons had been leading 3-2 with only 20 minutes to go, and it was no wonder that Kevin Keegan was seen slumped over Anfield’s advertising hoardings in despair at the end. ‘Kevin Keegan hangs his head, he’s devastated’, cried the commentator, knowing Newcastle had just thrown away one of their two games in hand, leaving United still at the top of the Premiership, three points clear. Mind you, with my capacity for pessimism over United I had a horrible fear at this point that Liverpool’s dramatic winner would be just the boost they’d need to overhaul United and win the league. Worse, as FA Cup Finalists the Double was now suddenly a possibility for them too. What a nightmarish thought.

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