Newcastle started their first season back in the top flight under the leadership of World Cup winner Jack Charlton after previous manager Arthur Cox left in the close-season due to lack of funds from the board for squad strengthening. Hopes of success were high due to the emergence of local youngsters Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne. Waddle and Beardsley had progressed into potential world class forwards under the management ifCox during the promotion campaign of the previous season, Waddle would win international recognition during the season before being sold to Spurs. Newcastle were now without the inspirational former England striker Kevin Keegan, who had retired from playing after the end of the promotion campaign.
After a great start the team slowly drifted down the table, trying to offset this Charlton brought in tall centre forwards George Reilly and Tony Cunningham and changed to a long ball style.