Newcastle's early season form was erratic on their return to English football's top tier, with thrashings of Aston Villa and local rivals Sunderland and exceptional away victories at Everton and Arsenal offset by home defeats against Blackpool, Blackburn and Stoke.
After a win over Arsenal sent Newcastle to fifth in the league, the team went on a winless run that ended in the controversial sacking of manager Chris Hughton. The club swiftly appointed Alan Pardew, last of third-tier Southampton, although Newcastle fans were suspicious due to alleged links with the club's unpopular owners. Despite the club's form still being reasonable, the owner's unpopularity increased after the transfer deadline day sale of local hero Andy Carroll for £35 million to Liverpool. The club posted one of the league's most incredible results, drawing 4–4 draw with Arsenal at St. James' Park after being 4–0 down at half-time.
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