Back in March 1996 Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United side had a 12 point lead over Manchester United inspired by Eric Cantona. Manchester United went on to do their second double within two seasons. But things may have of been different if Newcastle United had been inspired by Les Ferdinand, David Ginola and Peter Beardsley and done the Premier League and FA Cup Double in 1996 I'm going to explain my four points on how if that season went Newcastle United's way. Things in the Premiership may have been different

1. Would Newcastle United have spent £15 million on Alan Shearer if they won the league?

2. Would Kevin Keegan have renewed his contract with Newcastle United if they won the league?

3. What if David Ginola and Les Ferdinand stayed at Newcastle United would have Newcastle United dominated the Premier League for five years or more?

4. Would Newcastle United attract world-class players if they showed Europe how deadly serious they were in the Champions League?

During Euro 96 the major Football news was Alan Shearer going go to Manchester United or Newcastle United. He chose to join his boyhood club, Newcastle United. He joined them for the then world record fee of £15 million to give Newcastle a better chance to win the Premier League in the 1996/97 season, the year before Kevin Keegan could have spent £23.5 million on Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola, but he only chose to spend only £8.5 million on Ginola and Ferdinand.

Newcastle United only scored 66 goals during the season of 95/96 whereas their nearest rivals Manchester United scored 73 goals. If Keegan had spent that extra £15 million on Shearer his Newcastle goal scoring machine (Shearer, Ferdinand and Ginola) would have scored 61 goals between the three of them. If Newcastle won the Premier League in 1996 would Keegan have spent £15 million on Shearer?

The answer to that is probably yes so his Newcastle side could retain the league title and mount a serious challenge in Europe.

Kevin Keegan resigned from his position as the manager of Newcastle United on 8th of January 1997. Halfway through the season when Newcastle were the nearest rivals for Manchester United. If Newcastle won the Premier League in 96, I think that Keegan would have stayed at Newcastle and renewed his contract with the club because he just formed the most electrifying strike force that the Premier league has seen.

Shearer and Ferdinand. But he left his squad halfway through the season and that did have the similar affect the season before when Keegan didn't have his £15million striker. This left Newcastle United board of directors to search for a new manager. The manager that the board of directors chose to follow Keegan was Kenny Dalglish. Newcastle United title ambitions were looking so promising until Keegan left. Football is a game of if's and but's, for Newcastle United and Kevin Keegan it was "if only".

Keegan signed both Les Ferdinand and David Ginola in the summer of 1995 for £8.5million but within two years both Ferdinand and Ginola left Newcastle United to join Tottenham Hotspurs in the summer of 1997.

What if they both stayed at Newcastle with Alan Shearer alongside them dominating Premier League's defences? Taking on the Champions Leagues defences as well? Could Newcastle United be where Arsenal was from 1997 until 2005? Second to Manchester United except for three seasons.

It might have been the Newcastle trio of Shearer, Ferdinand and Ginola that went toe to toe with the best teams in the Champions League. But with Les Ferdinand and David Ginola leaving in the summer of 1997 to play for spurs those Newcastle United dreams of dominating European football for five years were dashed for at least three years when a certain Sir Robert William Robson came to the Newcastle United rescue.

In British football, Newcastle United is and still is a big club even though they hadn't won a trophy since 1969 the UEFA Inter -Cities Fairs Cup.

Newcastle United had to wait until 2002 under Sir Bobby Robson. If the Premier League were allowed to have their top three clubs to qualify for the champions League in 1996, how would Newcastle United faired against the dominating champion's leagues sides like Juventus, Ajax, Real Madrid, Dortmund and Bayern.

Some would say they like Manchester United would have to wait at least two or three years before they done some serious damage in European football. However with the squad that Keegan built in 1995-1997 that was a team that could of won the premier League twice, few F.A. Cup's, Leagues Cup's as well but the Champions League...the verdict on that would be 50/50.

In conclusion Kevin Keegan built a Newcastle side that should have won the Premier League two seasons in the row.But they didn't.

Keegan left Newcastle in a mess but it was a miracle that Dalglish got them so close to the title with his title winning experience both as a player and a manager. Then the future for Newcastle was utterly bleak under Rudd Gulit but the saviour was Sir Bobby Robson who took them to the Champions League and made Newcastle United a very serious club again...If only they were crowned the league champions in May 1996....If Only.