As Newcastle continue to fight for survival this season, many fans see a crucial January signing as the best form of escape.

What better way than to solve your woes in front of goal than by signing a 20-goal a season striker?

But the reality is a truly game-changing January signing is a very rare occurrence.

Of course, some fantastic players in Newcastle’s history have been bought during the month. Fan favourites such as Jonathan Woodgate, Keith Gillespie and Ruel Fox were all mid-season signings.

But not many ever manage to immediately change the trajectory of a season first time around.

Perhaps this is why Newcastle are currently reluctant to buy despite current circumstances. They know one big player is unlikely to come and save the day.

Recent January purchases over the last decade show even great players can’t guarantee survival.

Kevin Nolan will be remembered for his fantastic Premier League season with Newcastle in 2010/11, where he scored 12 goals.

(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

But Nolan was originally bought in January 2009, the year Newcastle were first relegated from the PL.

Jonjo Shelvey was also a winter signing designed to save Newcastle’s season in 2016, but he also saw relegation that year.

Both went on to have successes with the Toon, but both failed to save the club in their debut season.

So on which occasions did a January signing have an immediate impact?

The rare instances a January signing has changed the course of a season has usually been when Newcastle have been climbing to the top of table, not escaping the bottom.

In the last three decades, a January signing has only defined Newcastle’s season on three occasions.

The few immediate impacts

Papiss Cisse 2012

Signed from SC Freiburg in 2012 for £9.3m, Cisse became a fan favourite at St James’ Park in an instant.

Newcastle bought the Senegalese striker to be their new number nine, and the striker more than fit the bill.

He scored 13 goals in 14 games for Newcastle in his debut season, and is arguably one of the Premier League’s greatest January signings.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

His goals helped Newcastle finish fifth and secure famous wins against Liverpool and Chelsea.

The latter of course featured two phenomenal strikes, one of which will go down in history.

Cisse’s banana strike from 35 yards out capped off a season filled with goals fit for any highlight reel.

Although the rest of his Newcastle career could never quite match his debut, it’s this half a season he will be remembered for.

Without him, Newcastle would not have reached the 2012/13 Europa League.

 

He’s probably one of the only January signings in recent history to make an instant impact.

Andy Cole 1993

Before Papiss Cisse replicated the feat, another striking sensation shook the Toon in February 1993.

Newcastle were leaders of Division One by Christmas that year, and were looking for the final push to reach the Premier League.

Andy Cole was that push.

Signed from Bristol City for a club record of £1.75m, Cole scored 12 goals in 12 games in his debut season.

The Toon cruised to the Division One title and took the Premier League by storm the next year under Kevin Keegan.

(Photo by Allsport UK/Getty Images)

Although Newcastle were arguably heading to the title anyway, Cole was undeniably pivotal at the end of the season.

Between the end of January and February 1993, Newcastle had went on a six match win-less run.

Their title was under threat, but Cole came along and scored 11 goals in the last ten games of the season.

Those goals helped Newcastle win seven of their final ten matches.

It’s fair to say that Cole was instrumental in getting the Toon over the line.

Brian ‘Killer’ Kilcline 1992

Brian Kilcline only just missed out on Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’ era and so is perhaps not remembered as fondly as he deserves.

Kilcline was Kevin Keegan’s first signing for Newcastle in February 1992 at a very difficult time for the club.

The Toon were in a relegation battle in the Second Division, and Keegan was brought in to replace struggling manager Ossie Ardiles.

Newcastle signed Kilcline and immediately made him club captain, providing defensive stability and leadership.

‘Killer’ had tremendous aerial ability and was harsh in the tackle, towering above opponents at 6’4.

Keegan claimed to The Sun, that Kilcline was ‘the best signing’ he ever made for Newcastle, and that he ‘helped turn the club around’.

The maverick defender certainly did just that, as Newcastle narrowly avoided relegation that season.

A lot of this was down to Kilcline’s leadership and dirty work in defence.

Kilcline remains a cult hero and was the saviour of the club that season.

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