A strange season for the North Easterners. They enjoyed glorious cup runs in the domestic trophies (finalists in both the FA and Coca Cola Cups), but suffered disappointing league form, leaving them struggling to avoid relegation. An upturn in form galvanised by the steel of returning captain Nigel Pearson in February and March seemed to have lifted them away from the drop zone and wiped out the three point penalty. However, as things got tighter at the bottom, they found themselves dropping down again despite the form of Juninho and goal-scoring of Ravanelli and Beck. A guaranteed nail-biter.