It looked for all the world that the Magpies would cruise to the title when they held a 12-point lead after Christmas, but it was whittled away by Sir Alex Ferguson's men, who recorded what would prove to be a crucial 1-0 victory at St James' Park in March.
Kevin Keegan may have won the race to sign Alan Shearer that summer, but during the Charity Shield, the Red Devils ran out 4-0 victors in the London rain. If anything, it appeared that the gap between the two sides had grown wider during the pre-season break.
However, Newcastle proved that they were still a force to be reckoned with when United visited Tyneside on this very day 17 years ago.
The hosts went into the contest top of the table and with 12 minutes on the clock the deadlock was broken, albeit in controversial circumstances.
Centre-back Darren Peacock's scuffed volley beat Peter Schmeichel, but it appeared that Denis Irwin had hacked the ball clear off the line. The linesman, though, had a different viewpoint and a goal was awarded.
Up the other end Karel Poborsky felt that he should have had a penalty, but soon after the home side doubled their advantage. David Ginola was too strong for Gary Neville on the edge of the area and having created space for himself, the Frenchman then unleashed a curling effort beyond Schmeichel's reach.
The next goal in this contest was always going to be crucial and it was Newcastle who claimed it with 63 minutes on the clock. Shearer, who had turned down United to join his boyhood club, crossed from the right for strike partner Ferdinand, who headed in via the underside of the crossbar.
Then it was Shearer's turn in the 75th minute, as he was in the right place at the right time to score from close range after Schmeichel had thwarted both Peter Beardsley and Ferdinand.
Finally, with seven minutes left to play, the Newcastle cake was well and truly iced. Defender Philippe Albert had ventured forward and as the United defence parted in front of him, the Belgian advanced, before lifting the ball over a helpless Schmeichel with a chipped effort from 25 yards out.
It was a famous afternoon for all connected with Newcastle, but it still didn't inspire them to overhaul United come May. Ferguson's side would end the campaign as champions again - seven points ahead of the Toon Army.
NEWCASTLE: Srnicek; Watson (Barton, 87), Beresford, Albert, Peacock; Batty, Lee (Clark, 87), Beardsley, Ginola; Shearer, Ferdinand
MAN UNITED: Schmeichel; Neville, Irwin, May, Pallister; Poborsky (McClair, 66), Beckham, Johnsen (Scholes 66), Butt; Solskjaer (Cruyff, 56), Cantona