It’s always difficult to piece together a group of players deemed to be the club’s greatest in a certain era. And with Newcastle enjoying many years of success since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, I recognise that I’m bound to spark animosity amongst fans who have every right to disagree with my chosen five.
Nevertheless, I have meticulously researched all the signings over the years and would like to think that I’ve assembled a good combination of players. They vary according to position, age, style, career longevity, attributes and popularity. Perhaps it may help you to look at this as the ultimate Toon five-a-side team, or maybe as the players you wish could be in the upcoming FIFA 13. Either way, I hope this article creates food for thought amongst the Geordie nation.
1. GK – Shay Given (£1.5m in summer 1997)
Having spent over a half of the Premier League era at St James’ Park, Given’s service to the club makes him an obvious choice. Signing the Irishman was arguably Dalglish’s greatest contribution to Newcastle during his ill-fated spell, and we can certainly forgive him for snapping up a player who previously had had a loan spell at Sunderland. Ever reliable and consistent in every aspect of goalkeeping, Given made 344 League appearances in a remarkable Newcastle career.
DF – Philippe Albert (£2.65m in summer 1994)
The nonconformist of North East football, the Belgian “defender” will always be remembered for his tendency to wander forward and join attacks, something rarely seen in the modern day centre back. But then again, there aren’t many teams that have matched the ambitious nature of Keegan’s Entertainers. Despite his Newcastle career being cut short by injury, Albert will forever be a fan favourite in the terraces. Given his invigorating and somewhat refreshing style of play, you’ll be pleased to know that Philippe now runs a very successful fruit and vegetable company in Belgium.
MF – Nobby Solano, (£2.48m in summer 1998 and £1.5m in summer 2005)
The little Peruvian was so good, we decided to sign him twice. Renowned for his excellent crossing and set piece ability, the winger ensured that Shearer and co. had plenty to feed on in the box. He wasn’t afraid of coming inside and finding the net himself either, with 48 goals in 314 games during his two spells on Tyneside.
MF – David Ginola, (£2.5m in summer 1995)
Perhaps a controversial inclusion since Ginola’s Newcastle career lasted only two seasons. Nevertheless, the Frenchmen played an integral part in Keegan’s revolution at the club, with his dribbling abilities terrorising the best of defences. It’s probable that his stay at St James’ Park would have been significantly longer had relations with Dalglish not deteriorated, but that’s something that fans can only speculate. One thing’s for sure, Ginola was one of our best players in our Premier League glory days.
STR – Alan Shearer (£15m in summer 1996)
Need I say much about this fella? Let’s leave it at the greatest Premier League player of all time. Machine. Hero. Legend.