Newcastle United may be one of the world’s richest football clubs at the moment after the Saudi-Arabian backed consortium £305 million takeover, but the Magpies have always been a club steeped and tradition in English football history and they have had some of the best players don the famous white and black jersey. But who has been the greatest of them all?
October 7th, 2021, was a day to savour for all connected with Newcastle United. It began the start of a new era, a new dawn, a brand-new chapter in the club’s 128-year history.
The Magpies are now estimated to be one of the richest football clubs in the world after the Saudi-Arabian backed consortium, featuring the Public Investment Fund, who have a predicted total net worth of £320 billion along with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, officially completed the much-anticipated £305 million takeover.
The Toon Army has been blessed with some extraordinary players over the years. The club has been a member of the Premier League for all but three years of the competition’s history, spending 89 seasons in the top flight as of May 2021, and have never dropped below English football’s second tier since joining the Football League in 1893.
Newcastle has won four League titles, six FA Cups, and a FA Charity Shield, as well as the 1968–69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup, the ninth highest total of trophies won by an English club.
No doubt whittling it down to just ten names is a very difficult feat, but without further ado here are the ten greatest footballers in the history of Newcastle United Football Club…
10) Bill McCracken
Belfast-born, Bill McCracken was the most influential player that Newcastle United has ever produced. A formidable competitor, Bill was described as alert with the ability to tackle, leap, air and head the ball well. He made an excellent start in the famous black & white jersey and became famous as a master in the use of the offside trap.
In a 19-year relationship with the club, McCracken helped Newcastle to win 3 League Championships and 3 FA Cup finals as well. He is one of only nine players to pass the 400 appearances mark for United. Had it not been in the war years, he would have easily crossed the 600 mark.
9) Rob Lee
London-born, Rob Lee joined Newcastle United in 1992 and was one of Keegan’s prestigious signings. Lee was a quality player and could score goals as a midfielder. In 1992-93, after joining midway through the season, he helped the Magpies to promotion to the newly-formed Premier League, where they secured third place and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
He was the backbone of the team and his importance for the club continued to grow as Lee became a mainstay of his Era which saw Keegan’s side finishing back-to-back Premier League runners-up. The midfielder has appeared in more than 700 matches and scored 105 goals among all competitions.
8) Chris Waddle
Nicknamed “Magic Chris”, Waddle was one of the most renowned names in the history of football. Played as a winger and attacking midfielder, Chris has made more than 650 appearances and scored 126 goals across all competitions.
During his playing career, which lasted for 20 years, he played for various clubs, including Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Marseille, and Sheffield United.
In one of the games in the top flight, he scored an incredible hat-trick for Newcastle against Queen’s Park Rangers, which is one of the memorable moments of his scintillating career. Soon after he arrived in football, Waddle became a global superstar and the most destructive midfielder that the world could have ever asked for.
7) Nolberto Solano
Popularly known as ‘Nobby Solano’, had an enriching career in football. Nolberto made his first breakthrough at Sporting Cristal, one of the greatest clubs of Peru, and after a brief spell at Deportivo, won three league titles on the trot as well as reaching the finals of the Copa Libertadores.
In 1998, Nobby became the first-ever Peru-born footballer to play in the Premier League when he was sold to Newcastle United for £2.4 million. He spent some amazing time in the white & black jersey and helped Newcastle reach the FA Cup final. Solano was known for his terrific techniques, consistency, crossing ability and has given a lot of matching winning performances for his respective clubs. Nobby spent a lot of time in the field of football… but when he is not playing football, he’s playing music. He is a trained trumpet player, and has even set up a salsa band named, “The Geordie Latinos”.
6) Hughie Gallacher
With an astounding 143 goals in around 170 appearances, Gallacher was one of the classic inter-war football players. Hughie was considered the most profound center-forward of all time. He was sold to Newcastle for £6500 in 1925, where he had spent splendid 5 years and helped his team winning the League Championship in 1926-27.
The Scottish-born holds the record for scoring 36 goals in just 38 games for Everton in a single season. After his retirement, he worked in several roles, including sports anchoring. In 1957, Hughie took his own life which shook the entire world of football and the incident was quite dreadful for all the football fans.
5) Jackie Milburn
Jackie, who was born into a family of conventional footballers, scored around 170 goals in 354 appearances for Newcastle United and led the team to the FA Cup Championship in 1951, 1952, and 1955. He holds a marvelous record for scoring the only two goals in the finals of the FA Cup in 1951 and 1955, respectively.
Popularly known as ‘Wor Jackie’, represented the English national team between 1948 and 1956, netting 10 goals for his nation. After saying goodbye to football in 1956, he served as a manager at Ipswich Town for a year (1963-64). Later he became a sports anchor at the ‘News of the World’.
4) Paul Gascoigne
Born in Dunston in 1967, popularly known as ‘The Gazza’ was one of the sensational players in the 1980’s and 90’s. Paul made his debut for Newcastle United in the year 1985. By 1988, he was named as the PFA Young Player of the Season and was part of the PFA Team of the Year as well, having shown resilience and great character in the field. He was a player who in several instances took the game away from the opposition on his own, a brilliant box-to-box midfielder.
Paul was his own worst enemy, as he met with a lot of injuries and niggles during his peak career which was quite disheartening for him as well as for the football fans. He was truly a unique talent that the world could have asked for and there’s no doubt that he made a wholehearted impression on all the fans who watched him play.
3) Shay Given
Shay Given was considered as a brick wall during his playing career. Shay was sold to Newcastle United for a fee of £1.5 million and then became the first-choice keeper for the club. He made a dream debut for Newcastle where helped his team win 2-1 against Sheffield. Given played a crucial role in the team to help Newcastle reach the Finals of the FA Cup in 1998 and 1999, respectively, and was named in the Premier League Team of the Season in the year 2001-02 as well as in 2005-06.
He made staggering 451 appearances and kept 113 clean sheets in that period. In 2016, Shay became Ireland’s longest-serving player as he eclipsed Johnny Giles’ record of 19 years and 200 days and became the first-ever Irishman to play more than 20 years for his nation.
2) Kevin Keegan
Joseph Kevin Keegan is a veteran footballer and manager. A brilliant forward player, he played for multiple clubs including Newcastle United, Liverpool, Southampton, and Hamburger SV. Keegan was simply the superstar of the ’70s, the Yorkshire-born striker had an amazing time whenever he stepped on the field of football. Two UEFA Cups, 3 League titles, a European Cup and FA Cup, and a tally of 100 goals: the number seven left the footballing world with a lot of magical memories.
Although he played for just 2 years at Newcastle, Kevin showed a lot of commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and zeal to win as many games as he can for his team.
In 1992, Keegan returned to football as a manager of Newcastle United, and a year later, the Newcastle boys had an amazing season as they finished 3rd in the Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Cup, bringing European football to the club for the first time since 1970.
1. Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer is regarded as one of the greatest No. 9s in the history of the game and is widely renowned for his spells with Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers. He was also recognized as a quality penalty taker for both club and country, and he scored 45 times for Newcastle United. Alan held the record for scoring astonishing 11 hat tricks for Rovers and Newcastle. Alan has been inducted as the Premier League’s highest goalscorer, having netted more than 250 goals across 14 seasons.
In 1966, Shearer made his Premier League debut for Newcastle, and maintained his terrific form throughout the season, finishing as League top scorer with 25 astounding goals in just 31 matches for the 3rd season on the trot.
During his 14 years long career, he received a plethora of awards. He was awarded the PFA player of the year in 1995, followed by the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1996. The ‘Striker’ was one of 2 players inducted into the Premier League Hall of the Fame in 2021.
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