NUFC’s Top Ten Players

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In this blog I shall be sharing my opinion on the top 10 players to have worn the famous Black and White of Newcastle United since the year 1990.

Having recently taken the time to create a 25 man shortlist, I have now achieved a task which proved far harder than I had ever imagined and have whittled it down to just 10. My decision to feature only players which have represented the club since 1990 was one I made out of respect for all previous NUFC legends and was simply down to my own age. I feel that to really judge a player’s ability, actually witnessing them play on a regular basis is a must. This is something I cannot say I have done with all NUFC players pre-1990, and therefore I feel it would be highly unjust of me to even attempt including them in this list.

Now then, let’s get down to business and start that countdown…

10. Shay Given (1997 – 2009)

Having been signed for a bargain £1.5m from Blackburn Rovers in 1997, Shay Given must go down as one of ex-boss Kenny Daglish’s best ever signings. In his 12 year stint on Tyneside, Given would be seen defying the odds with saves of the highest calibre on a weekly basis. For me, Shay isn’t only the best NUFC goalkeeper ever, but he is also one of the best ‘keepers to have ever played in this country.


9. Faustino Asprilla (1996 – 1998)

As a fan, I can honestly say that Tino Asprilla’s hat-trick against Barcelona in the Champions League is a memory that I rank up there with the best. Asprilla may not have played as many games as he would have liked in his time with us, largely down to the superb partnership formed upfront between ‘Sir Les’ and ‘Big Al’ at that time, however when he did play, he’d almost always bring St James’ Park alive with what I can only describe as sheer ability.


8. David Ginola (1995 – 1997)

Why does he make my list?… because he’s worth it! Ginola played for NUFC as part of Kevin Keegan’s ‘The Entertainers’, a team remembered for producing an attacking style of play that done just that, entertain. With the ball at his feet this Frenchman was inspirational to all of those around him and I can’t help but feel that had we of won the league in 1996, he’d of been remembered as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players.


7. Philippe Albert (1994 – 1999)

Will a centre-back ever score a goal as good as our Belgian legend’s sublime chip over Peter Schmeichel? Not likely! In fact, if you disagree then I’d suggest that you stop reading now and leave this site to put on your Sunderland shirt ready for yet another derby day hiding come March 4th. Cool, calm, collected, Philippe Albert was the epitome of composure and quite rightly takes his place among Newcastle’s greatest. “Philippe, Philippe Albert, everyone knows his name!”


6.  Gary Speed (1998 – 2004)

“We can’t replace Gary Speed. Where do you get an experienced player with a left foot and a head?” Now as silly as this quote may sound, if the late Sir Bobby Robson rates you highly enough to describe you as irreplaceable, you’re one hell of a player! A model professional and a gentleman, Speedo will be remembered fondly by not only fans of Newcastle United, but by all fans of the beautiful game. RIP Gary.


5. Robert Lee (1992 – 2002)

When a certain Kevin Keegan dubs you as the “Best midfielder in Britain”, you’d better believe it’s true. During the 1990’s Rob Lee was the heartbeat of Newcastle United. A real midfield dynamo, Lee helped us gain promotion to the Premier League in his very first season as a Toon player. He then went from strength to strength and quickly became a crucial component in a team that many fans, including myself, would describe as the best NUFC team we’ve ever had.


4. Nolberto Solano (1998 – 2004 + 2005 – 2007)

Coming in at no.4, I give you our former dead ball specialist, Nobby Solano. When this little Peruvian was on the pitch it was never a matter of if a chance would come, but when a chance would come.  He is what I would describe as the perfect wide man. Simply put, if you’re a striker and you have a player like this in your team, you’re going to score goals.


3. Les Ferdinand (1995 – 1997)

What can you say about ‘Sir Les’? Having joined the club at the start of our famous 1995-96 season, our new no.9 was coming into what was already a fantastic Newcastle United team, yet he still managed to be a stand out player. He grabbed an astonishing 29 goals in his first season and although that wasn’t quite enough to clinch the title, it did earn him legendary status within Toon.


2. Alan Shearer (1996 – 2006)

Following on from a great striker, I give you the greatest. As you all know, ‘Big Al’ is the Premier League’s all time leading goal scorer with an outstanding 260 goals, a feat that I personally believe will never be matched. Turning down a move to Manchester United in order to sign for us made him somewhat of an instant hero to most of us fans, but it was the goals he scored during his time here on Tyneside that really made him the NUFC icon that he is today. Our greatest ever no.9?


1. Peter Beardsley (1983 – 1987 + 1993 – 1997)

It may seem rather controversial to many of you that I have Peter ‘The Great’ coming in at no.1 above that man Alan Shearer, however, for me he was simply untouchable while wearing our famous Black and White. He was the ultimate footballer and my boyhood idol. Growing up watching this man was truly an honour, he made the game beautiful and, to me, he is unquestionably Newcastle United’s greatest player within the modern era.


So there you have it, my list of top ten NUFC players since 1990 is complete. It goes without saying that many of you will disagree with me in one way or another and that is perfectly fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, if you would all be kind enough to spend the next 4 minutes and 46 seconds watching the following video I would appreciate it greatly.

Lads and lasses, I give you the man I believe to be Newcastle United’s greatest player since the 1990’s, Peter ‘The Great’ Beardsley…

101 thoughts on “NUFC’s Top Ten Players

  1. GARY, Cole had a lot more to his game than just relying on others to score goals.
    His pace was electric and the way he turns on a sixpence in the box was amazing, plus he scored a good few crackers as well.

    Tino was more skill full but Cole was far more deadly.


  2. Good read gary again ,really loved the video too, got quite moved by it . I’m an oldie so mine would have Chris waddle , Keegan and Gazza too . But my no .1 would be Shearer simply because i love a goal scorer and no one will ever come near him imo. If you looked up the epitome of a professional footballer it would say Shearer . I do agree though Peter was something special. Big shout for Supermac too if only for the hattrick against the bindippers 😆


  3. Wolfie @76 – Gotta agree having seen him at Bristol city ,you could see even then ,what a player he would be.


  4. Gary you are bang on. Beardsley is head and shoulders the best all-round player I have seen ever witnessed playing. He had the full repertoire of shots, passes that could rip a defence to pieces and although he didn’t do the ‘elastico’ style trickery of a Ronaldo, he could cut through three or four defenders with his close control and the Beardsley shuffle (kind of swivelling the hips, for the youngsters). If he lost the ball he would often run 40 yards to try and get it back, and he wasn’t afraid to get stuck in either. He also clearly inspired the players around him too. A true professional and never seemed to get quite the full recognition he truly deserved really.


  5. I agree with the top 10 more or less but their is 1 player that maybe should be in that list . Although he did not play a vast amount of games for us and not 1 in the premiership the guy was the bedrock on which the Entertainers era was built . Keegan even said he was his best ever signing and the guy saved us from dropping into England’s 3 tier of football Kevin Kilcline . The guy was one of the most fearsome CB’s to play for us .


  6. @gary

    I personally didn’t see Speed as a defensive midfield player, more box to box, speed was magical at times a real honest player who gave heart in every performance, but for defensive midfield capabilities Tiote is the best I have seen for us, along with Batty, Tiote runs around the pitch like a lion, he honestly strikes fear into opponents, a lot of pundits say Makalele was the best and always refer to that role as ‘the makalele role’ but for me Tiote is even better


  7. I’d still have to put Big Al above pedro, with Speedo and Nobby thrown in a bit higher. Not so sure about Asprilla really, possibly the best hatrick in NUFC history but a top 10 player? Hmm, I’d probably have Robert…although its kind of the same thing..


  8. Oh christ yeah…I didn’t even realise Cole wasn’t in there. He’d have to be above Asprilla and Les for me… 😯


  9. Good shout putting Speedo in there mate. Bit of an unsung hero. Fantastic pro and scored a few crackers for us 🙂 Nice list. 😀


  10. Gary-I think its just that Les rarely had “time to shine” as it were, he was always in the shadow of Shearer, and he just a less ability. Cole on the other hand fired us to promotion and then almost to the top of the league. 44 or some league goals in a season is immense, and I honestly think if we’d kept him we may well have won the league 😥


  11. I mean obviously Les had a great first season, and was a star in some results in our second like thrashing tottenham but I just sort of forgot about him after Shearer came in….bit harsh like but call it the fickleness of youth 😉


  12. NEWKIE – Your thinking makes perfect sense. However, Cole would have been in Shearers shadow too. For me, it’s very rare that you get two strikers both scoring goals and performing well as a partnership without one taking away from the other. So the fact that Sir Les was able to play a long side the Premier League’s greatest ever striker and still put in top notch perfornances week in week out is a real testament to just how good he was.

    Many other strikers would have crumbled playing with Shearer, just look what it’s done to Shola!


  13. peter beardsley- number 1 any day, in fact, you ask liverpool, everton fans the same thing, 9 out of 10 will have the little genius in thier teams too.. just hope he unearths a couple of gems in the youth set ups!!


  14. Not much more to add to that top 10.
    Beardsley for me, best my a million miles.
    Rob Lee, amazing and consistent.
    Ginola, sheer class.
    Shearer and Ferdinand speaks for itself.
    Tino Asprilla I would prob change for Colocinni.

    Kieran Dyer and David Batty? are people for real???

    Some maybe not so great players since 1990 that helped shape our club by either goals, performances or consistency that will always go along way in my memories…

    Pavel Srnicek
    Gavin Peacock
    David Kelly
    Nikos Dabizas

    and not forgetting Liam O’Brien and Andy O’Brien……..


  15. Hbkvic@95, Ah spot on peacock was cushdy nick the greek great and the obrians were mackam killers.
    And I agree batty ! Good goal against wimbledon tho and dyer nah average with pace .
    As for colo I pray he stays he has the potential to be a true legend for the toon .


  16. Ginola’s the best player I’ve seen in black and white. Outrageously talented and used to eviscerate RBs all over the land.

    Special mention for David Kelly too, a pure goalscorer who played a huge part in first keeping us up and then getting us promoted. Cheers Ned!


  17. Nice one Gary, well thought out and appreciated. I missed this one. You need to have a word with Uncle Toons over story placement. Shit loads of real good posts fall by the wayside on here.

    In my own opinion, there’s no need for more than two stories a day. The banter is always there, regardless. We all watch Newsnow anyway.


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