The Five Greatest Newcastle Players of the Premier League Era

  1. Shay Given
    Shay Given

    Shay Given

Goalkeepers hardly ever get the recognition they deserve. For some reason, the position doesn’t seem to be as highly valued as outfield positions despite the fact that games can be won and lost by crucial intervention from goalies. Newcastle have been pretty well stocked in the ‘keeper area during the Premier era, but Given was the pick of the bunch serving the club for ten years.

Signed by Dalglish from Blackburn Rovers as a young goalkeeper, Shay developed into one of the league’s finest. Even though, between the sticks, he didn’t look particularly tall, he wasn’t small and had no difficulty taking crosses or commanding his area. He was accomplished in every goalkeeping department. A decent kicker with either foot, his distribution was good. Quick off his line and razor sharp reflexes, Given was top class. Perhaps his greatest attribute though was his shot stopping. His agility was amazing allowing him to reach shots that would have beaten many other goalkeepers.

His loyalty also played a part in my selection, staying on at Newcastle for a decade despite the club falling dramatically from grace whilst he was there. The recession of Newcastle following the Robson days hurt Given badly. He loved the club and to see it crumble eventually forced Given to reluctantly head for pastures new as he knew Newcastle could no longer provide him with the opportunities to win things he so dearly craved. The moment I realised Shay would leave was when Liverpool thumped a desperate Newcastle at St. James’ Park 5-1 back in December 2008. Given made a series of exceptional saves during the match and the dejection on his face was clear as the men in front of him left him so horribly exposed. He soon departed for Manchester City.

At his best for Newcastle, Given was right up there with the top three goalkeepers in the league. Newcastle did well to hold onto him for so long. He was dedicated, hardworking and influential. Newcastle let him down in the end, failing to match his ability and ambition. Shay was a brilliant goalkeeper and keeps a lot of excellent players out of my top five.


They may not have made my top five but I have to mention a couple of players who almost made the list.

Sir Les Ferdinand; keeping Les out was painfully difficult as he was one of my favourite ever players. The best header of a ball I’ve ever seen, Ferdinand was a machine. His pace and power was phenomenal and he was only kept out of my top five by the great Alan Shearer.

Tino Asprilla; possibly the most gifted player to ever pull on the black & white jersey. Tino could do things with a football other footballers could only dream about. He was an amazing player, who was also totally bonkers. On his day, as Barcelona found out, Asprilla was unplayable. The Colombian became a bit of a cult hero on Tyneside. If you are a young Toon fan, get on youtube and check him out…he was amazing.

95 thoughts on “The Five Greatest Newcastle Players of the Premier League Era

  1. So we have signed a keeper who is supposed to be very good and look like signing Gayle and Ritchie. Now can anyone explain to me who Ritchie is as I am assuming he can’t get in the Bournemouth team which might bother me if that is the case…



    Stu – Matt Ritchie did that against the scum mate. He plays week in week out for Bmouth and I believe recently signed a new deal with them – so I was surprised that they would let him go. West Ham recently went in for him too, but obviously didn’t meet Bmouths valuation.


  3. Just reading that the Gayle fee is £8.5m as well. There will be a further million paid if he scores 20 plus goals and a further million if we get promoted.
    I reckon that’s a pretty decent deal personally.


  4. W/Ham wanted to sign two of their players but got knocked back,so bid a maximum 8mil for Richie which was knocked back,looks like toon bid up to 12 mil which was accepted


  5. Ice – I think our central defence has missed a physical presence for a long time now – Hanley would certainly provide that. He’s far from technically gifted, but then neither is the likes of Huth & Morgan and they haven’t done too bad.
    Id take him mate, coz at 24 I think he’s young enough to develop a bit as well.


  6. I think there’s still a chance Townsend will stay – unless he fancies playing left back. Would love pardew getting the england job.
    Watched the vids of the new goalie – seems like he never catches the ball, it’s all parries and push outs. Not sure on that one but looks like Rafa fancies him as No1. Richie’s a decent alternative to Townsend.


  7. I know we have signed a goal keeper and looking like gayle from palace and townsend likely going the other way but our problem last season was defending so when are we going to see defeners come through the door


  8. Well I for one will miffed if Pards gets his mitts on Andros. Why would Andros wanna play under him instead of Rafa, especially considering how much their form dropped off last season under Pards.

    Not sure about Gayle or Richie, will reserve judgement on them until I have seen them 5 or 6 games in. Got to agree with Billy, we need defenders in.


  9. Sharpy , that Farage link you posted, saw bit of it on the news. How to win friends and influence people lesson obviously passed him by. #tosser


  10. Sharpy17: Andy – I’m amazed his dad hasn’t featured on the shortlist yet to be honest mate.

    I’ve defo heard Jamie raving about Roy’s credentials as England manager over the last 4 years though.Then he fails & pretty boy jumps all over him.

    Sharpy: they all did it man. I know they could have been accused of being unpatriotic if they had said too much but they never questioned any of his stupid decisions. They all approved of him taking out of form and injured players, not taking any wingers, trying untested formations in the tournament and allowing Rooney to dictate where he played. Some, like Keown, actively supported these decisions and wrote columns explaining why it was better to take Wilshere and Henderson rather than Drinkwater and Barkley rather than Townsend. Now they are all acting like they never said it.

    The tabloids are even worse. They all have their knives out now. They are a bunch of winps. They all saw the writing on the wall but said nothing. Maybe it is editorial policy but there are all these stories about discontent within the camp coming out now.


  11. Big Dave:
    SRF Good read mate and I would have them all in my top team, the only thing that annoys me about this type article is that it makes you think back to how good we were.
    I don’t think we’ll ever get back to there, but I think under Rafa with proper backing we could get close.
    As for Townsend I would be amazed if he even thought about going to Palace , I think he will be playing for us this season.

    Cheers Big Dave, I think Palace may well be relegation candidates next season and that might put Andros off as he won’t want to go through that again. Thanks for your comments Icedog too, you can go back a bit can’t you? Hopefully we’ll have a great season to look forward to.


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