In any conversation about football, names like Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, and David Ginola will come up, and for good reason. Newcastle United’s roster has hosted some of the greatest stars of the Premier League over the years.
Now, it’s fair to say that the current iteration of Newcastle hasn’t had a great few years and currently they aren’t having a great run of form. They are still far off their former highs with 5000/1 odds on topping the Premier League. Still though, with Oddschecker offering free bets you can dare to dream; stranger things have happened.
In the meantime, let’s look back at some of the greatest NUFC players of all time.
Shay Given: 1997 – 2009
Goalkeepers are often some of the most underrated players on the pitch, so we thought we’d start this list off with one of the best shot-stoppers to have ever stood between the posts at St. James’ Park.
Shay Given racked up 463 appearances in both league and cup games for Newcastle, beating out other massively talented goalkeepers such as Pavel Srníček, Shaka Hislop and Steve Harper to consistently become the first name on the team sheet.
On the international stage, Given has become a legend in the Republic of Ireland team, racking up more international caps than anyone else in the club’s history. Unfortunately, he left the club in 2009 after some tension between him and Mike Ashley.
Jimmy Lawrence: 1904 – 1922
Another keeper, Jimmy Lawrence, has to make this list on the back of the fact that he is Newcastle United’s record appearance holder, having played in 498 games during his stint at the club between 1904 and 1922.
His shot-stopping skills were such that he spent an unbelievable 14 seasons as the club’s first-choice keeper and was part of a fantastic Edwardian side that won three Championship medals.
Bill McCracken: 1904 – 1923
McCracken (and before you ask, no, he did not have a brother called Phil) was part of the same dominant Edwardian side as Lawrence. He was so instrumental in changing the way defenders used the offside rule as well as developing the offside trap that he forced a rethink of the rules by football’s governing body.
They actually changed the rules in 1925, just after McCracken retired, having spent a colossal 19 seasons at the club.
Peter Beardsley: 1983 – 1987 and 1993 – 1997
Widely recognised as one of the best English players of all time, Peter Beardsley held 59 England caps and scored an amazing 119 goals in just 326 appearances as a midfielder for Newcastle United.
He was most famous for his consistently splendid placements, clockwork precision timing, and the ability to dribble rings around other players.
Paul Gascoigne: 1985 – 1988
Another English great to come out of St. James’ Park, Gazza spent three amazing years at the professional level for the Magpies having joined the youth team as a schoolboy. A natural talent and truly amazing footballer, Gazza would go on to have a huge role in the England team under Sir Bobby Robson.
David Ginola: 1995 – 1997
Another amazingly talented midfielder, David Ginola brought French flair and French hair to the famous ‘Entertainers’ team that played for the club in the mid-90s. Having joined the Magpies from Paris Saint-Germain at the urging of Kevin Keegan, Ginola went on to dance his way past defenders for another two years.
Gary Speed: 1998 – 2004
A Welsh midfield legend, Gary Speed was eventually promoted to captain of the Welsh team during his time as a Newcastle United player. The consummate all-rounder, Speed racked up 285 appearances in both league and cup games for the Magpies and scored a total of 40 goals.
Andrew Cole: 1993 – 1995
Andrew ‘Andy’ Cole was a lynchpin in the side that eventually got Newcastle promoted to the Premier League in 1993.
Not content to sit on his laurels, Cole went on to score 41 of the goals that propelled the Magpies into a 3rd place finish during their first Premier League season and setting a club record as he did it.
A true St. James’ Park legend.
Les Ferdinand: 1995 – 1997
Les Ferdinand was easily one of the best strikers in English football during the 1990s. He combined a tall and powerful physique with a commanding presence and power on the ball alongside a steely composition and a deft touch that led to him scoring 50 goals in just 83 games.
Hughie Gallacher 1925 – 1930
Hughie Gallacher is an excellent example of why being a little on the small side doesn’t stop you from being a world-class footballer. ‘Wee Hughie’ as he was called, might have only stood at a diminutive 5’5” tall, but that didn’t stop him from blasting home an astounding 133 goals in just 160 appearances.
During the 1926/27 season he was both the team captain of a title-winning team and personally contributed to it by thumping home 39 goals in 41 games.
Kevin Keegan 1982 -1984
Kevin Keegan gets the double. First, for becoming one of football’s best-known stars during his time as a player at St. James’ Park, becoming European Footballer of the Year and leading the Magpies back to Division One. Secondly, for being the manager that put together and managed the famous ‘Entertainers’ team of the ‘90s.
George Robledo 1949 – 53
Chilean international George Robledo made his mark at St. James’ Park by becoming the first non-British player to become the top scorer in England. Wicked fast and with an eye for a quick goal, Robledo was a key part of the team that secured consecutive FA Cup Trophies in both 1951 and 1952.
Alan Shearer 1996 – 2006
No list of Magpies greats is ever going to be complete without the man himself, Alan Shearer. Shearer was always all about breaking records. In order to bring him to the club, Newcastle broke the world transfer record in 1996, but that investment was soon paid off as Shearer scored 206 goals, narrowly beating out ‘Wor Jackie’ Milburn’s record.