Your Greatest XI
Newcastle United have revealed the club’s greatest ever team as voted for by supporters.
The vote - part of the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations - was run in association with North East title ChronicleLive and the newspaper’s Newcastle United editor, Mark Douglas, has assessed the stellar cast of players selected by fans.
Mark Douglas writing for ChronicleLive…
The votes are in – all 8,000 of them.
We asked Newcastle United fans to vote for their greatest ever side and you rose to the occasion, with selections coming in through our website and paper ballots that were included in the Chronicle and Sunday Sun.
In conjunction with the club, we devised a shortlist and launched the search last month and we can now reveal the team.
It is a star-studded XI that would be a match for most teams in England.
Your Greatest Newcastle United XI
Goalkeeper: Shay Given (83%)
Although every single one of the nominees collected votes, modern day great Given was a clear winner in the goalkeeper department with a whopping 83% of the votes.
One of the all-time leading appearance makers for the club, United fans saw him star in goal for a 12-year period that saw some of Newcastle’s most famous nights.
Although he didn’t win a trophy – one of his greatest regrets, he insists – he was in goal for an FA Cup final and numerous campaigns in the Champions League.
Given was brave, agile and a superb shot stopper. He is a worthy custodian for United’s finest XI.
Other short-listed players: Jimmy Lawrence (6%), Steve Harper (3%), Willie McFaul (5%).
Other players nominated by readers: Ronnie Simpson, Tim Krul, Pavel Srnicek
Right-back: David Craig (33%)
He was the right-back for nearly 20 years at St James’ Park: he is in the top ten in all-time appearances for the Magpies and would be a consistent presence at right-back.
In an era when over-lapping full-backs are in fashion, Craig would provide the balance for an all-time team.
The Northern Ireland defender was one of the greatest to ever pull on black and white.
Other short-listed right-backs: Bill McCracken (19%), Bobby Cowell (14%), Irving Nattrass (18%)
Other players nominated: Warren Barton, Barry Venison, Steve Watson, John Anderson, Danny Simpson
Left-back: John Beresford (52%)
Born in Sheffield but made in Newcastle, Beresford was the left-back during the club’s thrilling ‘Entertainers’ era and is a worthy winner in field packed with greats.
It was a spell when attacking football was at the top of the agenda and Beresford was a forward-thinking full-back who blazed a trail for some of the over-lapping wing-backs we see today.
An outstanding player who was part of a team that came so close to ending the trophy drought.
Other short-listed left-backs: Frank Clark (27%), Alf McMichael (8%), Frank Hudspeth (5%).
Other players nominated: Olivier Bernard, Jose Enrique, Alan Kennedy, Paul Dummett, Robbie Elliott
Centre-back: Bob Moncur (62%)
A true United great. A superb reader of the game whose intelligence on the field means he would not look out of place in today’s game, Moncur was as composed as he was determined.
The last man to lift a major trophy in black and white, he was a leader of men too – a fantastic captain who exuded a quiet authority.
Moncur is an obvious and overwhelming pick for the centre-back slot and would be a strong candidate for the armband of the greatest ever XI.
Centre-back: Phillipe Albert (67%)
Albert made less than 100 appearances for Newcastle but his performances were impressive enough in a very good United side to cement his place in the greatest ever team.
He was a good defender: strong in the air and a commnanding presence at the back. But he will be forever remembered for the elegant chip against Manchester United that capped off the 5-0 defeat that made front page news.
Albert was the most popular choice of the centre-backs, attracting votes from every generation of Newcastle fan.
Other short-listed centre-backs: Jonathan Woodgate (36%), Fabricio Coloccini (18%), Frank Brennan (12%), Ollie Burton (3%).
Other players nominated: Steve Howey, Steven Taylor, Darren Peacock, Jamaal Lascelles, John McGrath, Nikos Dabizas, John McNamee
Midfielder: Peter Beardsley (88%)
A black and white no brainer.
Over two spells for Newcastle that book-ended his career, Beardsley was a superlative attacking midfielder who had balance, brains and scored barnstorming goals for United.
He played almost 300 times in a spell from 1983-87 and 1993-97 – costing £150,000 and £1.5million each time. Rarely can there have been money better spent than that.
Both as a forward and then deeper in midfield as a provider of goals Beardsley excelled.
Our long-serving writer John Gibson reckons he is the greatest player the club has ever had. When you look at some of the players he has beaten to a slot in midfield, he is not far off.
Midfielder: Paul Gascoigne (63%)
‘Gazza’ played three years at St James’ Park at the start of his storied career and they were probably not his best years – but it says everything about how good he was that he is still a deserving recipient of a place in this brilliant XI.
When one of England’s best ever playmakers is born and raised in your city, it is a compelling reason to pick him.
He was simply one of the most creative and imaginative players ever to lace his boots up – a backstreet talent whose ability was clear from the moment he pulled on the black and white of his boyhood club.
Midfielder: David Ginola (48%)
Look at the names Ginola has beaten here: Harvey, Lee, Speed, Green, Rutherford.
As part of the Entertainers era side crafted by Kevin Keegan, Ginola fitted right in: a player who combined grace, speed and strength to devastating effect for a superb Newcastle side.
He could have been playing just about anywhere when United signed him but Keegan’s ambition convinced him. What a marvellous talent.
Other short-listed midfielders: Rob Lee (36%), Gary Speed (33%), Tony Green (10%), Bobby Mitchell (5%), Jack Rutherford (1%), Colin Veitch (3%), Joe Harvey (8%).
Other players nominated: Nobby Solano, Chris Waddle, Yohan Cabaye, Laurent Robert, Cheick Tiote, Jim Smith, Kieron Dyer, Lee Clark
Striker: Alan Shearer (97%)
In the most hotly-contested department, Shearer was streets ahead.
He got more votes than anyone else in the entire poll – hardly a surprise when you look at his incredible goalscoring record.
Not only United’s all-time leading goalscorer (206) but also a captain of distinction too, Shearer was the talisman for Newcastle for a decade.
What’s more, he would have scored more in his beloved black and white if it hadn’t been for the serious injuries that he bounced back from.
The Gosforth-born forward snubbed Manchester United to sign for Newcastle and insists he didn’t regret the decision for a milisecond.
His only regret was not winning a major honour at Newcastle – but being arguably the club’s greatest ever player is a distinction not to be sniffed at.
Striker: Jackie Milburn (61%)
‘Wor Jackie’ is the other obvious choice for a striking berth. Milburn was a three-time FA Cup winner for Newcastle, the spearhead of a truly great United side who were one of the strongest in the country.
An outside-left at first, he was moved into the middle early in his career and flourished. He scored 178 league goals and what surprised opposition defences was his speed.
It says it all that he is still spoken about in revered terms, some 60 years after he hung up his boots.
Striker: Kevin Keegan (36%)
Keegan’s impact as manager was greater than his as a player, but that says more about his managerial magic than it does about his stint as a striker.
48 goals in 78 games, he was the talisman for Newcastle’s promotion bid and returned them to the top flight in 1984.
His impact was immediate and incredible: his charisma as a personality replicated by his ability on the field.
He is a towering figure in the club’s history.
Other short-listed strikers: Les Ferdinand (30%), Malcolm Macdonald (29%), Andy Cole (26%), Hughie Gallacher (12%), Wyn Davies (2%), Len White (3%), George Robledo (1%).
Other players nominated: Tino Asprilla, Shola Ameobi, David Kelly, Mick Quinn, Demba Ba
We extend our sincere thanks to our colleagues at ChronicleLive, to everyone who voted for the Greatest XI and, last but by no means least, each and every player who has proudly represented our great club.