In Focus: Newcastle's Premier League legends from Shearer to Shola

Sean Wilson
No player symbolises Newcastle in the Premier League era more than goal machine Alan Shearer
No player symbolises Newcastle in the Premier League era more than goal machine Alan Shearer

Newcastle have experienced lofty peaks and deep troughs in the Premier League era — but they have rarely been short of talented stars.

The Magpies finished second in 1996 and 1997, at the peak of their successful mid-90s period under Kevin Keegan and, briefly, Kenny Dalglish.

And the good times look set to return to St James' Park under the club's new owners, as Newcastle's next generation of stars bid to surpass the achievements of their predecessors.

LiveScore takes a look at five of the Tynesiders' greatest players over the past 30 years.

Alan Shearer

Newcastle's — and arguably the Premier League's — greatest ever player is unquestionably Alan Shearer.

The division's all-time top scorer netted 148 of his 260 Premier League goals for his boyhood side — over 100 more than anyone else in the club's modern history.

Wayne Rooney is the only other player to have scored at least 200 times in England's top flight, but remains 52 strikes behind the Geordie.

Shearer is also Newcastle's second-highest appearance-maker since 1992, with 303 league games for the club.

The only gap in his significant contribution at St James' Park is a Premier League winner's medal, having managed to lift the title with Blackburn before his homecoming.

Alan Shearer's goal record for Newcastle was simply sensational
Alan Shearer's goal record for Newcastle was simply sensational

Shay Given

The only man to play more often for Newcastle in the Premier League than Shearer — and the only other member of the Magpies' 300 club — is Shay Given.

The Irish goalkeeper made 354 top-flight appearances for the Tynesiders over a 12-year spell, before leaving to join Manchester City in 2009.

He won an Intertoto Cup with Newcastle two-and-a-half years before his departure, having fallen at the final hurdle in the 1998 FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Given — who is the Republic of Ireland's second-most capped player — was a virtual ever-present in the side for his first nine seasons, before sharing playing time with Steve Harper in his final three campaigns.

Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand spent a prolific two seasons at Newcastle between 1995 and 1997, scoring 41 Premier League goals in that memorable spell.

His lethal partnership with Shearer fired the Magpies to back-to-back second-place finishes — their biggest achievements over the last three decades.

Ferdinand's first season was particularly successful, with the striker netting 25 times in the league and registering 29 in all competitions.

He is a respected figure on Tyneside and is affectionately referred to as 'Sir Les' by the club's fans.

Les Ferdinand enjoyed two highly successful seasons in the North East
Les Ferdinand enjoyed two highly successful seasons in the North East

Rob Lee

Rob Lee joined Newcastle in 1992 and remained a key figure in their side for the best part of a decade.

The goalscoring midfielder fondly remembers the club's mid-90s period, in which they were dubbed 'The Entertainers'.

He said: "It was a unique team if you think about it. Nobody usually remembers who finished second in the league in years gone by, just the champions. People know who were runners-up in 1996.

"That is a testament to the way we played and how many people liked us. It was a testament to how Kevin [Keegan] wanted to play the game.

"I still get people coming up to me now in the street and they aren't Newcastle fans. They want to talk about 'The Entertainers'. It's nice, they say: 'I used to love watching Newcastle back then.'"

Shola Ameobi

Academy graduate Shola Ameobi spent 14 years with Newcastle's first team between 2000 and 2014 — even sticking with the club following their relegation to the Championship in 2009.

The Nigerian striker ranks third for both Premier League goals and appearances in a black and white shirt, with 43 and 294, respectively.

Ameobi burst on to the scene as a teenager in Shearer's latter years and never came close to replicating the legendary Englishman's scoring record.

However, his seven strikes in 16 Tyne-Wear derby appearances against Sunderland cemented his cult hero status.


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