Newcastle United have had some great players since the Premier League began back in 1992 and I have set out, in my opinion, the best starting XI in the Magpies’ history.
Goalkeeper – Shay Given
Newcastle have had their fair share of quality keepers over the years but there is one player who stands head and shoulders above the rest, that being former Republic of Ireland international Shay Given.
Playing for the Magpies form 1997-2009, Given is fourth in the club’s all-time appearance makers in all competitions, featuring no less than 462 times, and he is arguably one of the best Premier League keepers of all time.
Taking into account his PL time with Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Stoke City and Newcastle, Given managed to keep 113 clean sheets, one of just 15 keepers to have 100-plus shutouts.
Left-back – Olivier Bernard
Olivier Bernard first arrived at St James’ Park in 2000 from Lyon and he quickly became a fans’ favourite, with his energetic performances and attacking runs a delight to watch from the stands.
The Frenchman made over 100 appearances, scoring six goals in the process, although he will also be remembered for being knocked out on the pitch by Laurent Robert’s skewed delivery upfield.
Centre-back – Philippe Albert
Belgian defender Philippe Albert played for Newcastle from 1994-1999 and he became known as an attack-minded centre-back for his forward runs from defence in the team dubbed “the Entertainers”.
The 52-year-old was part of the team that famously let a 12-point lead slip at the top of the Premier League, allowing Manchester United to clinch the title, but he can always hold that strike in the 5-0 win over the Red Devils in 1996 close to his heart.
Centre-back – Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate may only have been at Newcastle for a season but, when fit, he is arguably the best defender I have ever seen play for the Magpies in the Premier League.
His commanding presence and ability to read the game was exactly what the Magpies needed, having had there fair share of poor defenders prior to Woodgate’s arrival in 2003 from Leeds United.
Injuries ultimately robbed the Englishman of a long, successful career but, saying that, he did get the chance to play for Real Madrid while he won the League Cup with Tottenham in 2008.
Right-back – Warren Barton
This position has been an issue for Newcastle over the past few years and although Mathieu Debuchy and Daryl Janmaat did impress when they were at St James’ Park, it is Warren Barton who gets the nod in my all-time XI.
Yes, the Englishman was never the flashiest player but, at the end of the day, you want your defenders to be able to defend and that is exactly what the right-back did.
Playing for the club from 1995-2002, Barton was a great servant and somebody every manager during his time at Newcastle relied on.
Left midfield – Laurent Robert
You couldn’t have an all-time XI without the mercurial Laurent Robert, whose fantastic free-kicks, dazzling runs and willingness to shoot from anywhere made him a firm fans’ favourite.
The Frenchman scored some absolute screamers from 2001-2006 and although he could be frustrating at times, he excited the crowd and that is exactly the kind of player supporters like to watch.
Centre midfield – Gary Speed
The late, great Gary Speed is arguably one of the greatest midfielders in English football, having played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.
The Welshman was a genuine leader and a brilliant box-to-box midfielder, while he could play in the front of the back four, pick a pass and was outstanding in the air as he noticed 29 goals for the Magpies.
Centre midfield – Yohan Cabaye
Although he left Newcastle in unceremonious circumstances, Yohan Cabaye is still one of best midfielders to pull on the famous black and white stripes and he was the heartbeat of the team that finished fifth in 2011/12.
The Frenchman was a set-piece specialist, scoring 17 goals in 79 league appearances, and he has never really been replaced since he left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.
Right midfield – Nolberto Solano
Nolberto Solano was such a clever player during his two spells at Newcastle and is arguably one of the most technically-gifted players to have played at St James’ Park.
The Peruvian had a great work rate, brilliant delivery, fantastic finish and was a player that could always be counted on, giving nothing less than 100 per cent each time he took to the pitch.
Striker – Andy Cole
Andy Cole was an absolute superstar during his time at Newcastle and leaving him off this list would be equally as strange as Kevin Keegan’s decision to sell him to Manchester United in January 1995.
The Englishman scored 50 goals in 70 league appearances from 1993-95 and, had he stayed with the Magpies and not been sold to the Red Devils, silverware would have most likely been delivered.
Striker – Alan Shearer
An easy decision to finish off the all-time XI with Alan Shearer getting the final spot. The Gosforth-born star scored 260 Premier League goals before retiring, a record that is still to be beaten, with 148 of these coming for the Magpies.
In total for Newcastle, Shearer netted 206 times from 404 appearances, making him the club’s all-time record goalscorer. He was also capped 63 times for England, scoring 30 goals and who he also captained.
Here’s the line-up in full: