It’s fair to say that when it comes to Newcastle United, emotions have been running high this summer.  Good job it’s all on cyber space and not in the Red Lion bar.

The truth is, it’s quite possible that Newcastle fans have always been divided in their opinions – but we simply were not aware of it.  These days we all have the opportunity to air our views to a much wider audience, than the four lads they sit with in the club.

Well thank God the time for talking has now passed, the truth will now be unfolding.

Is this team going to be good enough?

That’s such an ambiguous statement.

Good enough for what exactly? That comes down to the reader. What do you want them to be good enough for?  One thing is for certain, your expectations will significantly affect your mood!

For what it’s worth, I would be happy with a season that fell somewhere between the last two promotion seasons in 93-94 and 10-11.  One was a totally unexpected 3rd position while the other was mid-table mediocrity 12th.

I’ve been looking at the teams we had in place in the August of those two years and have asked myself the question, how does this squad match up to that of those two?

Which would you rather have on the pitch?

Goalkeeper  

Pavel, Steve Harper, Rob Elliot

Pav would be my choice; even though I’m not convinced he is the best keeper.

I just really liked him as much as a person than as a player. Somehow he epitomised the team he represented, despite being between the sticks.

However, if we were to grade them, then Rob Elliot is probably within a hair’s breath of the other two. I don’t see a lot between them.

Centre-backs: 

Kevin Scott & Steve Howey, Colo & Williamson,  Clark & Lejeune

This is difficult.

None of the pairings would find their way into a greatest team eleven but they have all played a significant amount of games for the club (the new Frenchman apart).

Kevin Scott would move on to Spurs to be replaced by Darren Peacock but at the start of the season he was the number five . Colo would go on to have a really good couple of seasons but my judgement is affected by his miserable end.

So if I can’t mix and match, then this year’s pair could be the best choice. Possibly.

Central midfield    

Robert Lee & Lee Clark, Joey Barton & Cheick Tiote, Isaac Haydon & Jonjo Shelvey

My Keegan era bias says it’s Lee & Clark but I’m not sure I’m right. For me this is the hardest to choose.

Which partnership worked/works the best?  There are a few names there that didn’t have that much pace but brought many other attributes to the table.

So in a fantasy team, the lads from the 90s just edge it, but I do believe that an on form Shelvey and Hayden can be a very decent pairing.

Wide

Scott Sellars & Nikos Papavasiliou,  Wayne Routledge, & Jonas,  Matt Ritchie & Atsu (Murphy)

Scott Sellars was a little gem. His mate on the other side was not.  Routledge never really did it for us and yet has gone on to spend seven years mostly playing top flight football elsewhere.

Jonas was a great servant but I don’t believe he can be classed as one of our greatest wide players.

So by default, I guess I would rather have Ritchie and Atsu out there than either of the other pairs (Sellars and Gillespie would be another matter).

Strikers    

Andy Cole & Peter Beardsley, Andy Carroll & Kevin Nolan,  Mitro  & Dwight Gayle

There is nothing to discuss here.  Mitro & Gayle every time.

For those of you slow on the uptake, that’s me being sarcastic.

Not only are Cole and Beardsley the best of this bunch, I would argue that they are the best front two we have ever had. They were simply a match made in heaven, however, Rafa’s tactics make this section totally irrelevant.

So after all this, I really am a fence sitting, splinters in my backside, fan.

I don’t believe we are heading for a Sunderland type 20 point season but I also don’t see how we are strong enough to get above 12th.

My massive fear is the team not scoring goals in the games we have to win (Brighton, Huddersfield, Watford etc).

We have to bring in an additional striker(s) ASAP.

That dream pair of Cole & Beardsley actually didn’t start against Spurs in 93 due to Neil Ruddock smashing Pedro’s face in at an Anfield testimonial.  That meant playing the likes of Malcolm Allen and Alex Mathie covering until he returned.

You could get away with that in the nineties but we won’t in 2017.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Jezza

    I would pick the players from 1993 all the way through. That team was far better than the teams we came up with in 2010 and 2017. The 2010 team in turn was far better than our current team, if nothing else, because we had Nolan and Carroll who were two of the best players in the country at the time.

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      Steve Howey was a fantastic centre half.

      • Jezza

        Yes Steve Howey started his career as a striker but Kevin Keegan somehow saw that he had the makings of a great centre half.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Any of our centre halves potential centre forwards? I wonder.

          • Geordiegiants

            Do any of our forwards have potential for goals? Gayle aside.

          • Kneebotherm8

            I doubt it.

          • Geordiegiants

            Might as well stick Hanley up front than Mitro for me.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Stick Mitro at centre half,he’s probably on a par with Steve Howey as a centre forward.

          • Geordiegiants

            You know what, it’s not a bad idea. Rafa should have a suggestions board 👍.

          • Geordiegiants

            Oops Joselu just signed, I take it back.

        • 1957

          Ardilles played Howey as a CB in the reserves before Keegan arrived and he looked hopeless. It was clearly a matter of getting him the right coaching, whoever was responsible did a fantastic job

  • Rich Lawson

    Strikers,Davies and Robson( yes i know it’s not from your timeline) but a big bloke ,good in the air and a little nippy lad to pick up the feeds has worked well in the past ?

  • East Durham Mag

    Beardsley and Cole cutting through opposition defences at will. You could weep really …. The good old days.l

  • Leicester Mag

    You could stop the discussion at Beardsley and Cole. A country mile better than what we have now. Also remember full backs take Venison and Bez over any current pairing.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      cut it out or i`ll be getting the kleenex out, we`ll never see those days again

      • Leicester Mag

        Closer sadly to Shinton and Rafferty

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Aye

        • Kneebotherm8

          The good old days,those days made Ashley look good.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Boo hoo

    • Geordiegiants

      Venison was outstanding, he was in the form of his career when he played for us.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Makes you want to weep when you look at the teams Keegan put out & to some extent Sir Bobby
    now the happy clappers are thinking that Joselu will come good at the age of 27
    he`s hail Mary signing, 1 down with 15mins on the clock hoy on the big lad & hope it bounces off him into the goal
    God help us

    • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

      Says the mackem…

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        it`s Mackem, not mackem, must be a real pain having such a low IQ

  • Biggs Darklighter

    1993

  • Leazes Ender

    Downgrades in installments.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Beardsley and Cole were wonderful, it was amazing how many Cole would miss as well as score but he just managed to get in the right place to get a shot away and wasn’t afraid to miss. Malcolm Allen was actually very good even when Pedro was out for the first 10 or so games.

    Papavasiliou only got a few games until KK reallised he just wasn’t up to it.

    Your centre midfield does not include Bracewell?

  • Steve Pearce

    This is worse than all the Newcastle bashers being reeled out last week. Its 2017 and as nobody has yet come up with a time machine we have to get behind our present team and not read shyte like this!

  • Albert Stubbins

    oh for a young Robert Lee and Andy cole in this team!! with these two we’d be a top ten side no problem. It would take 100 million in todays money for those two I reckon.

  • Geordiegiants

    The Keegan side every day. Papavasalou had a wicked hair style.

  • George Stainsby

    ’93. But we also seemed to play to strengths a little more. When you watch clips of us then, and football in general from that time, there was a lot more space- and we played blistering football at the time.

    Pav would also be my choice in goal as he was a symbol of something exciting and loaded with potential.