It is the 125th birthday of Newcastle United today.

I can’t account for the first 85 or so years as I wasn’t at most matches and even when I was taken occasionally in the years 81-85 (mid-70s), I didn’t really have a clue as to what was going on.

All I knew was that it was both very exciting and a a little bit frightening at the same time, especially the odd time when I was taken in the old Leazes End.

It was just mental and brilliant.

All the talk has been of picking a best Newcastle team from all the players in those 125 years, ahead of today’s birthday.

I don’t really see how you can delve beyond what you have seen yourself, so I am keeping it to the last 40 years, and I have gone for the most important 11 Newcastle United people, not just players.

This is my first article for The Mag (if published…), so interested to see your comments at the end…

Kevin Keegan

When he first arrived in 1982, it is hard to describe just how mind blowing it was. The club was in a state of total decay and to have the England Captain dropping into the second division to rescue us, was exhilarating. That first game and win against QPR…the numbers in the Gallowgate must have been double what they should have been. Keegan of course scoring.

It took two years but with the help of Waddle and Beardsley, KK led us into the top tier only for the usual incompetence to ruin it. Arthur Cox walking out of the door after being let down on transfers…

More of you will be aware of Keegan’s outstanding contribution as a manager in the 1990s, quite simply, easily the best time to have been a Newcastle fan in the last 50+ years. I also think that given the right backing…he could have done a brilliant job when returning in 2008. Keegan is the best for me.

Alan Shearer

When he signed it was the best since Kevin Keegan. You couldn’t read enough about it. There must have been more Chronicles bought that day than they must sell in a month these days.

Newcastle’s greatest ever goalscorer, the Premier League’s greatest ever goal scorer, England Captain, could have gone anywhere, but he stayed with us.

Unconditional love and along with Kevin Keegan, arguably the biggest stain on Mike Ashley’s ownership, That he undermined the two greatest living Newcastle United people and tried to smear them after they wouldn’t take it lying down.

Sir John Hall

Set in motion those great great days under Kevin Keegan.

Without John Hall there would have been no Freddie Fletcher, which would have then meant no Kevin Keegan, subsequently no Alan Shearer and so on.

For that I will always be eternally grateful but unfortunately the later years of the Hall and Shepherd reign saw them ruthlessly taking as much money out of the club as possible and waste massive opportunities to make the club massively successful. The open goal of being the first English club to get Champions League football without winning the league, massively wasted as they sold off Ferdinand and others and bought in free transfer pensioners such as Barnes and Rush.

Mike Ashley

Not a lot needs saying as you know it all.

I’m not big on religion but Ashley has brought every type of pestilence and darkness to our enjoyment of supporting Newcastle United.

What a horrible 10+ years to be a Newcastle fan.

Peter Beardsley

A brilliant player.

Best I have ever seen? Very probably.

Was superb the first time and even better when returning in his 30s.

Least said the better about his slavish love of Mike Ashley and what is happening with football below first team level at the minute.

Sir Bobby Robson

Made us believe again.

Two seasons of outstanding football and some great times, pus a third season of very good football which now looks superb in comparison to much of the nonsense since.

Not quite Kevin Keegan in terms of his influence on Newcastle United and impact on the pitch but then when you add everything else such as his foundation, he is a Newcastle United great for sure.

Gazza

If Beardsley is the best I have ever seen, Gazza is the most talented in terms of pure skill.

Losing him to Tottenham, after Beardsley and Waddle had also left, prompted the start of The Mag I remember.

When Gazza left in 1988 it was horrendous. Watching him play for Newcastle in the 80s was just so exciting, outrageous at times in what he attempted and usually achieved.

Rafa Benitez

Early days and we all wait to see if he will be given a chance to try and do something all the KK/SBR lines.

However, a brilliant bloke who believes in what is possible at Newcastle United and now we just need owners who are on same wavelength.

Has done a great job in very trying circumstances.

Graeme Souness

I hate Graeme Souness.

The most ludicrous decision ever, replacing Sir Bobby Robson with him. It was laughable.

He ripped apart that Sir Bobby team and threw away a brilliant chance for the club to establish itself as a regular at the top table. Useless and refuses to hold his hands up to the mess he made.

My Dad

For introducing (and indoctrinating!) me into Newcastle United.

Mikel Merino

This is a bit of a longer-term one…

Has only played a handful of games but I think he is going to go on to be a brilliant player and a star at both club level and for Spain.

If he is still a Newcastle player in five years time then I think the club will be in a very good place.

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  • Geordiegiants

    I will go as far to say as Jabba has been by far the most vile character to ever grace my life. Souness is not even in the hate (although I detest him) compared to the parasitic cancer that has killed our city, not just our football team.

    • paul mclaughlan

      Fatty may be killing our club but has no bearing whatsoever on our city.

      • Geordiegiants

        The football club has a massive influence on our city. It’s the biggest thing in it, and determines the mood of it.

  • Albert Stubbins

    What about David Kelly?

    • Geordiegiants

      I would say Killa was the most influential player we ever signed.

      • Albert Stubbins

        Aye but what aboot that goal against Pompey? I’ll never forget that as long as I live. Killer galvanized the early Keegan team though there’s no doubt about that.

        • Geordiegiants

          Kelly’s goal was THE most decisive moment in our recent history no doubt, but over all Killa was the most influential signing Keegan ever made.

          • Peaky Magpie

            Venison’s leadership and experience are also often overlooked.

  • Leazes Ender

    Watching Beardsley kiss his Liverpool badge and salute the Kop in his United shirt, and Gazza likewise with the cockney scum,

    …. NO ambition, foresight or realisation of what the club could be…. then Hall…. and family ‘came saw and plundered, he decided to milk the cow for all he could….’Never again will we be a selling club’ he boasted…. come and watch our boy Andy Cole and let him entertain you’

    Andy was sold, and Ginola pushed for an exit…. they could all see what the chronicle could see but never EVER uttered…… the regime they helped to power was eating the club from the inside…… silence.

    Ryder and Co have been silent since after suffering a cerebral aneurysm from the heady heights of Kev.

    King Kev, yes he was on commission for a percentage of the gate money that he could add with his own brand of PR….. he was good at it.

    • Brian Standen

      Your point about Beardsley and Gazza are often forgotten, but very true!

  • grantham mag

    Merino will more than likely be sold in Jan, just as Rafa, packs his bags, as fatty keeps the profits again.

  • Hughie

    125th anniversary. In the first 63 years (almost exactly half ) we won the league 4 times and the cup 6. Says it all really. The club has been appallingly mismanaged for virtually all the 62 years since with no attempt to create sustainability. Keegan, Hall, Robson, Beardsley, Sheare ,Gazza– flashes in the pan. The first 63 years define the potential here. The much lambasted current owner is probably not the worst in this scandalous and mainly patronizing and incompetent series of regimes in it for their own kudos and profit. We should be a current Liverpool, Spurs , Chelsea or Arsenal. Absolutely no reason why not apart from the catalogue of incompetent regimes over my and many others lifetimes. By continuing to turn up we are expressing our hope that one day the worm will turn and we will see a team on the pitch that 62 years of astonishing loyalty demands, and that standard of first class entertainment is sustained by competent management of the club.

    • Leazes Ender

      That’s spot on…. this club has had everything going for it, but its underlying philosophy has been of no ambition and fob off fans with a shirt seller every so often.

      The hardest job in the world must be working for the Chronicle …. how do you write about nothing?… they have three reporters who take in United…. three…. you don’t even need one to fill pages with moribund nostalgia and fake speculation.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Very good post.👍

  • Jonathan Gibson

    Good read, what a history… imagine if this club won something! Keegan debut against QPR was my first ever game, hooked ever since, lots of agreement here, although killer should get a mention, he was fixing tiles on his house roof when his wife told him keegan was on the phone, killer nearly fell off the roof, told keegan hes on his way, he didnt even ask how much he was getting paid, he said he would have played for nowt (his extract from hardy book), man mountain, influential, not one to forget

  • anyobrien

    Beardsley the best player in my lifetime… He had the lot… Imagine his fee now in his prime.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Hard to disagree there,like yourself also in my lifetime.Older supporters will have their favourites Milburn,The Mighty Wynn etc while the younger ones now have Hoss,Mannequin & SloMo !!! Well maybe not those last 3.

  • 1957

    I’d have to disagree with Keegan providing the best time of the last 50 years+.

    My highlight of supporting NUFC is the Fairs Cup winning run and subsequent years under Joe Harvey…there is simply no substitute for being a winner. Joe along with Dave Smith took a team of pretty average players and against all odds beat some of the best European teams of that time, with tactics that made the best of what he had available.

    Joe was one of the true giants of this club as a player, captain and manager and I’m grateful he provided me with arguably the most memorable moment in the clubs’ history

  • Whitehurst

    Totally agree with Berdo….deffo the best I’ve seen too!!

  • Whitehurst

    What no Billy Whitehurst, Tony Cunningham, George Reilly or Billy Askew?

    • Geordiegiants

      Rambo would be there if I was choosing, he scored when we beat Liverpool 1-0 at my first ever match.