Any Newcastle United best and worst list of anything is bound to be contentious.
At every home match for starters, you have 50,000 fans and 50,000 different views on what they are watching.
I was interested to see Alan Shearer talking about the greatest overseas players to have graced the Premier League.
A little surprised it wasn’t a Newcastle one as Alan Shearer picked out Sergio Aguero, saying:
“He was deadly again, he is now on nine Premier League hat-tricks and only two behind me.
“The best foreign player to play in the Premier League, a great centre-forward with no weaknesses.”
So my thoughts turned to who exactly have been the greatest overseas players to have played for Newcastle in this Premier League era.
I don’t know what the exact definition of ‘overseas’ is…but I have taken it to mean outside the UK.
This also makes it very easy to make my number one choice…
Shay Given (Republic of Ireland)
A brilliant goalkeeper, easily the best Newcastle have ever had in my supporting lifetime going back to the seventies.
Twice voted into the PFA Premier League team of the season by his fellow professionals, showed great loyalty when staying with Newcastle for 10 years until even he had had enough, with Mike Ashley beginning his challenge of ruining NUFC.
Nobby Solano (Peru)
A superb intelligent player, with Newcastle fans taking varying degrees of time before realising just how good he was.
Brilliant at free-kicks and my favourite moment overall was the winner at Leeds that sent Newcastle top of the PL in December 2001. Considering what a disaster he was as a manager at SJP, maybe a bit of a surprise that my top two were signed by Kenny Dalglish.
What an exciting player, playing on the opposite side to Nobby they perfectly complemented each other, providing the ammunition for Alan Shearer.
I still find it amazing that some Newcastle fans only want to talk about how bad he was defensively. I wish we had somebody like him now who could create a goal out of nothing or rocket a near 40 yard free-kick into the top corner.
Those first four or five months, he was just unplayable in most matches.
Nothing better than seeing a skilful winger taking on his opponent and Ginola was spectacular at that.
I don’t count him as one of my favourite players but Coloccini deserves his place in the list because of that 2011/12 season.
He was outstanding and made the PFA PL team of the season, even if never reaching those heights again afterwards.
Sadly, not somebody who any of us will look that fondly on, as he made it clear how desperate he was to leave Newcastle and go and sit on Chelsea’s bench.
However, easily the best striker Newcastle have had in the Mike Ashley era, a quality player far beyond anything we have had since his departure.
Overall, I have to say his contribution wasn’t great if you’re honest.
However, for those moments of magic and the ability to make you smile, he has few equals. The 3-2 Barcelona match obviously the stand out but when he scored and hoisted his shirt in the air on top of the corner flag (against Metz I think), that was class.
Like Ba, somebody who is now a bit tainted. If Newcastle had been an ambitious club under a different owner could it have been different?
The fact that riots were repeatedly promised if he left, says it all. A very good footballer who was very good to watch.
Hatem Ben Arfa
He delivered a lot more times than his critics give him credit for, scoring and creating a lot of goals – usually from nothing.
Brilliant on the dribble and a player where it is difficult to narrow it down to his best three goals, never mind one.
Whilst many of the above are picked on skill, Jonas makes it because of his attitude.
Not that he didn’t have ability but his workrate was something else. Also a great character who the fans identified with.
Amongst those who could have made the list are the likes of Olivier Bernard, Philippe Albert, Gini Wijnaldum, Cheick Tiote and Pavel Srnicek.
All observations and criticisms(!) welcome in the comments.