It was 20 October 1996 at St James Park, Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0.

Yes, exactly 22 years ago to the day when we watched Kevin Keegan’s team totally dismantle the reigning champions.

There was no fluke about it either, brilliant attacking play and goals that Man Utd simply had no answer to.

The only negative though was that this result was seven months too late…

On 4 March 1996, Newcastle had also battered Man Utd, but couldn’t put the goals on the end of it.

Peter Schmeichel producing a one man show and his goal leading a charmed life, as chance after chance was created, but Newcastle just couldn’t get the goal that would surely have ensured the Premier League title that season. Instead Eric Cantona scored with pretty much the only chance the visitors had that night.

Returning to 20 October 1996 and that five goal victory, this is the team that lined up:

Pavel Srnicek

Steve Watson

Philippe Albert

Darren Peacock

John Beresford

Robert Lee

Peter Beardsley

David Batty

David Ginola

Alan Shearer

Les Ferdinand

Comparing the midfield and attacking strength compared to what we see today is painful to say the least.

None of the current Newcastle midfield or attack would get within a million miles of that team.

Jonjo Shelvey is decent but nowhere near that quality.

As for the likes of Ayoze Perez up against Shearer and Ferdinand…

However, I do think that two, arguably three, of Newcastle’s current squad would make that team which beat Manchester United 5-0.

I really liked Pav and on his day he was a very good goalkeeper but I have seen enough of Martin Dubravka already, to put him in ahead of Pavel Srnicek.

Shay Given is by a massive distance the best goalkeeper I have ever seen at Newcastle these past 40 years but I think Dubravka is showing he has every chance of being the second best I have seen.

As for elsewhere, I would have either Lascelles or Lejeune in that 1996 team ahead of Darren Peacock, the long haired defender did a very good job back then in a very attacking team, but I do think Lascelles and Lejeune look excellent players and who knows what potential they’d have if playing in a decent team.

A bit more controversial maybe but I would probably have both current centre-backs in that 1996 team. Philippe Albert was an excellent player and great at bringing the ball out of defence but was he a great defender? A good one but maybe not great.

We all know what the strengths are of this current NUFC squad, not that there are many.

The goalkeeper and centre-backs (Fernandez is decent as well) are a real solid base and if only Rafa had been backed with the creative and attacking players that were desperately needed, we might have a team.

Which current Newcastle players, if any, would you put in that team which delivered Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0?

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  • Peaky

    I personally wouldn’t change a thing….that team was what it was….a bloody good team….

    • Mark Davies

      100% agree

      • Vincent Gigante

        Like comparing apples and oranges.
        Selltheclubyoubigfatbastard

        • Leicester Mag

          More like Chateux Rothschild and Vin ordinare

          • Phil Yare

            beautifully put

    • molend

      Even today, bonny lad. I got into a taxi in a small town in Bulgaria last week and the talk turned to football.
      The driver: ‘What team do you support:’
      ‘Newcastle’.
      ‘Ah, Kevin Keegan’.
      I could have kissed the bulgar.

  • Mark Davies

    Dont want to be negative but NONE of the current team would get in that team. I thi k Dubravka looks decent but I think he could have done better with 2 of the man u goals.

    Its a crying shame to think of the team we had.

    On a personal note and just my opinion, I dont get all the praise Given gets. Again a decent keeper but ill never forgive his childish antics when we got humped of liverpool amd he acted like he was above everyone and deserved better then jumped ship for a pay rise and man citys bench.

    • Big Al 1967

      I liked Given and he was an excellent shot stopper. However he never commanded his area and rarely came for crosses

      • Mark Davies

        Agree totally. Great shot stopper amd moaner average at anything else

    • Dillon Tovak

      Given was an amazing keeper and he’s given his reasons for leaving and they were Mike Ashley related. He said he wanted to spend his whole career here.

      • panther

        totally agree, just hit breaking point and wanted more than just picking up his wages

  • RAFmag

    When Albert brought the ball out of defence and played one/twos with the midfield and carried on going it was a thing of beauty and put the fear of God into the opposition. Don’t care if he wasn’t the best defender. Would you have had Lascelles/Lejeune/Fernandez creating the 5-0 “Phillipe Albeeerrtt!!!” moment? Stop talking tosh Man!

  • Ashley-out

    None of the current players are worthy of a place in that team

  • Big Al 1967

    Not one of the current squad has the quality to even make the bench of that side.

  • archiedog79

    I can’t even begin to bring comparison of the two squads but if you think any of this side would get anywhere near you either weren’t there or have a terrible memory.

  • RAFmag

    The bench was Lee Clark, Faustino Asprilla, Keith Gillespie, Warren Barton and Shaka Hislop. None of our current lot could get near the bench. At the time we moaned about Clarkies lack of pace and Gillespie being a bit of a lad who was inconsistent. What a difference they would make to our team now.

    • Leazes.

      How much would the bench have cost to assemble……at todays rate?

      • Dillon Tovak

        Gillespie would be £30m and Asprilla £50-60m in my wild unthought through estimation.

      • Rich Lawson

        I think you would find a good joiner could knock it out for a couple of hundred quid depending on your choice of finish ?

  • BanJones

    i always remember Phillipe Albert caught offside in open play as the final whistle went away at West Ham, we were winning by a single goal!

  • toonterrier

    These were the games you dream of. Absolutely brilliant and it shows how far we’ve gone downhill since the big lump took us over. Hopefully one day soon the sun will come out again and we’ll be looking to win trophies rather than survive just to make money to fill the fatmans pocket.

    • Leazes.

      A backward march bit by bit over 20 years without comment from the chronicle and the club ends up in this state! Players not big enough for the shirt ……or the stage!

      Instead Ryder runs polls to try and drive out his pet hate…Shelvey…

      …… he did the same with Laurent Robert because he prizes workmen over craftsmen and believes that is what United fans want….

      Well there’s no denying we have a team of workmen, building a wall to stop the onslaughts from the opposition!

      Any new owner will have to stop the influence of the chronicle….especially over other media, they are enormously damaging by ‘bigging up’ and inflating players to fill out the shirt….. trouble is its with hot air.

      Ashley couldn’t have done it without the Chronicle!

  • David Jones

    I’d still have shearer in the team ahead of anything else we’ve got

    • Dillon Tovak

      It would be amazing to see what would happen if he started today 🤔 I kind of think he’d score 😂

      • panther

        hed outrun joselu

        • Phil Yare

          joselu’s shadow is more dangerous than joselu

      • Leazes.

        Not unless it was a penalty….. I’d pick him over Kenedy.

        • molend

          Bonny lad, I’d pick him over the goalie

  • graham18

    Great memories.Will never see them days again under the FCB.

    • Dave Pattinson

      What a feeling! Still have the Mirror t-shirt with their full back page spread on it. Albert, Batty et al. Can’t bear to throw it away. ASHLEY OUT!

  • Paul Patterson

    So you’d ditch two of the scorers FROM defence that day that also kept a clean sheet for our current two? No chance!

  • Roblee07

    The Albert goal that day is the finest moment I have ever witnessed as a Newcastle fan and I’m 37 years old. 5 nil against the champions and our centre half chips arguably the best keeper ever! A fan on his knees in front of Keegan the messiah. I get goose pimples thinking about it . I could never ever contemplate changing anything and swapping any of our current team

    • Phil Yare

      i agree with all of this 1 million percent, i am the same age and as a teenager I felt spoilt. it felt like the pinnacle of our history, like we’d won the league, the FA cup and the champions league in one match. every player was a legend and every goal was a gem…….even peacocks to see the reaction of andy gray when he was proved wrong about the ball being over

  • molend

    Sorry, kidder, but you’re deluded

  • Proppaboots

    John Martin…….anagram of, absolute tit….give or take a few letters!!!

  • Phil Yare

    what are you talking about?

    replacing a legendary goalkeeper who keeps a clean sheet against cantona, scholes and beckham?!

    replacing a legendary defender who keeps a clean sheet against cantona, scholes and beckham AND scores arguably the most famous goal in premier league history??!

    another very very very underrated defender who keeps a clean sheet against cantona, scholes and beckham AND scores a goal

    do me a favour and watch that match again man

  • Phil Yare

    Ive got a better idea……

    lets replace shearer with joselu. shearer had clearly lost a yard of pace and only scored penalties. Joselu would have rattled in a hattrick and would have give us some needed pace and mobility upfront we desperately needed in the game

    i’d also like to see rob lee replaced by the rock diame. Bobby Lee’s game was clearly slowing down and didn’t scored as many goals back then. Diame could have caused havoc making runs from deep and fizzing shots at schmeichel

    I also think jacob murphy would have been better than ginola. murphy isn’t lazy and is more workman-like. gary neville would have shat his pants