Newcastle United Premier League strikers ranked from worst to best – Part Three (40-31)
Ranking all of the Newcastle United Premier League strikers from worst to best.
For every Shearer, Ferdinand or Beardsley who has delighted the Toon Army, there has been a Riviere, Guivarc’h or Slimani causing dismay.
With goal scorers placed on a pedestal by the club, I decided to undertake the mission of ranking all of those who have appeared in at least one PL match.
Hello and welcome to the third of our six-part series ranking all of the Newcastle United Premier League strikers from worst to best.
A reminder that this series is not looking at the player’s value for money (or lack thereof), rather their top-flight league performances as a striker.
In the case of few appearances, the player may be ranked higher than someone who was useless for a prolonged period.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
PART THREE (40-31)
40. Darren Huckerby (1 game, 0 goals)
The reason ‘Huck’ features above players with more games is that in his 17 minutes of PL football – he came on as a sub against Bolton Wanderers in January 1996 – he showed huge promise, helping Newcastle to a 2-1 home win.
It was assumed he would subsequently feature more often, but with Ferdinand, Beardsley and Kitson ahead of him in the pecking order, plus the imminent arrival of a certain Colombian striker, he was swiftly loaned out to Millwall.
Newcastle had paid Lincoln City £500,000 for his services in 1995 and doubled their money when Coventry stumped up £1m at the end of 1996, with the exciting striker reaffirming his potential by opening the scoring as his new club defeated his old one 2-1 at Highfield Road in December of the same year.
39. Nile Ranger (26 PL games, 0 goals)
It may seem like a lofty position for Ranger, who went blank in top-tier matches, but his impact as a substitute played a significant role in Newcastle’s legendary 4-4 comeback against Arsenal.
It was during that 2010-11 campaign, aged 19 and 20, when the wannabe gangster reached his zenith, with his pace and strength causing opponents strife, as Hughton and Pardew gave him 24 league games from the bench to strut his stuff.
His talent was overshadowed by a personal life punctuated by criminal activity and perceived apathy – he would often turn up more than an hour late for training – with the one-time wonderkid briefly enjoying a lower league renaissance courtesy of Swindon Town, before reverting to type and becoming a footballing footnote.
38. Michael Chopra (21 games, 1 goal)
A slew of youth team goalscoring feats meant Chopra featured in national press articles during his early teenage years, with hopes raised he would become the first bona fide global football icon of Indian heritage.
Aged 19, a loan spell at Watford saw him score four times in a match against Burnley, although he faced the unenviable task of usurping Messrs Shearer, Bellamy, Ameobi and Lua-Lua for a first team spot back on Tyneside.
A memorable equaliser against Sunderland, 15 seconds after joining the fray from the bench, in Alan Shearer’s final professional game (a 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light) was to prove the highlight of Chopra’s hometown career. He was sold to Cardiff, where he flourished before Sunderland spent £5m to bring him back to the North-East in 2007.
37. Daniel Cordone (21 games, 2 goals)
One of a host of South Americans signed during Sir Bobby Robson’s first close season at the club, Cordone impressed on a pre-season tour of America, and began the season proper with a pair of well taken goals.
Moved out wide and into midfield, his effectiveness waned; moments of decadence off the pitch and a purported lack of interest in training eventually saw him banished to the reserves.
To nobody’s surprise, Robson opted against signing the Argentinian livewire following the expiry of his short-term agreement.
36. Louis Saha (11 games, 1 goal)
The latter stages of the 1998-99 season saw Ruud Gullit put his faith in an unheralded 20-year-old French striker who arrived on loan from Metz.
Looking the part immediately, Saha’s movement and pace dovetailed well with Alan Shearer’s power and force of personality, and a man of the match display in a 4-1 win over Coventry City suggested he was someone worth investing in.
Regrettably, the club declined to invoke a £1.5m clause to purchase the player, who later prospered in the colours of Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham and the French national team respectively.
35. Alex Mathie (25 games, 4 goals)
Scottish striker signed from Greenock Morton for £250,000 in 1993, Mathie scored a stunning debut goal in a 4-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, adding two more to his tally before the end of the season.
A useful option from the bench, the calibre of competition within the squad meant Mathie remained a perennial substitute until his £500,000 transfer to Ipswich in 1995, where he became a consistent second-tier goal scorer in his late 20s.
34. Joselu (46 games, 6 goals)
A £5m budget buy, this beanpole attacker arrived at NE1 from Stoke City to limited fanfare, remaining at the club for two seasons from 2017 to 2019.
A willing workhorse, the former Real Madrid starlet chipped in with a handful of goals and sporadically provided a useful outlet, although his shortcomings were often exposed.
Newcastle recouped almost half the fee when Alaves agreed a deal to take ‘Hoss’ back to La Liga, the Spaniard’s game time having been limited following the loan purchase of Salomon Rondon and development of Ayoze Perez – both of whom ironically departed during the same summer.
33. Lomana Tresor Lua-Lua (69 games, 5 goals)
Exotically named DR Congo forward who arrived at the club in a £2.25m deal from Colchester during the 2000-01 season following a strong recommendation from Sir Bobby’s assistant, Mick Wadsworth.
Lua’s spectacular somersault celebration wasn’t witnessed by his new fans until the following season, as his game time gradually increased.
Regularly exasperating and occasionally brilliant, the club were guilty of an epic faux pas when loaning him to Portsmouth in 2004: forgetting to include a clause to stop him playing against Newcastle! Inevitably he scored a late equaliser for Pompey at Fratton Park, celebrating with gusto to ensure his days in black and white were numbered.
32. Joelinton (82 games, 7 goals)
Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle paid Hoffenheim a club record £40m for this unheralded 22-year-old Brazilian forward with an ordinary goalscoring record in the Austrian and German leagues.
Awarded the famous number nine shirt, hope gleaned from a neat winning goal against Spurs was soon replaced by frustration, as a lack of killer instinct inevitably followed bursts of competence.
Losing the number nine to Callum Wilson, ‘J7’ showed signs of improvement with four league goals in 2020-21 but remains without a defined position frequently shoots as if his feet are cushions. A man of the match showing against Brentford, Eddie Howe’s inaugural game as boss, hinted at rejuvenation in the face of quality coaching.
31. Mark Viduka (38 games, 7 goals)
Hailed as the ‘best free transfer of the summer’ by manager Sam Allardyce, Australian veteran Viduka was impressive when fit.
A brace of braces, against West Ham and Derby County, hinted at the exquisite player he could be on his day, with a catalogue of injuries undermining his overall effectiveness at the club.
The 2008-09 season saw him fail to net, as Newcastle were relegated at Villa Park on the final day of a turbulent campaign – Viduka’s erroneously disallowed equaliser against Fulham in the penultimate fixture would likely have ensured survival, the error robbing the big Aussie of a place in club folklore.
Next up, our rankings enter the top half of the club’s all-time Premier League strikers, as we begin to see the more successful names emerge (and hope Joelinton will one day join them!)
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