Newcastle United are among the top 10 most successful English clubs of all time. The club have had ups and downs throughout their history, with their most successful period being the first decade of the 20th century, when they won 3 League titles within 5 seasons. Many great players have played for the club since its formation in 1892. In this article we will have a look at some of the greatest Newcastle United players ever.
Here are the top 10 greatest Newcastle United players ever –
10. Bill McCracken [1904-1924]
Bill McCracken was a Northern Irish defender who spent twenty-seasons at Newcastle United. He spent his entire playing career with the club, playing a total of 432 games for Newcastle,winning the league three times and a FA Cup.
His style of play was described as alert with the ability to run, leap, tackle and head the ball well. He was the captain of United and his country. He played for both when over 40-years of age before turning to scouting where he recommended countless young talented players to the club.
9. Rob Lee [1992-2002 & 2003-2004]
Robert Martin Lee had two spells at Newcastle United, he first joined the club in 1992 and spent 10 seasons with the club. He then left the club in 2002 for Derby County but returned only after a year to spend 1 more season with the Magpies.
He was an integral part of the Kevin Keegan regime. The cheeky cockney playmaker lost his way under Ruud Gullit. He was even stripped of his club number and forced to wear the number 37 shirt. Sir Bobby Robson reinvigorated him and he went on to become a true legend. He gave a decade of his career to the Toon and will always be revered in the North East.
8. Len White [1953-1962]
In February 1953, Newcastle United paid £12,500 for White. The initial idea was to replace Tommy Walker who appeared to be coming to the end of his career. He made his debut against Liverpool later that month. That season he scored two goals in 12 appearances.
The following season he became a regular member of the team and Newcastle finished in 8th place of the First Division with White scoring 14 goals in 29 games.
At Newcastle, White was primarily partnered up front alongside the well-established Jackie Milburn during the 1950s. Because of this, White often found himself in the shadows. Despite that, he had an impressive goalscoring tally and was instrumental during Newcastle’s FA Cup-winning campaign of 1955.
Once Milburn ended his career in the late 1950s, White took over as the leading striker, and continued to improve his ratio of goals. He eventually left the club for Huddersfield Town in 1962.
7. Shay Given [1997-2009]
Given was signed by Newcastle United in 1997 for a fee of £1.5 million, and it was there that he began competing to be a first-choice Premier League goalkeeper. Given was part of the teams who came runners-up in the 1998 and 1999 FA Cup campaigns, and was named in the Premier League Team of the Season for 2001–02 and 2005–06.
He played in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup with Newcastle, and was involved in the club’s title challenge in 2001–02. Although he submitted a transfer request during the 2000–01 campaign after losing his position in the starting line-up, it was denied, and Given went on to regain his place.
Given made his 400th appearance for the club on 1 January 2007 in a 2–2 draw against Manchester United. He overall made 462 appearance for the club before leaving for Man City in 2009.
6. Frank Hudspeth [1910-1929]
Hudspeth spent nineteen seasons at Newcastle, from 1910 to 1929. This makes him the second joint longest servant for the club along with Billy McCracken. During his time at the club he became a popular figure amongst the fans and gained the nickname ‘Old Surefoot’ for his reliability.
He captained the team from 1923 to 1926 but was demoted to vice-captain following Hughie Gallacher’s arrival at the club. Hudspeth was also known for his ability to score penalties and twenty-five of his thirty-seven goals at Newcastle came from the penalty spot.
He is second only to Jimmy Lawrence for making the highest amount of appearances for Newcastle, taking part in 472 games. He also represented England at international level.