2. Jackie Milburn [1943-1957]
Jackie, an Ashington-born pitman, lived up to his initials – ‘JET’ – by displaying blistering speed combined with power and a ferocious strike. He was not just a great goal scorer but also a scorer of great goals, his second of the 1951 FA Cup Final against Blackpool was a 30-yard rocket into the top corner.
In 397 games for the club, Milburn scored 200 goals. In total, Milburn played in three FA Cup-winning finals for United; 1951, 1952, and 1955. Despite his achievements, Milburn was reportedly a very shy and self-deprecating individual, whose modesty further endeared him to Newcastle United supporters, though according to Tom Finney, this stemmed from an “innate inferiority complex”.
By the time Milburn left Newcastle in 1957, he had become the highest goalscorer in Newcastle United’s history. He remained so until he was surpassed by Alan Shearer in February 2006. Milburn remains Newcastle’s second-highest goalscorer, having scored 200 competitive goals. He was finally granted a testimonial ten years later after leaving the club, in 1967.
1. Alan Shearer [1996-2006]
As a player, Shearer was often styled as a classic English centre-forward, owing to his strength, physical stature, heading ability and strong shot, which enabled him to be a highly prolific goalscorer.
With his time with Blackburn Rovers, Shearer had established himself as one of the best strikers in the league. It was in July 1996 when the Magpies beat Manchester United to Shearer’s signature, smashing the world transfer record to bring him home.
With £15m offers tabled from Newcastle and Manchester United, the lure of the number nine shirt at his hometown club proved too good to turn down, and Kevin Keegan finally got his man ahead of the 1996/97 season.
As they had done for the bulk of his career, the goals continued to flow for Shearer, and in the first of his ten seasons at St. James’ Park, he scored 28 goals – forming a lethal partnership with Les Ferdinand.
He went on to become Newcastle’s and the Premier League’s record goalscorer. He scored 206 goals for the club, of which 49 were scored with his head. Shearer is arguably the best striker the Premier League has ever seen.