2. Bryan Pop Robson
Newcastle – 206 appearances
Sunderland – 154 appearances
Bryan Robson, better known as ‘Pop’ Robson, is among the finest goal scorers to have graced these shores. The master of the first time shot, Pop was a centre-forward who came alive in the box. Glancing front post headers, sumptuous volleys and dinking the ball past an outstretched goalkeeper in a one-on-one; it was rare for Robson to take more than three touches before laying it off or taking an early shot and catching the goalkeeper off guard.
Robson joined Newcastle United as a 17-year-old in 1962, and he made a goal-scoring debut against Charlton Athletic before his 18th birthday. His goals helped Newcastle win the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which remains the club’s last piece of major silverware.
Robson would be Newcastle’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons, up until a £120,000 move to West Ham in 1971. He left West Ham in 1974 for his hometown club of Sunderland, where he spent two seasons, was the top scorer in both and helped the club achieve promotion back to the First Division.
1. Len Shackleton
Newcastle – 57 appearances
Sunderland – 348 appearances
Dubbed the “Clown Prince of Soccer”, Len Shackleton was one of English football’s most prominent entertainers, bamboozling defenders and delighting supporters throughout the forties and fifties.
He joined Newcastle United from Bradford Park Avenue for £13,000 fee in October 1946. He went some way to justifying his price tag on his debut, bagging six goals in the Magpies’ 13-0 drubbing of Newport County. The St James’ Park faithful responded to Shackleton’s flicks and tricks with the desired applause, but a series of arguments with the board preceded his departure in February 1948.
Although Shackleton moved up an entire division, he didn’t have to travel far from his previous home. Sunderland, then labelled the “Bank of England” club due to their lavish spending on players, broke the transfer record to prise the attacker away from their local rivals, splashing out £20,050 to add his name to their increasingly star-studded roster.
In terms of the goals-to-games ratio, it was money well spent. “Shack” found the net precisely one hundred times for the Black Cats, but despite owning one of England’s most precocious talents, Sunderland’s expensively assembled side did not lift any silverware. They came desperately close in 1950, finishing just one point shy of champions Portsmouth. Billy Murray’s men also reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1956 and repeated the feat in 1957, but for all his skills and wizardry, Shackleton’s trophy cabinet remained bare.