Newcastle United's best ever signings

Newcastle United 4-3 Leicester City, premier league match at St James Park, Sunday 2nd February 1997. Our picture shows Alan Shearer, who scored a hat-trick during match, his first for Newcastle. (Photo by Nigel Dobson/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United have had some truly special players pull on the famous black and white striped shirt throughout their history – and a great many of them have been signed from other clubs.

From legends of the Magpies' early years, to greats of the Premier League era, we've picked out Newcastle's best signings ever.

Here we go...

34. Nick Pope

DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 7: Nick Pope of Newcastle United during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United FC at the Signal Iduna Park on November 7, 2023 in Dortmund, Germany (Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

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A supremely safe pair of hands between the sticks for the Newcastle side which ended the club's 20-year Champions League absence in 2022/23, Nick Pope arrived from Burnley for £10m in the summer of 2022.

The England goalkeeper kept 13 Premier League clean sheets over the course of that campaign – especially impressive considering he spent much of it playing with an injured finger.

33. Miguel Almiron

Newcastle United's Paraguayan midfielder #24 Miguel Almiron celebrates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 4, 2023. Newcastle won the game 1-0. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

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Signed from MLS outfit Atlanta United in January 2019 for £21m – then a club-record fee – it took Miguel Almiron a fair while to really get going in a Newcastle shirt.

But Eddie Howe's appointment as manager in late 2021 worked wonders for the enormously entertaining Paraguayan, who enjoyed a career-defining 2022/23 season, registering numerous key goal contributions to help the Magpies secure a top-four Premier League finish.

32. Hatem Ben Arfa

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers at the Sports Direct Arena on April 9, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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Initially signed on loan from Marseille in the summer of 2010, Hatem Ben Arfa made his switch to Newcastle permanent halfway through the 2010/11 season – and the Frenchman delighted the Toon Army with some memorable moments over the next few years.

But there was none more special than his spectacular solo effort against Bolton Wanderers at St. James' Park in 2012, when he unstoppably dribbled half the length of the pitch to score one of the best goals in Premier League history.

31. Jonas Gutierrez

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Jonas Gutierrez during a Newcastle United team training session on March 20, 2009 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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The moustache and ponytail combo was questionable; Jonas Gutierrez's footballing impact for Newcastle was not: the Argentine midfielder became a firm fan favourite on Tyneside.

Signed from Real Mallorca in 2008, El Galgo (The Greyhound), Gutierrez was an impressive athlete who helped the Magpies straight back to the Premier League after suffering relegation with them in his first season at the club.

He made 205 appearances for Newcastle in all, playing on after beating testicular cancer towards the end of his Magpies career.

30. Terry McDermott

Terry McDermott of Newcastle United, 1973

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Terry McDermott made 169 appearances for Newcastle across two spells, joining from Bury in 1973 before leaving for Liverpool the following year – then returning to the North East in 1982, seeing out his career at St. James' Park.

A 1973 Anglo-Italian Cup winner with the Magpies, the future England midfielder also helped Joe Harvey's side to the final of the FA Cup that year.

He later served as an assistant to a number of Newcastle managers, chiefly Kevin Keegan.

29. Joelinton

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 28: Joelinton of Newcastle United FC gestures during the UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United FC at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

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Signed from Hoffenheim for a club-record £40m in July 2019, Joelinton was well on his way to becoming one of the biggest flops in Premier League history.

That's because Newcastle brought him in as a centre-forward – but his remarkable morphing into a battling box-to-box midfielder under Eddie Howe suggests he never really was a striker.

Almost overnight, the Brazil international became a completely different player – and his club side were all the better for it.

28. Fabricio Coloccini

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at at St James' Park on December 19, 2015 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

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Club captain for much of his eight-year Newcastle stay, curly-haired Argentine centre-half Fabricio Coloccini joined from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2008.

He couldn't save the Magpies from relegation to the Championship at the end of the 2008/09 season – but he stuck with them as they won an immediate promotion back to the top flight, featuring 275 times for the club in all.

A commanding, all-action defender, Coloccini was included in the 2009/10 PFA Championship Team of the Year and the 2011/12 Premier League equivalent.

27. Laurent Robert

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: Laurent Robert of Newcastle celebrates his goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James' Park on December 13, 2003 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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One of the finest free-kick takers in Premier League history, Laurent Robert scored 11 such goals for Newcastle – among the most ever in England's top flight since the 1992/93 season.

A £10m acquisition from PSG in 2001, the French winger possessed a seriously powerful shot – as he frequently demonstrated from free-kicks and open play – finding the net 32 times in 181 games for the Magpies.

26. Demba Ba

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 03: Demba Ba smiles during a Newcastle United Training session at The Little Benton Training Ground on November 03, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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He came; he scored; he departed. Demba Ba's time at Newcastle was brief but full of goals – 29 of them in 58 appearances altogether, including 13 in 20 Premier League games from the start of the 2012/13 season.

Released by West Ham following their relegation to the Championship in 2012, the Senegal striker must go down as one of the best free signings of the Premier League era.

He left Newcastle for Chelsea in January 2013, generating a £7.5m transfer fee for the Magpies.

25. Fabian Schar

Fabian Schar celebrates scoring a goal for Newcastle United at St. James Park

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A rock at the back and a strong free-kick taker, Fabian Schar is a bit of a modern Newcastle legend – having joined from Deportivo La Coruna after their relegation from La Liga in 2018.

Crucial to the Magpies Premier League joint best defensive record of 33 goals conceded in 2022/23, the Swiss international won the division's February 2019 Goal of the Month award for his 30-yard rocket against Burnley.

24. Kieran Trippier

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Kieran Trippier of Newcastle United applauds the fans after the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Borussia Dortmund at St. James' Park on October 25, 2023 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

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Regular captain as Newcastle secured Champions League qualification under Eddie Howe in 2022/23, Kieran Trippier walked away with the club's Player of the Year award at the end of that campaign – as well as making the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

Signed from Atletico Madrid in January 2022, the England right-back brought quality defensive nous and deadly set-piece ability to the Magpies.

In September 2023, he registered three assists in an 8-0 mauling of Sheffield United.

23. Faustino Asprilla

17 September 1997 Newcastle-upon-Tyne - UEFA Champions League - Newcastle United v FC Barcelona - Faustino Asprilla of Newcastle celebrates the third of his three goals. (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside via Getty Images)

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A 90s Premier League icon, Colombian favourite Faustino Asprilla moved from Parma to Newcastle in February 1996, famously rocking up in a big woollen coat to finalise his deal during a snowstorm.

Fondly nicknamed Tino by the fans, Asprilla lit up St. James' Park (and other Premier League grounds) with frequent displays of dazzling individual brilliance, playing a starring role as Kevin Keegan's Entertainers finished second in the top flight in 1996/97.

22. Bruno Guimaraes

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 28: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United FC gestures during the UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United FC at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

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One of a multitude of big-money signings made shortly after Newcastle's transformative Saudi takeover, Brazil star Bruno Guimaraes joined from Lyon for £40m in January 2022.

And it didn't take him long to establish himself as one of the top box-to-box midfielders in world football – while he also showed off that classic Samba flair by notching his first Magpies goal with an audacious backheeled volley against Southampton.

21. Nolberto Solano

LONDON - MARCH 15: Nolberto Solano of Newcastle United celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Charlton Athletic and Newcastle United held on March 15, 2003 at The Valley, in London. Newcastle United won the match 2-0. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

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One of Peru's very best players of all time – and the first to make a meaningful impact in the Premier League – Nolberto Nobby Solano is fondly remembered in the North East.

Signed from Boca Juniors in 1998, the midfielder had two spells at St. James' Park and, like his contemporary Laurent Robert, was a free-kick specialist.

Voted the Magpies' Player of the Year for 2001/02, Solano – who was capped 95 ti,es by his country – has described himself as an "adopted Geordie".

20. Yohan Cabaye

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle in the dugouts as a substitute during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Fulham at St. James Park on August 31, 2013, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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A key cog in Newcastle's midfield between 2011 and 2014, Yohan Cabaye brought more than a touch of class to St. James' Park, arriving after spending the first seven years of his career with Lille.

In December 2013, shortly before he left for PSG, Cabaye made history by scoring the only goal of the game against Manchester United – clinching the Magpies' first victory at Old Trafford for 41 years.

19. Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy, Newcastle United

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Brought in from Coventry City in the summer of 2001, Craig Bellamy wasted no time in making his mark at Newcastle, taking home the 2001/02 PFA Young Player of the Year Award for his prodigious performances in black and white.

Described by manager Sir Bobby Robson as "a great player wrapped round an unusual and volatile character" – which was pretty much spot on – the Welshman formed a strong strike partnership with Alan Shearer in his first season on Tyneside.

Bellamy scored 43 goals for the Magpies in total, helping the team to top-four Premier League finishes in 2001/02 and 2002/03.

18. Gary Speed

22 Jan 2000: Gary Speed of Newcastle United in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in London. Wimbledon won the match 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Craig Prentis /Allsport

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Gary Speed was a great player and, more importantly, a great man – and he is sorely missed by supporters of all the clubs he played for throughout his 22-year career.

The legendary Welsh midfielder spent six of those 22 years with Newcastle, where he was signed from Everton by Kenny Dalglish in February 1998.

Speed played a big role in the Magpies reaching successive FA Cup finals in 1998 and 1999, and featured in all 38 Premier League games during his second and final seasons at the club.

17. David Ginola

1995: Portrait of David Ginola of Newcastle United. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

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French Player of the Year two years previously, David Ginola made the switch from PSG to Newcastle in 1995 – and he needed no time to get to grips with the rigours of the Premier League.

Included in the 1995/96 PFA Team of the Year, the swashbuckling winger was instrumental as Kevin Keegan's Magpies finished second in the top flight that season – four points behind champions Manchester United.

16. Philippe Albert

Philippe Albert of Newcastle United, 1994

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Another fine continental European signing made by Newcastle during the 90s, big Belgian centre-half Philippe Albert arrived from Anderlecht on his 27th birthday in 1994 (and took the number 27 shirt).

He later claimed he opted for a move to St. James' Park after turning down Juventus and Fiorentina – at a time when Serie A was still in its pomp.

Albert was a defender, but he absolutely loved a marauding run forward – and it often paid off, such as when he chipped Peter Schmeichel from 20 yards in a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United in October 1996.

15. Les Ferdinand

20 Oct 1996: Les Ferdinand of Newcastle United raises his arms aloft during an FA Carling Premiership match against Manchester United at St James'' Park in Newcastle, England. Newcastle won the match 5-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport

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Les Ferdinand banged in 41 goals in two Premier League campaigns for Newcastle (25 in 1995/96 and 16 in 1996/97) – and not one of them came from the penalty spot.

A natural scorer, the England striker joined from QPR for £6m and went on to net 50 times in 84 appearances for the Magpies in all competitions.

Twice a Premier League runner-up before leaving for Tottenham in 1997, Ferdinand's barnstorming debut season saw him scoop the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize.

14. Jimmy Lawrence

Jimmy Lawrence

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Part of Newcastle's first three First Division title-winning sides, legendary Scottish goalkeeper Jimmy Lawrence joined the Magpies from Hibernian in 1904 – and spent the remaining 18 years of his career with them.

Racking up just shy of 500 appearances for Newcastle altogether, Lawrence – who was capped once by Scotland – also helped his team to FA Cup glory in 1909/10, the first time the club lifted the famous trophy.

13. Chris Waddle

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Newcastle forward Chris Waddle wearing a hat and scarf salutes the fans in the Gallowgate end after their 4-0 victory over Derby County which all but seals Promotion to Division One on May 5th, 1984 at St James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Danny Brannigan/Hulton Archive)

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Born and bred in Tyne and Wear, Chris Waddle began his career with Durham non-League outfit Tow Law Town – who sold him to Newcastle for a meagre £1,000 in the summer of 1980.

Still only 19 when he made his Magpies first-team debut, the delightfully tricky winger eventually had to leave for Tottenham in order to play top-flight football – but his time at St. James' Park made him into the fine player he was at club and international level.

12. Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan playing for Newcastle United

(Image credit: Danny Brannigan/Hulton Archive)

Few non-Geordies have had such a close association with Newcastle United as Yorkshireman Kevin Keegan – who enjoyed two sensational seasons in black and white towards the very end of his playing career.

Signed from Southampton just ahead of the 1982/83 campaign, the England legend – who had won the Ballon d'Or in 1978 and 1979 – was voted the Magpies' 1982/83 and 1983/84 Player of the Year as he tore up the Second Division with 37 goals in 68 games.

Keegan returned to St. James' Park as manager in 1992, guiding Newcastle back to the top flight a year later – and agonisingly close to the Premier League title in 1995/96...

11. Joe Harvey

FA Cup Final 1952. Newcastle United vs Arsenal. 03/05/1952. Joe Harvey holding the FA Cup after Newcastle's victory over Arsenal. Skipper Joe Harvey shows off the trophy to the cameras after the final whistle. Little did he know that he’d be back again next year. (Photo by ncjMedia Ltd/NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

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Another who earned legendary status at Newcastle both on and off the pitch, Joe Harvey was a two-time FA Cup winner with the Magpies as a player – before leading them to the First Division title and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, among other trophies, as a manager.

Brought in from Bradford City just before the end of World War II, the former Wolves and Bournemouth half-back spent the remaining eight years of his playing career with Newcastle – where he was handed the captain's armband after his debut (a natural role for him given his service as an army sergeant-major).

10. Malcolm Macdonald

Malcolm Macdonald playing for Newcastle United

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Pacey, powerful and prolific, Malcolm Macdonald made more appearances and scored more goals for Newcastle than any other club during his career.

Signed from Luton Town in 1971 for £180,000 – a considerable sum back in those days – London-born Macdonald immediately endeared himself to the Toon Army by finding the net 30 times during his first season.

In fact, he never scored fewer than 24 goals in a campaign for the Magpies – and it was no surprise when Arsenal came calling in 1976.

9. Frank Clark

1970: Frank Clark of Newcastle United Football Club. (Photo by A. Jones/Express/Getty Images)

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Picked up from North East non-Leaguers Crook Town in 1962, reliable left-back Frank Clark amassed more than 450 appearances for Newcastle, helping them to victory in the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

A Second Division title winner with the Magpies in 1964/65, Clark spent 13 years at St. James' Park before leaving to see out his career with Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest.

8. Bill McCracken

Bill McCracken, Newcastle United

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Famous for his part in the development of the offside trap, Bill McCracken captained Newcastle and the Ireland national team, moving to St. James' Park from Northern Irish outfit Lisburn Distillery in 1904.

On Tyneside, he starred in the Magpies' first three English title triumphs and their maiden FA Cup success – also helping them to the final on two other occasions.

7. Bobby Mitchell

Bobby Mitchell, Newcastle United

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Signed from Scotland's Third Lanark for £16,000 in 1949, Scottish international outside left Bobby Mitchell tasted glory as a member of Newcastle's three FA Cup-winning teams of the 50s.

In total, he racked up over 400 appearances and notched more than 100 goals for the Magpies, becoming immensely popular among the St. James' Park faithful for his attacking exploits.

6. Andy Cole

Andy Cole of Newcastle United, 1994

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Andy Cole's record off 68 goals in 84 games for Newcastle speaks for itself: he was one of the most prolific strikers in the game during the early 90s, joining the Magpies from Bristol City in February 1993.

Newcastle broke their transfer record to land Cole – who, in his first full season at St. James' Park, banged in 34 Premier League goals, a single-campaign total which went unsurpassed until Erling Haaland struck 36 times in his first season for Manchester City.

Needless to say, that won Cole the Goal the Golden Boot – and he also picked up Newcastle's Player of the Year prize and PFA Young Player of the Year.

5. Rob Lee

Rob Lee saluting the Newcastle United fans

(Image credit: Ben Radford/Allsport)

Signed from Charlton Athletic in 1992 and promoted to the top flight with Newcastle in 1993, Rob Lee enjoyed a memorable decade-long stay at St. James' Park, making a total of 381 appearances – and scoring 56 goals.

An integral midfield member of Kevin Keegan's Entertainers side, Lee helped the Magpies to two second-placed Premier League finishes and was included in the 1995/96 PFA Team of the Year.

4. Shay Given

Shay Given has a drink while playing for Newcastle United

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Widely considered Newcastle's greatest goalkeeper of all time, Shay Given joined the Magpies from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 1997, reuniting with old boss Kenny Dalglish – who made the Irish great one of his first signings at St. James' Park.

Over the next 12 years, Given marked himself out as one of the best 'keepers in the Premier League, making 462 appearances in all competitions and winning back-to-back Newcastle Player of the Year awards in 2005 and 2006.

3. Hughie Gallacher

Hughie Gallacher walking out of the tunnel to play for Newcastle United

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Utterly prolific in front of goal for Newcastle during the latter half of the 20s, Hughie Gallacher fired the Magpies to the 1926/27 First Division title, finding the net 36 times in 38 appearances.

A £6,500 acquisition from Aidrieonians in December 1925, the Scotland striker (who managed a remarkable 24 goals in 20 games for his country) belongs right up there with Newcastle's best ever players.

2. Peter Beardsley

Peter Beardsley playing for Newcastle United

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Nineties Premier League icon Peter Beardsley failed to make the grade at Newcastle as a youngster – but he made the grade and then some during his two subsequent stints on Tyneside.

First brought to St. James' Park by Arthur Cox in 1983, the dribble-loving Beardsley was the Magpies 1984/85 and 1985/86 Player of the Year.

He left for Liverpool in 1987 but returned six years later, taking his Newcastle appearance total to 326 and his goals tally 119 as one of Kevin Keegan's foremost Entertainers.

1. Alan Shearer

LEEDS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer celebrates with his trademark one armed salute after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 FA Premier League victory against Leeds United at Elland Road, on September 21st, 1996 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

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Newcastle's best ever signing and Newcastle's best ever player whether signed or homegrown, Alan Shearer has long enjoyed godlike status on Tyneside – and it's not exactly hard to see why.

A Premier League champion with Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95, Shearer cemented his status as one of greatest strikers of all time after joining his hometown club for a world-record £15m in 1996.

In 10 years at Newcastle, Shearer averaged better than a goal every other game, finding the net 206 times in 405 appearances – and winning the last of his three Premier League Golden Boots in Newcastle colours in 1996/97.

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