Skip to main content

Where are they now? Newcastle's 1995/96 Great Entertainers

Newcastle 1995/96

Shaka Hislop

A huge favourite with the St James’ Park faithful, the London-born Trinidad and Tobago international played a key role

A huge favourite with the St James’ Park faithful, the London-born Trinidad and Tobago international played a key role between the sticks for Kevin Keegan’s clan.

Hislop made 24 Premier League appearances during a season that came tantalisingly close to delivering the club’s first piece of silverware since 1969.  He left the club two seasons later to join West Ham for the first of two stints with the east Londoners.

A brilliant shot-stopper, Hislop played against England for Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 World Cup, conceding to Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch in a 2-0 defeat. He retired from football in 2007 and now works as a pundit across the pond with ESPN.

Warren Barton

One of King Kev’s most trusted lieutenants during his time in charge of the club, the former Wimbledon full-back provided some solidity to a team that generally took a fairly dim view of defending.

He was English football’s most expensive defender when he headed north from the Dons in the summer of 1995 for a fee of £4m, and played a full part in Newcastle’s buccaneering start to the 1995/96 campaign.

Now also working in the US as a TV pundit, Barton ran a travel agents for a brief period after calling time on his career in 2005.

John Beresford

The quicksilver former Barnsley and Portsmouth defender provided genuine menace from left-back

Short in stature but made up for in pace, the quicksilver former Barnsley and Portsmouth defender provided genuine menace from left-back and slotted perfectly into the attacking jigsaw created by Keegan.

Beresford made almost 200 appearances for the Geordies over a six-year period and was a member of the side that won the old First Division title back in 1992/93. The former England B international left Newcastle for Southampton in 1998 before drifting into non-league football and onto our TV screens.

Another of this squad to feature on ESPN after hanging up his boots for a final time in 2002.

Darren Peacock

Boasting one of the Premier League’s most distinctive hairstyles, the pony-tailed Peacock was signed by Keegan for £2.7m from QPR in 1994. A lover of a scrap, Peacock was a reliable presence in the Newcastle rearguard as they streaked to a 10-point lead over the rest at Christmas 1995.

As the cracks began to show, though, Newcastle’s previously reliable defence began to creak alarmingly, culminating in a famous 4-3 backline horror show against Liverpool at Anfield as the title slipped away.

He was last seen working alongside Trevor Sinclair at Lancaster City in the Northern Premier League Division One North before both left the club in September 2015.

Steve Howey

He may have been born in Sunderland but Howey’s performances for Newcastle during the 1995/96 season gave him something approaching cult status for those of a black and white persuasion. 

Graduating from a youth academy that included Robbie Elliott, Steve Watson and Lee Clark, Howey was a towering presence at the heart of Newcastle's defence throughout Keegan’s reign. He won four England caps and also helped Manchester City re-establish themselves in the Premier League after leaving St James’ Park.

After winding down his career with spells at Leicester, Bolton, New England Revolution and Hartlepool, Howey had a brief dalliance with management and now combines TV work with a role as a Premier League referee’s assessor in the north-east and north-west.

Rob Lee

The heartbeat of this Newcastle side missed only two Premier League matches as the club came within an ace of the title. The former Charlton man offered midfield stability and also an attacking threat as Keegan’s men simply overwhelmed opponents for two-thirds of the season.

Lee chipped in with eight goals too, helping to lighten the load for Les Ferdinand, Peter Beardsley and the mercurial Tino Asprilla. 

He was eventually awarded a testimonial by the club before he left for brief spells at Derby, West Ham and Wycombe. Lee worked as a pundit in the Far East before heading back to London, and now co-presents a podcast for therealoffside.com.

Lee Clark

One of the few members of this Newcastle squad to forge a career in management, Clark was a precocious young central midfielder in a side brimming with attacking intent.

Clark cut his managerial teeth at Huddersfield and inspired them to a 25-game unbeaten streak, a Football League record

He would eventually make over 250 appearances for the club in two separate spells, sandwiched between an ill-fated period at Sunderland and highly successful one on the banks of the Thames with Fulham.

Clark cut his managerial teeth at Huddersfield and inspired them to a 25-game unbeaten streak, a Football League record, before being unceremoniously dumped in February 2012. Tough tenures followed at Birmingham and Blackpool. He's now manager of Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock.

David Ginola

The Frenchman brought Gaelic flair and lovely hair to Keegan’s Newcastle, creating countless chances for Ferdinand and Beardsley with a sublime left foot which looked tailor-made for this side.

He scored five goals as the club came up agonisingly short in the title race. If he was most definitely a Keegan player it was no surprise when Kenny Dalglish didn’t share his predecessor’s enthusiasm for the Frenchman, with Ginola heading to Spurs as soon as the Scot could ship him out. 

Further stints at Aston Villa and Everton followed before the footballer turned politician in an attempt to win the FIFA presidency in late 2015. He eventually withdrew from the race.

Keith Gillespie

Like the Frenchman on the opposite wing, Gillespie had the ability to frustrate and excite in equal measure. This was his finest season as a footballer – despite the off-field issues he would recount in an eye-wateringly honest autobiography in 2013.

Signed by Keegan from Manchester United as part of the deal that took Andy Cole in the opposite direction in January 1995, the Northern Irishman was too hot to handle for large parts of the following season. 

He left St James’ Park for Blackburn in 1998 before embarking on a near-decade long tour of the English and Irish game. Now an after-dinner speaker, Gillespie was part of the Talksport commentary team for last summer’s European Championship.

Les Ferdinand

Powerful in the air and lethal on the floor, Ferdinand was fed an endless supply of chances by Keegan’s entertainers and rarely disappointed

An irresistible force for Newcastle over the course of the 95/96 season, bagging 25 goals top flight goals and 27 in all competitions. Powerful in the air and lethal on the floor, Ferdinand was fed an endless supply of chances by Keegan’s entertainers and rarely disappointed in front of goal.

The Londoner formed a devastating partnership with the endlessly intelligent Peter Beardsley at St James’ Park and was at the peak of his powers during that season.

He would go on scoring goals for the likes of Spurs and Leicester before calling time on his career in 2006. Ferdinand worked under Tim Sherwood at Spurs and is now director of football at QPR.

Peter Beardsley

They say in football that you should never go back – but Newcastle fans had every reason to thank Beardsley for disregarding that piece of advice. He was sensational in his second spell at the club, thriving under Keegan and coming so close to crowning his career with the Premier League title.

The former England man scored eight times during the 95/96 campaign but his contribution to the entertainers could never been measured in goals alone. He left Newcastle in August 1997 and would go on to play for Bolton, Fulham, Manchester City and then Hartlepool before a brief spell in Australia. He’s now back at Newcastle helping to develop the next generation of Geordie stars.

Tino Asprilla (sub)

Last in the news in 2014 when he announced plans to produce flavoured condoms in Colombia

The Colombian was a controversial signing by Keegan, with many likening his arrival to that of Rodney Marsh when Manchester City were on course for the title in 1972.

In many ways they were right. Attempting to fit Asprilla into a side that already boasted the attacking threats of Beardsley, Ferdinand, Ginola and Gillespie caused Keegan an apparently unnecessary headache and they were, arguably, nowhere as much as a threat going forward following his arrival. 

He stayed on Tyneside for two seasons, scoring a memorable hat-trick as Barcelona were beaten 3-2 at St James’ Park in September 1997. Last in the news in 2014, when he announced plans to produce flavoured condoms in Colombia.

Philippe Albert (sub)

The Belgian was a Rolls Royce – or Low Countries equivalent – during his time at Newcastle, strolling when others ran and once producing a delicious chip over Peter Schmeichel to crown a 5-0 win over Manchester United.

Signed by Keegan from Anderlecht for a hefty £2.6m after the 1994 World Cup, Albert remains something of a legendary figure in the north-east despite leaving the club to return to Belgium in 1999. He is now a pundit on TV in his home country, a job he combines alongside the running of a fruit and veg business.  

David Batty (sub)

Signed from Blackburn in February 1996, Batty was described by Keegan as the “final piece” in his jigsaw. Like the signing of Asprilla, though, Batty created a further problem that the manager probably didn’t need.  

The former England man would, though, go on to enjoy a successful time at St James’ Park, providing some bite to the Newcastle midfield before heading back to Leeds in the summer of 1998. He retired from the game in 2004 – cruelly, after picking up an injury against Newcastle – and has kept his distance from the sport ever since.

Kevin Keegan (manager)

Newcastle may have achieved great things on the pitch under Keegan but it’s his rant – after a 1-0 win against Leeds at Elland Road in the title run-in – that he’s now synonymous with. 

Keegan took over the club when they were at their lowest ebb in the spring of 1992 and achieved something approaching miracles on Tyneside thanks to his infectious enthusiasm, motivational powers and the financial might of Sir John Hall.

He managed Fulham, England, Manchester City and then Newcastle again, briefly and unsuccessfully. Like this squad, this season saw him at his very best.

Now read these...

More Where Are They Now? • New features you'd love on FourFourTwo.com