Power Ranking the Best Newcastle Strikers of the Past 20 Years
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Newcastle United fans love a good striker. Be it all-time legend Alan Shearer, 90s hero Peter Beardsley or current No. 9 Papiss Cisse, there is nothing the St James' Park faithful enjoy more than seeing their striking sensations hit the back of the net.
Over the next seven slides, I have compiled a list of the best strikers to have played for the Magpies over the last 20 years. They are ranked from last to first and the theory behind the rankings are based on goals, fan relationship and personal opinion.
The list is sure to provoke opinion, so feel free to get involved and have your say.
7. Craig Bellamy
Bellamy enjoyed a successful spell on Tyneside in the early 2000s.
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We start the list with a much-travelled striker who enjoyed the longest spell of his club career during his four years at Newcastle.
Under the management of Sir Bobby Robson, Bellamy was part of one of the best striking partnerships in the Premier League with Alan Shearer and helped his side to a memorable Champions League campaign.
Newcastle also finished fourth and third while Bellamy bagged 42 goals in all competitions for the Magpies.
Electrifying pace and trickery made the Welshman almost unplayable at times, although the relationship with the Newcastle fans broke down once Graeme Souness became Newcastle manager in 2005.
Bellamy had numerous altercations with teammates and coaching staff and was eventually loaned out to Celtic before being sold to Blackburn Rovers amid reports he had sent abusive text messages to directors and former teammates.
6. Andy Carroll
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Andy Carroll's reputation will forever be tarnished among Newcastle fans, as his £35 million transfer to Liverpool is a move that saw him go from hero to villain over the course of one helicopter ride to Merseyside.
For his time at Newcastle, however, Carroll proved himself as a top striker who could cause problems for the best of opposition.
Finding his feet when the Magpies dropped into the Championship, Carroll netted 19 goals in all competitions to fire Newcastle back to the top flight.
Then, scoring a hat-trick against Aston Villa early in the 2010-11 season, Carroll was enjoying hero-like status with his boyhood club's fans, only to go and join Liverpool in January of the same season.
Ever since his move to Anfield, Carroll's career has stalled. He now looks to start rebuilding his reputation as one of England's best strikers at West Ham United.
5. Peter Beardsley
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We continue with another Geordie hero.
Peter Beardsley enjoyed two highly successful spells at Newcastle, the first beginning in 1983 and the second spanning from 1993-1997.
Both periods were laden with goals for the born-and-bred Geordie, who became one of England's finest strikers in his prime.
Beardsley would regularly dazzle fans with his vast array of trickery and clinical finishing and was a big part of Newcastle's excellent team in the mid-1990s.
A product of the famous Wallsend Boys Club, Beardsley hung up his boots in 1999 and still enjoys a warm reception whenever he returns to St James' Park.
4. Les Ferdinand
Ferdinand in action for Tottenham against Newcastle
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Ferdinand's 29 goals in his debut season for Newcastle helped the Magpies come within touching distance of the Premiership title, although a monumental collapse resulted in Manchester United claiming the crown.
Ferdinand formed a lethal partnership with Alan Shearer the next season, with both men filling their boots with goals as Newcastle enjoyed a spell as one of the most exciting teams to ever grace the English top flight.
Strong, surprisingly quick and excellent in the air, Ferdinand netted 41 goals in 68 games for the Magpies, before moving on to play for Tottenham.
Had he stayed and built on his partnership with Shearer, who knows what might have been in store for the all-conquering Geordies? Ferdinand, however, seemed to feel pushed out by the return of Shearer in 1996.
His No. 9 shirt was taken and awarded to Shearer when he joined from Blackburn, a turning point in the career of "Sir Les," who then felt his time was up at St James' Park.
3. Faustino Asprilla
Asprilla in a typically joyful mood while playing for Parma
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As one of Newcastle United's all-time crazy characters, Faustino Asprilla makes it into the top five despite not boasting the best goal ratio.
In domestic competition, the extravagant Colombian managed only nine goals in 48 games. Largely down to being behind Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand in the pecking order as well as struggling to adapt to English weather, Asprilla's finest moments came in Europe.
Scoring nine goals in just 11 games in European competition, Asprilla made himself a Newcastle hero when he scored a hat-trick at the Nou Camp against Barcelona. Newcastle won the game 3-2, which is remembered as one of the best matches in Geordie history as they turned over the likes of Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola.
Asprilla will be remembered mostly for his crazy antics, at times frustrating manager Kenny Dalglish with his elaborate celebrations and off-field shenanigans. The trademark Asprilla celebration involved numerous somersaults and shirt removal, and he would regularly host parties and social gatherings at his rented home in Ponteland when not in action for the Magpies.
The flamboyant striker can still sometimes be seen attending Newcastle matches when in England, and he enjoys a special relationship with Geordie fans, as they remember the times when their former hero would dazzle opponents with his rare combination of skill and speed.
2. Andy Cole
Cole celebrates one of his many Newcastle goals
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Before Alan Shearer, this man was the goal machine on Tyneside.
Signed from Bristol City for a club-record £1.75 million, Andy Cole took no time to settle down and begin finding the net for his new club.
Twelve goals in his first 12 games signalled just what a player Newcastle had signed, and Cole went on to become one of Newcastle's greatest strikers, netting 68 goals in just 84 games for the Magpies. Cole still enjoys the best goals-to-games ratio of any Newcastle striker, and only Hughie Gallacher has scored more goals in a single domestic season.
Cole eventually ended his Newcastle career when he moved to Old Trafford in a £6 million deal, a move that shocked many, as Cole seemed happy at Newcastle.
The rest, they say, is history, as Cole went on to become one of United's most lethal strikers, scoring 93 league goals in a six-year spell.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for Cole was not getting the international recognition he deserved, as England manager Glenn Hoddle left him out of the 1998 World Cup squad. Overall, Cole only played 15 times for his country, scoring one goal.
1. Alan Shearer
The classic Shearer celebration, which fans were treated to 206 times
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Who else could possibly top this list?
In terms of Newcastle strikers, no one comes close to Alan Shearer.
With 260 Premier League goals, 206 of those for his boyhood club, the all-time Premier League top goalscorer is head and shoulders above anyone else who has ever pulled on a Newcastle shirt.
Shearer is, and forever will be, the ultimate Geordie hero. Ever since his £15 million move from Blackburn—who were Premiership champions at the time—Shearer was destined for greatness.
As well as scoring hundreds of goals for Newcastle, Shearer also resisted the chance to move to Manchester United on numerous occasions, despite the promise of Premier League glory almost nailed on.
Shearer also proved his worth on the international stage, scoring 30 goals in 63 games for his country and being part of the Euro 1996 squad that came close to lifting the trophy.
Ever since retiring in 2006, Newcastle have had a few decent strikers, one of which has made this list, but it is highly doubtful that anyone will ever displace Shearer as No. 1.