Newcastle United's Greatest Premier League Hard Men
Every club has one—a player that is loved by the home support for his no-nonsense, hard-tackling style, and loathed by the opposition because of it. Newcastle United are no different.
Over the years, the Magpies have featured some notorious names in their starting XI, from John McNamee and John McGrath in the 1960s and '70s, to Peter Jackson and Billy Whitehurst in the 1980s.
Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, England’s top flight has had its fair share of combative personalities, and there’s been no shortage at the Toon.
Here we take a look at just some of the names that have endeared themselves to the Geordie public over the past 20 years, thanks to their dogged determination and true grit.
5. David Batty
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David Batty had already made a name for himself when he joined Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers in a £3.75 million deal in 1996.
The early part of his career was spent with his hometown club, Leeds, and it was at Elland Road where he earned his reputation as a hard-tackling holding midfielder.
The former England international, who won 42 caps for his country, was viewed as the final piece of Kevin Keegan’s "Entertainers" jigsaw when he arrived at St. James’ Park.
While he didn’t quite win the medals he’d hoped for in a black and white shirt, the Yorkshireman soon became a terrace favourite on Tyneside.
4. Andy Carroll
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Born and bread on the banks of the River Tyne, Andy Carroll wasted no time in making his mark at Newcastle United after graduating through the club’s youth system.
As well as his goal-scoring prowess, the 6'3" striker soon stamped his authority on the team with a string of powerful performances for his boyhood heroes.
Immense in the air, the Geordie forward became the focal point of the team during the first half of the 2010-11 campaign, scoring 11 Premier League goals before his record-breaking £35 million move to Liverpool.
Aside from making noises on the pitch, Carroll also forged a reputation off it, and hit the headlines in March 2010 when he broke teammate Steven Taylor’s jaw during a training ground bust-up.
3. Joey Barton
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The name Joey Barton and the word controversy have gone hand-in-hand since the midfielder burst onto the Premier League scene with Manchester City in 2002.
And his £5.8 million switch to Newcastle United did little to calm the storm.
Barton, now at Queens Park Rangers, was arrested on suspicion of assault just six months after his arrival on Tyneside. A subsequent jail sentence saw him missing from the first team until August 2008.
Further altercations included a very public fallout with interim manager Alan Shearer the following year, but he played a vital part in helping the club win promotion back to the top flight in 2010, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
2. Alan Shearer
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Alan Shearer will forever be remembered for scoring a club record 206 goals in the black and white of Newcastle United.
However, as anyone who ever played against the legendary striker will tell you, preventing him from finding the back of the net was only half the battle.
Shearer’s physical approach, coupled with his aerial ability and sheer determination, made him a living nightmare for defenders both at home and abroad.
1. Cheick Tiote
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Cheick Tiote’s image has largely been forged following his £3.5 million switch to Newcastle from FC Twente in August 2010. However, his red and yellow card count since the move only tells half the story.
A robust holding midfielder, the Ivorian international is often touted as a booking waiting to happen, but his reputation masks a wealth of genuine ability.
A string of powerhouse performances in United’s engine room have made him a firm favourite on the St. James’ Park terraces, even when his form dipped somewhat last season.
On his day, the 27-year-old can mix it up with the best of them. Just ask Wayne Rooney, who was man-marked by Tiote with dogged precision during Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat to the Magpies in January of last year.