What Became of the 1996 Newcastle United Team That Beat Manchester United 5-0?
Ask any group of Newcastle United fans to name their favourite fixture of all time and, before long, one clash in particular will come to the fore.
The date was October 20 1996, and the Magpies were still licking their wounds having lost out on the Premier League title in dramatic fashion the previous season, before suffering humiliation in the Charity Shield.
On both occasions, Manchester United had taken the spoils, beating the Toon to first place by just four points, before thrashing Kevin Keegan’s men 4-0 at Wembley in the traditional season-opener.
But within a matter of months, the Geordies gained revenge in spectacular fashion, beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s champions 5-0 at St. James’ Park in what was a dominant display.
So as the two teams prepare to meet on Tyneside once more this weekend, Bleacher Report takes a look at what became of the Newcastle starting XI that put the Red Devils in their place.
Goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek was a huge hit at St. James’ Park and was famously pictured wearing a “Pavel is a Geordie” t-shirt when the Magpies won promotion in 1993.
In 1998, after seven seasons on Tyneside, the stopper moved back to his hometown club Banik Ostrava, but before long he was back in England with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Czech Republic international, who won 49 caps for his country, left South Yorkshire in 2000 and proceeded to star for five different sides in six years, including Brescia and AS Cosenza in Italy and Beira-Mar in Portugal.
After a final six-month spell back at St. James’ Park, the fans’ favourite called it a day on his playing career and launched a goalkeeping academy in his home country before joining Sparta Prague’s coaching staff.
Geordie lad Steve Watson was known as Mr Versatile during his stint with Newcastle United and was regularly used in a number of positions, including right-back and central midfield.
Following retirement in 2009, Watson moved in to coaching and linked up with former Toon midfielder Lee Clark at Huddersfield Town before following his ex-teammate to Birmingham City in 2012, where he is currently assistant manager.
Bristol-born Darren Peacock scored the opening goal against Manchester United on that famous day, when his header was correctly adjudged to have crossed the line despite the best efforts of Dennis Irwin.
A horrific collision whilst on loan with Wolverhampton Wanderers resulted in a serious neck injury, and after struggling to regain his place, Peacock retired in 2000.
In April last year, the now 46-year-old was named the new manager of Northern Premier League side Lancaster City.
Philippe Albert was already a household name in Newcastle, but when he expertly chipped Peter Schmeichel to score the fifth goal against Manchester United, his popularity went through the roof.
The Belgian centre-half was known for his dashing runs forward, and he is still regarded by many as one of the finest defenders ever to pull on a black and white shirt.
After a loan spell at Fulham under former Toon boss Kevin Keegan, the ex-international switched to Charleroi in his home country before retiring from the game in 2000.
Today he is an occasional pundit for Belgian television, and he also runs a successful fruit and vegetable company near his hometown of Bouillon.
A bargain £650,000 signing from Portsmouth, left-back John Beresford was a vital piece of the Newcastle United jigsaw under Kevin Keegan and would go on to score for the club in the Champions League.
The Sheffield-born defender left Tyneside in 1998 to join Southampton before dropping down the leagues to play for the likes of Alfreton, Ossett and Halifax Town.
After hanging up his boots in 2002, the former England B international returned to the north-east to work with Tyne Tees Television and became a matchday ambassador at St. James’ Park.
A strong, combative midfielder, David Batty left his hometown club Leeds United to sign for Blackburn Rovers in 1993, before he switched to Newcastle three years later.
After just two seasons on Tyneside, however, he moved back to Leeds and saw out the remainder of his career at Elland Road before retiring—but not before leading them to the Champions League.
Since calling it a day, the 45-year-old has campaigned to promote cancer awareness and has also worked for Leeds in an ambassadorial role. He’s also covered his former club as a pundit for Radio Aire.
Another bargain signing of the early Keegan era, Rob Lee went on to become one of the most admired midfielders in the country, winning 21 caps for England and playing in the 1998 World Cup.
His Newcastle United career looked over when he was ostracised by Ruud Gullit in 1999, but the arrival of Sir Bobby Robson saw the terrace favourite restored to the side.
In the same year, he almost took the step into management but was beaten to the Bournemouth job by Kevin Bond. As well as numerous appearances in charity football matches, Lee is a regular overseas television pundit.
Both of his sons are currently in professional football, with Oliver Lee playing for Birmingham City and his younger brother Elliot on West Ham’s books.
Something of a Newcastle United legend—and one of the finest players of his generation—Peter Beardsley’s affinity with his hometown club is still going strong today.
The skilful playmaker first signed for the Magpies in 1983 and returned a decade later after a successful spell on Merseyside with Liverpool and Everton.
After a 20-year career and over 230 goals, he retired in 1999 and currently holds the position of Football Development Manager at Newcastle, having returned to the club with the academy in 2009.
Another goalscorer from the 5-0 mauling of Manchester United, David Ginola brought a certain swagger to St. James’ Park when he arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in 1995.
His outrageous skills with the ball at his feet made him an instant hit at St. James’ Park, and the Frenchman epitomised the style and ambition of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle.
After leaving Tyneside in 1997, spells with Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton followed, but Geordie fans will always have a soft spot for the winger who mesmerised the opposition on a weekly basis.
After announcing his retirement from the game in 2002, Ginola moved into acting and starred in World War Two heist movie The Last Drop, which premiered at Cannes.
He is also an award-winning producer of wine with a vineyard in Provence and regularly appears on BT Sport’s Premier League coverage as a pundit.
Having famously turned down a move to Manchester United before his £15 million move to the Magpies, the script was written for Alan Shearer to score against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men—and he duly obliged.
The Geordie legend was in the early part of his Newcastle career on that famous afternoon, but he went on to become the club’s all-time leading scorer with 206 goals.
After a decade at St. James’ Park, his last ever game in a black and white shirt saw Shearer score a penalty in a 4-1 win at rivals Sunderland before a memorable send-off against Celtic in his testimonial.
His retirement in 2006 was followed by a spell away from football, and to date, his only venture into management—an ill-fated, eight-game spell with the Toon—coincided with their relegation to the Championship in 2009.
Today, Shearer is a regular member of the Match of the Day panel with the BBC and has also covered World Cups and European Championships for the network.
He is also involved with a number of charitable causes and has his own foundation in the north-east which supports people with complex disabilities.
A powerful centre-forward, Les Ferdinand scored a total of 50 goals in just 84 games for Newcastle—including a typical header in the 5-0 demolition of Manchester United.
Despite his heroic status with the fans, however, the striker was inexplicably sold to Tottenham Hotspur in 1997 in a move that left Geordie fans baffled and infuriated.
Like Shearer, he has also dabbled in punditry for the BBC, and the 47-year-old is currently working as a coach as part of Tim Sherwood’s backroom team at Tottenham.
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