Newcastle Greatest Fan's Xl v Sunderland Greatest Fan's Xl

To celebrate the Tyne-Wear derby tactics supremo Jonathan Wilson picks his all-time Sunderland dream team to face Viz founder Chris Donald's Newcastle United galacticos. But who will win?
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To celebrate the Tyne-Wear derby tactics supremo Jonathan Wilson picks his all-time Sunderland dream team to face Viz founder Chris Donald's Newcastle United galacticos. But who will win?

To celebrate the Tyne-Wear derby we're revisiting when tactics supremo Jonathan Wilson picked his all-time Sunderland dream team to face Viz founder Chris Donald's Newcastle United galactic  But who won?

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Sunderland Greatest XI

GK: Ned Doig

He cost Sunderland a two-point penalty on arrival from Arbroath in 1890 as he was still registered with Blackburn, and was said to be so sensitive about his lack of hair that if his cap fell off he’d retrieve it rather than follow the ball, but he was still worth it. He won four championships with Sunderland, was a Scotland international and for much of the 1890s was the best goalkeeper in the world. 10

RB: Alex Hall

There is a fine tradition of Sunderland right-backs who shun goals (Chris Makin and John Kay being modern incarnations; even Phil Bardsley moved to left-back before getting his first goal in 108 league games), but it was begun by Hall, who scored only once in 233 appearances. Capable of playing on either side, he was a regular in the 1935-36 Championship season and the FA Cup run a year later. 7

CB: Charlie Hurley

Hurley was voted Sunderland’s player of the 20th century (admittedly in 1979, but it’s hard to imagine he’d have lost the vote 21 years later) and stands as the embodiment of all that Wearside respects. He was brave and tough and gentlemanly, a towering presence in both boxes and, as Brian Clough noted after his first training session at Sunderland, he could pass a ball as well. 10

CB: Sandy McAllister

A former coal-miner, he wasn’t the tallest, but he was stocky and courageous, and an ever-present in the 1902 title-winning side. He was so popular with fans that when he scored his first goal for the club (he only got 5 in 225 games) they presented him with a gold watch and a piano. He died from foods poisoning while serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers during the First World War. 8

LB: Ernie England

A hard-as-nails full-back who played on the ‘wrong side’, England delighted in shepherding wingers inside and then sliding in with his stronger foot. He was an ever-present in the side that finished runners-up behind Liverpool in 1922-23. 7

DMC: Charlie Thomson

Thomson was an established Scotland international who had won two Cups with Hearts when he arrived on Wearside. He captained Sunderland for seven years during which time they never finished lower than eighth, and clinched the title in 1912-13. His reputation – and his bristling moustache – suggest he could look after himself, but he was also a fine ball-playing centre-half. 9

DMC: Hughie Wilson

Wilson was the classic old-style half-back, and aggressive tackler who could also pass a ball. He played in Sunderland’s first League game, in the first game at Roker Park, and was the first Sunderland player sent-off. He won three titles, the third of them as caption, and his one-handed long throws were so effective the FA outlawed them. 9

AMR: Charlie Buchan

Only Gurney has scored more goals for Sunderland than Buchan, but he was as much a creator as a finisher, a tricky inside-right of dazzlingly quick feet and brain. He joined Arsenal after leaving Sunderland and there devised the W-M formation in conjunction with Herbert Chapman. 10

AMC: Raich Carter

Calm and intelligent, Carter was a goalscoring inside-forward, the captain and inspiration of the 1935-36 title-winning side and the team that won the FA Cup a year later. A regular England international, he lost several years to the War, but inspired Derby to the FA Cup in 1946. 10

AML: Len Shackleton

Shackleton was a magician, an impish showman of such virtuosity that at half-time in one game he kicked a ball to a referee who had annoyed him, but loaded it with so much spin that as the official bent down to pick it up, it rolled back to him. An anti-authoritarian streak cost him the chance of more than five England caps, but technique and eye for a pass made him a huge favourite on Wearside. 9

CF: Bobby Gurney

In his first game for Sunderland reserves, Gurney scored nine, and the goals never really stopped. Tough and quick and a supreme finisher, he remains Sunderland’s highest scorer of all time, rattling in 12 hat-tricks (two of them fours) in his 22 years at the club. He was top-scorer in the title season of 1935-36, and got three equaliser in the AF Cup final win over Preston the following year. 9

Manager: Tom Watson

Only four managers in the history of the English game have ever won the league with two different sides; only one has ever won it twice with both his teams. Watson created the great Sunderland side that won three league titles in the early-mid 1890s, and then went a built a new team at Liverpool. A forgotten genius. 10

Total: 104

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Newcastle Greatest XI

GK - Shay Given

Played for the Mackems on loan when he was at Blackburn in the mid-90s, but all that was forgiven when he signed for us. Saved innumerable games for us with his brilliant shot-stopping. Shay would have walked into the England team if he'd been English. Over 350 appearances in 12 years at the club. Arguably the most consistent keeper in the Premiership in his time at United, currently wasted on the Man City bench. 8

RB - Bill McCracken

Irishman Bill McCracken's famous offside trap was so good in 1925 they changed the rules. Captained his club and country, 377 league appearances for Newcastle, winning three league titles and getting us to three FA Cup finals. Tidy defender. Away fans hated him, Geordies loved him. That's how it should be. 9

LB - Frank Hudspeth

You couldn't pick McCracken without also picking his defensive partner Frank Hudspeth. A proper Geordie, his first club was Scotswood. He played more games for Newcastle than any other outfield player - 482 appearances in total between 1910 and 1929.  Chipped in with 38 goals as well. 8

SWEEPER - Bobby Moncur

Defensive stalwart in the sixties and seventies, captained the 1969 Fairs Cup winning team (and knocked in a hat trick in the final just for good measure). Captained United and Scotland too. Spent his twilight years at Joker Park working on his pension fund, but nobody's perfect. A talented all-rounder, Bobby plays golf and does a bit of sailing too. 8

CH - Jonathan Woodgate

I'm taking a chance here, cos he might well be injured. Only managed a handful of games for us, but I'll tell you what. He never put a foot wrong when he did actually make it onto the pitch. I sat and watched him one game, all the way through, and he never even broke sweat. Positioning, awareness, reading of the game - brilliant.  Just a shame he was such a crock. 7

CM - Joe Harvey (Captain)

Right-half in his time, I'd pick Joe to play a holding midfield role and to boss the entire game. A great leader both as captain of the fifties FA Cup winning teams and then as manager of the Fairs Cup winning side, he'd run the show. And he'd share his tabs with the other players at half-time. 9

CM - Paul Gascoigne

Mercurial, magic and absolutely mental. At his young, chubby best he was unbelievable. A daft Geordie lad who loved playing football and happened to be better at it than anyone else in the world. He'd need looking after on and off the pitch, but Joe Harvey and Alan Shearer can do that. 10

LM - David Ginola

"David who?" James Brown asked me when we signed him in 1995. "I dunno" I said. But we soon found out. A bit of a ponce if the truth be told, but what a player. His home debut against Middlesborough was simply unbelievable.  Bit of a lazy twat as well - Bill McCracken won't get much cover from him - but an affordable luxury with such a solid defence behind him. 6

RM - Alan Shearer

There's no room for him up front,  but I can't omit Alan Shearer from the side. So I'll play him in right midfield. One of the best crossers of a ball I've ever seen - witness Les Ferdinand's goal in the 5-0 thrashing of man United - it was just a shame Shearer couldn't get on the end of his own crosses. His heart is black and white, you could play him anywhere in the side. 10

CF - Jackie Milburn

I never saw him play but I saw his house  - my Dad used to point it out every time we drove past it. 494 appearances and 239 goals between the war and 1957. Three FA Cup winners medals.  I think Shearer pipped him in the end for his goals tally, but Wor Jackie remains the all-time legend so I'll give him the number 9 shirt. 10

FW - Peter Beardsley

A girl who used to work for me grew up in the same street as Beardsley. "All he ever did when he was a kid was eat sweets and kick a ball against a wall, for hours on end", she told me. And it shows. Terrible teeth but a magical touch, Absolute footballing genius, scorer of brilliant goals, and the perfect foil for a big striker. And the fourth born Geordie in my team. 9 (loses a point
for his physical appearance).

Manager - Kevin Keegan

Couldn't choose him as a player because we didn't see the best of him in his boots, but as a manager he lifted the club from dire straits to the very verge of the Premiership title, and he brought brilliant players and brilliant football to the Toon. Couldn't organise a defence to save his life, but with the team I've chosen defence won't be a problem, and neither will attacking. 9

Total: 102

Final Score: Sunderland 104 - 102 Newcastle

A two point win for Sunderland even without Brian Clough who was omitted because he said he should be worth 11. Played on a misty-night at the neutral Ayresome Park, Sunderland go goal bananas in the first half, with Bobby Gurney bagging a hat-trick and Len Shackleton netting a long-range howitzer. Keegan shuffles the formation at half-time, bringing Shearer up top with Milburn and dropping Beardlsey in behind. With the mostly pre-war Sunderland side running out of breath on account of the Capstan and Woodbines doled out at half-time to 'keep bloody cold oot," Shearer and Milburn hit it off like Ant and Dec and bag a brace each as Ginola, Beardsley and Gazza rip into the blowing Mackems. 4-4 with ten minutes left, Gazza dinks a ball over the top for Ginola, who hits a volley of such venom that it clatters off the crossbar, rebounds downfield, hits Gurney on the back of the head and bounces over Given. Probably.