Newcastle Greatest XI v Everton Greatest XI: Who Would Win?

Two sleeping giants but two contrasting fortunes. Everton remain in their slumber whereas Newcastle United are stirring, but who boasts the best XI?
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Two sleeping giants but two contrasting fortunes. Everton remain in their slumber whereas Newcastle United are stirring, but who boasts the best XI?

Newcastle United are riding high in third place whilst the skint Scousers' slow start continues. But do Everton boast a greater all-time XI?

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. 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

A bit of a ponce if the truth be told, but what a player. His home debut against Middlesborough was simply unbelievable.

Everton Greatest Xl

GK: Neville Southall

First up these are only players I’ve seen but even so the magnificent, contrary, scruffbag, maestro would be in any all time ace Everton list. Has there ever been a player so good yet so completely at odds with his status? Considered by many to be the best in the world in the mid to late 1980s – I can’t say as I never saw all the others – he was at times unbeatable. Ask John Barnes. Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1984/5. 9

RB: Ian Snodin

This is a controversial choice but I’m still mad at Gary Stevens for the pass that let Ronnie Whelan in at the 1986 cup final. Snodin came from Leeds United as a midfielder and he was alright there, but when he filled in at right back for a spell he was superb. Fast, aggressive and smart, he made the position his own and was called up for England but had to withdraw when injury knackered him. 7

CB: Dave Watson

Wretched at first – a Guardian match report on one of his early games (probably by Ian Ross) reckoned he and Kevin Ratcliffe weren’t on first-name terms yet – he became one of Everton’s most important post-war players. Rock solid, rock hard and fond of unorthodox refuelling methods, Watson was superb. Lifted the FA Cup as captain in 1995 and once ruffled Michael Owen’s hair when the little s*** was whining. 8

CB: Joleon Lescott

Most people my age would go for Kevin Ratcliffe here, and he was a good player and our most successful skipper, but Lescott was simply brilliant for us. His defection basically finished football for me. Good on the floor, good in the air, fast and with an incredible knack for scoring (big) goals, him leaving left a massive hole in my betting strategy. 8

LB: Pat Van den Hauwe

An absolute beast but a brilliant player. Once put Vince Hilaire over the advertising hoardings at Goodison with a spirited tackle. As Hilaire’s twitching torso was stretchered off people were whispering ‘I think he’s dead’. Also smashed through Jimmy ‘s***house’ Case after he’d fouled Adrian Heath or Trevor Steven (can’t remember which) when playing for Southampton. Scored the goal which clinched the 1987 championship at Norwich City. 8

The Toffees went on to win 3-1 in a game regarded by many as Everton’s greatest ever. If you weren’t there you missed out because it was f***ing ace

RM: Andrei Kanchelskis

My god what a player. Twenty goals in 52 league appearances in just under two seasons, including a cracking brace at Anfield in a 2-1 win in November 1995. He was fast as fuck with a great shot and a fine head too. At times Kancheskis was unstoppable – then he got the a**e over a move to Fiorentina and that was that. 9

CM: Peter Reid

Described by Howard Kendall as Everton’s most important post-war signing. Paul Bracewell was arguably a better player but not as important. Reid wasn’t the quickest but he had everything else – he’d be priceless in today’s game. Although he’d get sent off a lot. Along with Kim Gordon and Jonny Marr, the only famous person I’d like to meet. Although we’d make an odd crowd. Marr would probably sneak off early having left his share of the bill but ‘forgetting’ the tip. 9

CM: Mikel Arteta

I was slow to warm to Arteta as I feel midfielders should be able to tackle, and it p***ed me off that he needed Lee Carsley in there to hold his hand at times. But the best little Spaniard has been brilliant the last few seasons (although he’s been largely s***e this term). An elegant player but also one of the hardest working. Fit wife too. 9

LM: Kevin Sheedy

Sheer brilliance. I don’t know who Liverpool had on the left in 1982 when Sheedy joined us but he must have been bloody brilliant. Sheedy wasn’t quick but he didn’t need to be because his touch, passing, crossing and shooting were so good. But it’s the free-kicks people remember, with many pointing to an FA Cup tie with Ipswich where he smashed it top corner, was told to retake, and smashed it in the other corner. Magic. 9

CF: Peter Beardsley

Along with Sheedy the most skilful Everton player I’ve ever seen. John Motson on Match of the Day when we played (I think) Coventry said: “You could take this first 30 minutes from Beardsley and put out a video called ‘how to play football’”. There’s no better sight than Beardsley shaking his hips, sending the defender the wrong way and then stroking the ball past a baffled keeper. 9

CF: Graeme Sharp

Everton’s post-war record goalscorer, Sharp scored some of the most important goals in the club’s most successful period, including the winner at Anfield in 1984/5, the first in the 1984 FA Cup final, and the equaliser in the home leg of the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi final against Bayern Munich. The Toffees went on to win 3-1 in a game regarded by many as Everton’s greatest ever. If you weren’t there you missed out because it was f***ing ace. 9

Total: 94

Final Score: Newcastle 102 – 94 Everton

The misery piles on for the Toffees, who fall short of the Keegan-inspired mavericks and the Geordies' favourite sons. Beardsley's efforts for the Magpies is intensified by his roots, despite the conflict of interest. His blue incarnation missing Duncan Ferguson's physicality to feed off of.

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