Newcastle United Greatest XI v Swansea City Greatest XI - Who Wins?

Newcastle United go head to head with Swansea City for the first time this season with both teams looking to claim the ever valuable 3 points - but who wins when we compare their Greatest Ever sides?
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Newcastle United go head to head with Swansea City for the first time this season with both teams looking to claim the ever valuable 3 points - but who wins when we compare their Greatest Ever sides?

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Newcastle United go head to head with Swansea City for the first time this season with both teams looking to claim the ever valuable 3 points - but who wins when we compare their Greatest Ever sides?

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 tw*t 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

Newcastle Total: 103

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.

Greatest Ever Swansea City XI

GK. Roger Freestone

All time appearances record for Swans, who, if truth were told, have not been blessed with the most secure custodians in the game over the decades. Anyone familiar with the name Gary Sprake…? 8

RB. Wyndham Evans

Exponent of the classic school of defending where you left your mark on the opposition in the first 10 minutes. If that didn’t break them, you just kept on dishing it out until it did. A folk hero, in the true sense of the word. 8

LB. Wilfred Milne

The Northumberland League player played 586 times for Swansea over 16 seasons spanning the 1920s and 30s. If you’re looking for a Brian Glanville-style analysis of his playing qualities you’ve come to the wrong place. His place is secured on the basis of valiant years of service and the Wikipedia entry stating that he was signed from Walker Celtic for the price of a fish supper and a cup of tea. 8

CB. Ante Rajkovic

It wasn’t only Ipswich that went for the cut-price version of the Argentinian pair that Spurs signed after the ’78 World Cup. Town bought Mühren and Thyssen, City went for Bosnians Dzemal Hadziabdic and Ante Raikovic. The former was a creative left-back who won’t be the only one scratching his head at his omission from the greatest Swansea team of all time. Ante Raikovic was a stopper with skill – largely unheard of at the time, where you were either a clogger or a fairy. And he also played sweeper. Madness! 9

CB. Mel Charles

So tempting to have a father and son combination at centre back – Mel’s injury-plagued son Jeremy played for Toshack’s Swansea side and Wales. All three Charles boys (Mel’s brother was called John – you might have heard of him) played successfully at the heart of defence and at centre-forward. Which is bonkers, when you think of it. 8

CM. Ian Callaghan

My head says John Mahoney, as he and Robbie James could boss the centre of the park while the rest indulge themselves in their creative flights of fancy. Mahoney was chiefly a mainstay for Stoke City and Wales, but his contribution to the Toshack era is completely underappreciated. But this isn’t real life, so Ian Callaghan, Liverpool FC legend, gets the freedom of the centre circle, just as he did when he moved from Anfield to The Vetch Field in 1978. The former wingman was a joy to watch at Swansea and was instrumental in the club’s rise up the divisions. 9

CM. Robbie James

He of the barrel chest and the hotshot Hamish tendency from anywhere around the box, James played like an unreconstructed Jimmy Case and shared a penchant for the kind of bad moustache that littered the pages of Panini annuals throughout the 70s and 80s. 7

LM. Ivor Allchurch

Ridiculous to find yourself deleting Cliff Jones’ name from any list of football greats, but when it comes to making your mark on Swansea City, there are very few that match Ivor Allchurch, who scored 164 goals in two spells at the club, ghosting past defenders with ease and striking the ball effortlessly with his cultured left peg.10

RM. Leighton James

Every team of the early 80s seemed obliged to have someone haring down the wing like a startled, er, hare, unruly mop of blond hair trailing close behind. Leighton James was more than a contractual obligation. Swansea to the core, he was suspended from his punditry gig by the BBC for anti-Cardiff City remarks made in his newspaper column. 10

ST. Alan Curtis

If you remember anything about Curtis it’s likely to be his perm and the boyish grin he wore whenever he scored. He was the perfect fit for the Toshack side of the early 80s – effervescent and eager to the last. Swansea had had its share of great homegrown strikers – Dean Saunders arguably the greatest of them all – but Curtis was the best by a long way. 9

CF John Toshack

it would be churlish not to include Tosh in a list of Swansea greats, even though his best playing days were behind him by the time he arrived at The Vetch. As manager he took the Swans from the Third Division to the top flight – undeniably the most exciting era in the club’s history. Yet the Cardiffian remains a hugely respected but curiously unloved character in his adopted home. Funny that… 8

Player/ Manager. John Toshack

Despite what I’ve said above it can’t really be anyone else, Martinez had us playing the best football and Rodgers might reach the promised land but what Tosh achieved borders on the ridiculous. 9

Swansea Total: 103

Total 103-103

This one ends up in a draw - a result that Swansea would surely be happy with. Alan Pardew's Newcastle on the other hand will be looking to claw their way back into top four contention today at St. James' Park after consecutive losses to Chelsea and Norwich.

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