Played for both: Coral’s combined Man City and Newcastle PL era XI
Manchester City and Newcastle United meet in Saturday’s only televised Premier League offering at the Etihad come teatime. With Manuel Pellegrini’s men heavily odds-on at 2/7 to win, and the Magpies massive 10/1 outsiders to repeat their Capital One Cup upset, Coral’s football experts got thinking about which Premier League era players have turned out for both teams?
We put our heads together and came up with this XI, plus subs, comprised of names past and present that spent time at both St James’ Park and with the blue half of Manchester.
Goalkeeper: Shay Given
It’s a widely held opinion that Republic of Ireland goalkeeping great Given kept Newcastle up in the Premier League single-handed during the dark days of their dodgy defence. With flops like Jean-Alain Boumsong and Claudio Cacapa in front of him, the current Aston Villa custodian eventually left Tyneside after almost a dozen years of loyal service in 2009 to join City.
At Eastlands, Given saw his place usurped by England number one Joe Hart, and moved on Villa Park. We’re talking about one of the most consistent performers between the posts in Premier League history here. See Given roll back the years with this recent stunning save in the FA Cup:
Right back: Laurent Charvet
Perhaps the least well known of our XI, uncapped French full back Charvet cost the Magpies £750k in 1998, and they sold him on to City in 2000 for £1m. He failed to live up to his potential, however,though did play in the 1999 FA Cup final.
Centre back: Steve Howey
Like Given, Sunderland-born central defender Howey was a loyal servant to Newcastle, playing almost 200 league games (1989-2000) before joining City. His experience was key at the back for the old Division One triumph of 2001/02.
Centre back: Sylvain Distin
Everton’s veteran defender first tasted English football on Tyneside during a loan spell in 2001/02. His displays there persuaded City to pay PSG £4m for his services and he spent five seasons there. Comfortable at left back too, Distin has racked up over 450 Premier League appearances across stints at Portsmouth and Goodison Park too.
Left back: Stuart Pearce
Kenny Dalglish brought Nottingham Forest hero Pearce alongside Liverpool legends Ian Rush and John Barnes to Newcastle in 1997, and the veteran trio helped the Magpies to the FA Cup final that season. Via a spell at West Ham, ‘Psycho’ finished his career at City, who he then went on to manage.
Defensive midfield: Dietmar Hamann
King Kenny splashed £5.5m on German anchorman Hamann, who has the distinction of scoring the last goal at the old Wembley, following the 1998 World Cup. He didn’t hang around at St James’ Park, though, as Liverpool brought him to Anfield the next summer.
Hamann also famously agreed to join Bolton Wanderers only to change his mind and sign for City in the summer of 2006. Relive his low free-kick for Die Mannschaft from 2000 below:
Defensive midfield: Joey Barton
Supplementing Hamann in our combined XI engine room is bad boy Barton. City gave him his break in senior football, but he caused controversy for assaulting teammate Ousmane Dabo. Joining Newcastle in 2007, his time there saw him jailed for off the field violence. Barton now plays for QPR, and is trying to help keep them in the Premier League.
Right wing: James Milner
England international Milner is often underrated, bit his graft has been vital to City’s recent success. Joining from Aston Villa in 2010, his steady performances have helped bring silverware to the Etihad in the form of two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.
When Leeds United were relegated in 2004, Newcastle gave Milner a platform to remain in the Premier League. He is 19/10 to come back and haunt his former club by scoring anytime at the Etihad.
Attacking midfield: Antoine Sibierski
Now, here’s a name who was something of a cult hero for both clubs. A modest £700k purchase by City from Lens in 2003 saw him score 11 goals in 92 Premier League games for them.
A free transfer to Tyneside followed in 2006, and it was his exploits in the UEFA Cup, including a winner against Fenerbahce, that won this player a place in the heart of the Toon Army.
Left wing: Craig Bellamy
Wales forward Bellamy played for nine different clubs throughout his career, and delivered consistently for both Newcastle (2001-05) and City (2009-11).
Like Barton, he was involved in some off the field controversy, though this surrounded spats with Alan Shearer and Joh Arne Riise complete with golf clubs.
Striker: Andy Cole
Ex-England frontman ‘Cole the goal’ earned that nickname by banging them in for the Magpies. His blistering form between 1993 and 1995 convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him for Manchester United. Cole’s finest hour was at Old Trafford, though he later spent the 2005/06 season with City when he netted nine times in 22 Premier League outings.
Current St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright makes for a fine backup goalie, having spent a second spell with Newcastle on loan in 1999 from City (1997-2001). Current Stoke City midfielder Stephen Ireland was also sent to St James’ Park in 2011, having broken through at City (2005-10). Versatile forward Darren Huckerby also counts these two among his former clubs.