Ignore Gary Neville: 5 things we remember about Newcastle’s Entertainers

With Gary Neville claiming no-one remembers Newcastle United’s famous side from 1996 we thought it was time to highlight why their legend lives on.

In rushing to the defence of Chelsea, who have been labelled as “boring” in some quarters after seemingly strolling to the Premier League title, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville picked the wrong team to draw a comparison with.

Speaking after the Blues’ 3-1 victory over Leicester City, which edged the Blues a step closer to the league crown, the former Manchester United favourite dismissed the dull label applied to the London side as “nonsense.”

"People called the Newcastle team of 1996 with Kevin Keegan exciting but they were exciting losers – nobody remembers them now," he said, in quotes republished by The Chronicle.

"The fact of the matter is that people remember winners," he added.

The comments generated quite a stir among Magpies fans online, while many neutral fans have stepped forward to show their appreciation for the Toon team of that era.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to get involved with an article reminding Neville, and any of the other doubters out there, just why The Entertainers will live long in the memory of Premier League fans up and down the land.

1. They made Les Ferdinand

When Kevin Keegan allowed Andy Cole to go Manchester United midway through the 1994/95 season, Newcastle fans were incensed, yet the manager seemed convinced it was the right decision.

Part of the deal had seen highly-rated winger Keith Gillespie move in the opposite direction and when Les Ferdinand arrived from Queens Park Rangers, it was a decision that suddenly appeared vindicated. The pair hit it off, with the striker scoring goals for fun at St James’ Park.

Ferdinand may be a club favourite at QPR but he made his name with Newcastle, where a return of 41 goals in 68 Premier League games helped force his way into the England national team set-up.

2. They were involved in the Premier League’s greatest game

Manchester United may boast multiple Premier League titles, but ask fans to name the greatest game in the history of the division and the chances are the Red Devils won’t feature.

Instead, it is another title-deciding clash that remains the undisputed favourite with Newcastle travelling to Anfield in 1996 looking for a win to keep them ahead of United at the top of the table.

Liverpool would ultimately do them no favours, however, in a 4-3 win for the Reds that should be remembered not only for Keegan’s dejected response to Stan Collymore’s winner but for also being a thrilling game from start to finish.

3. They introduced us to David Ginola

Recruited from Paris Saint-Germain for £2.5 million in 1995, Ginola would not be the legend and pundit he is today without his two highly-successful seasons on Tyneside.

Part of the Magpies side that came close to the league title in 1996, the Frenchman wowed the St James’ Park crowd both domestically and in Europe and made the team the envy of those up and down the land.

Sold to Tottenham after Keegan departed the club, Ginola would go on to land the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 1999, but his finest performances undoubtedly came with the Toon.

4. They did what we all dreamed of doing against Manchester United

A season on from their title capitulation at the hands of Manchester United and Newcastle hosted the Red Devils looking to gain some modicum of revenge on Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

United had done the double over the Toon in the previous campaign but with Newcastle now boasting Alan Shearer among their ranks, the St James’ Park faithful was optimistic.

What followed was arguably the greatest game in the Magpies’ history, with Manchester United put to the sword in a 5-0 humbling that has only ever come close to being repeated once – when Manchester City beat them 6-1 in the derby back in 2012.

It remains a landmark moment in the history of the Premier League, though it was as good as it got for Keegan and the Entertainers.

5. And who could forget Philippe Albert

Few players embodied the gung-ho spirit of the Newcastle United entertainers more than the Belgium international.

Recruited by Keegan from Anderlecht in 1994 after impressing at the World Cup that year, Albert’s swashbuckling style – which saw the stopper regularly contributing to the Toon attack at the expense of his defensive duties – was much appreciated on Tyneside.

Yes, Newcastle were decidedly dodgy at the back, but with Albert producing wonderful goals against the likes of Wimbledon and Manchester United, it was difficult to be angry for long.

THAT lob over Peter Schmeichel also remains among the finest goals ever witnessed in the English top-flight.

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