Newcastle United's top 30 players - Number 29

We continue our countdown of the 30 greatest Magpies.

Our countdown of the 30 greatest Newcastle United players continues with another fan favourite, after Philippe Albert at number 30, with the number 29 spot going to a former star with a tragic story.

Signed by then-Magpies manager Jim Smith from Banik Ostrava in 1991, Czech goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek initially struggled on Tyneside under Smith's replacement Ossie Ardiles in his early career at the club.

He impressed new manager Kevin Keegan, however, and took over as first-choice stopper midway through the 1992-93 season, becoming a key cornerstone of the side that won promotion to the Premier League.

Srnicek then became an integral part of Keegan's side that nearly won the Premier League title in 1996, becoming the club's-serving foreign player by staying with the Magpies for nearly eight years, racking up a total of 190 appearances.

The stopper, who won 49 caps for the Czech Republic and was part of the squad which reached the final of Euro 96, returned to England in the twilight of his career, spending brief stints with Portsmouth and West Ham United and making a fleeting return to Newcastle in 2006-07.

Taken in by Newcastle fans as an adopted Geordie, Srnicek had returned to Tyneside last December to promote his autobiography 'Pavel is a Geordie' when he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst out jogging from which he never recovered, dying nine days later at the age of just 47.

He is best remembered as a cult hero and fine player on his day with former Magpies teammate Peter Beardsley once stating: "I played with Peter Shilton, Neville Southall, and Bruce Grobbelaar - some of the very best keepers. But in terms of fitness and sharpness, Pav was probably the best that I have ever played with."

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