Newcastle United's top 30 players - Number 23

St James Park

We continue out countdown of the greatest 30 players to have worn the famous black-and-white shirt of the Magpies.

Whilst the number 24 in our countdown of the 30 greatest players to appear for Newcastle, Frank Clark, played well over 400 games in 13 years at the club, our number 23 is a mercurial talent whose time at St. James' Park was far briefer, but more explosive.

Flamboyant French midfielder David Ginola had made his name as one of the brightest stars of European football at Paris Saint-Germain, for whom he was the top goalscorer as they won only a second Ligue 1 title in 1994.

Named French footballer of the year that summer, the 28-year-old was widely expected to move to Spain to join either favourites for his signature Barcelona or Real Madrid, but instead joined Kevin Keegan's growing revolution on Tyneside, where he made a smooth transition to English football.

In his first season at the club he was an integral part of the Magpies side which at one point led the Premier League table by 12 points, only to eventually finish as runners-up to Manchester United.

As part of Keegan's free-flowing entertainers along with such teammates as Peter Beardsley and Faustino Asprilla, Ginola showed that he had not only the flair but the determination to succeed in the Premier League.

However, halfway through his second season at St. James' Park, Keegan, the man who had convinced Ginola to sign in the first place, was replaced by Kenny Dalglish, whose relationship with the Frenchman was far from perfect.

Despite Ginola's popularity with Newcastle fans, he was sold to Tottenham Hotspur in 1997, where he would win his only major English trophy, the 1999 League Cup, and become the first player for a club that finished outside the top four to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

Despite scoring just seven goals in two years on Tyneside, Ginola is fondly remembered as one of the most exciting talents in that most successful of modern Newcastle teams.

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