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Milburn, Supermac, Cole and Shearer... Newcastle now must find the next No 9 legend

24 Apr 2010 01:15:40

Milburn, Supermac, Cole and Shearer... Newcastle now must find the next No 9 legend

He first wore the coveted Newcastle United No 9 shirt in the days when fans believed it still belonged to Jackie Milburn and Jackie Milburn only. But a hat-trick on his home debut against Liverpool in 1971 and Malcolm Macdonald, alias Supermac, knew he had won a place in Geordie hearts forever. Master blaster: Macdonald's 1970s goalscoring exploits thrilled the Toon Army The achievements of Wor Jackie and Macdonald have since been surpassed by Alan Shearer, the local hero who returned to break the club's goalscoring records and make the shirt his own. But as one of its most famous owners, Macdonald knows, with the shadow of Shearer still hanging over St James' Park, that Championship winners Newcastle have so far failed to find a man good enough to fill one of the most iconic shirts in English football. Macdonald recalls the day he was handed it by manager Joe Harvey, following a £180,000 move from Luton. 'I walked into the dressing room and Joe said, "I've been saving this for you, son". There was an intake of breath from the lads and silence around the room. They knew the significance of what I was taking on. 'Everyone made a big thing about the shirt and what it meant to the area and the fans and what was required to fill it. They still talked about Hughie Gallacher and Milburn (right) and the people who had failed to live up to it. 'So I knew from the start what it meant and that people were not really going to judge me as a footballer but simply on how many goals I scored. Super Shearer: The club's and the Premier League's record goalscorer 'And that suited me fine. I had an inherent belief I would score goals and I didn't make myself out to be a footballer. What I could guarantee was that I would score a bucketful of goals.' But Macdonald's successful career, cruelly ended by a knee injury at the age of 30 after he had moved to Arsenal, came through hard work. And the forward, capped 14 times by England, believes local lad Andy Carroll could one day wear 'Shearer's shirt' - if Newcastle fail to land a suitable striker this summer. Macdonald said: 'Every day, I spent an hour with Pop Robson working onscoring goals, even on days off. The problem we had was finding akeeper and someone to cross the balls. HEADER HERE HUGHIE GALLACHER The 5ft 6in Scot joined from Airdrie for £5,500 and inspired Newcastle to the 1927 championship in his first season, scoring 36 goals in 38 games, which remains a club record. In all he scored 387 goals in 541 league games. He joined Chelsea after three seasons but had a turbulent private life and threw himself under a train in 1957. JACKIE MILBURN Instrumental in Newcastle's three FA Cup victories of 1951, 1952 and 1955, Milburn was regarded as the greatest player in the club's history - until Alan Shearer came along. His Newcastle career spanned 14 years, during which he scored 200 goals. He left in 1957 to join Belfast club Linfield as player-coach. MALCOLM MACDONALD The one and only Supermac joined for £180,000 from Luton and scored a hat-trick against Liverpool on his home debut. He was top scorer for five seasons before joining Arsenal for £333,333 and scoring 42 goals in 84 games. His career ended at 30 with a knee injury. He went on to manage Fulham and is now a pundit for Real Radio. ANDREW COLE Bought by Kevin Keegan from Bristol City for a club record £1.75million in 1993, Cole scored 34 goals in 40 games during Newcastle's first Premier League season as they finished third and qualified for the UEFA Cup. He scored 41 goals in all competitions, breaking Hughie Gallacher's 70-year-old record. In all, Cole hit 68 goals in 84 games but was sold in a controversial deal to Manchester United for £6m and the £1m-rated Keith Gillespie. LES FERDINAND Another Keegan signing, bought from QPR for £6m, 'Sir Les' scored 29 goals in his first season, 1995-96, as Newcastle came within touching distance of the title. He partnered Shearer the following season - handing over the No 9 shirt in the process - and finished second again before moving on to Tottenham. ALAN SHEARER OBE The club's and the Premier League's record goalscorer and the No 9. The £15m man turned down Manchester United for a second time to return home but despite his influence and his goals, failed to win silverware. His career ended in a victory at Sunderland. He quit his Match of the Day role to become Newcastle manager for the last eight games of last season but was unable to guide the club to Premier League safety and secure the job full-time. Has now returned to the TV studio. 'There are not many strikers out there Newcastle could afford and are ready to take on the shirt and the responsibility. It's a big weight to carry. 'I hope Carroll is man enough to say he wants it because that is half the battle, but he is a long way off being ready. The raw potential is there but I am not sure about his first touch. 'He also has a balance issue and if that is not addressed he will look out of place in the Premier League. 'There is a massive gulf between the Championship and the Premier League and he has to be prepared to work at his game and decide whether he wants to play at the very top. There is no reas o n wh y h e should not target the 2014 World Cup finals. 'I was told I needed three brilliant seasons for Sir Alf Ramsey to even recognise the fact I existed. It is not quite so hard nowadays, but you have to have something special to catch Capello's eye and Andy Carroll will only get that through hard work. 'So far he has not worked hard enough on the basics. He is immobile in the box, doesn't score goals on the run from crosses, even though he is great in the air, and doesn't beat people and then strike the ball. He might read this, scratch his head and think, "There is nothing wrong with my game", but there is nothing wrong with working at it, either.' Newcastle will equal a feat they last achieved 103 years ago if they can avoid defeat by Roy Keane's Ipswich today and finish a league season unbeaten at home. But club historian Paul Joannou believes the current squad may not be able to match the overall achievements of a side d u b b e d T h e Edwardian Masters and regarded as the best in Newcastle's history - surpassing even Milburn's triple FA Cup winners of the 1950s. He said: 'They were one of the greatest sides in English history and won the league three times and the FA Cup five and were like the Barcelona or Arsenal of that era, famous for their style of short passing and possession. 'It was a team full of characters and great players. Bill Appleyard, a tank of a man and former trawlerman from Grimsby, powered in the goals for an otherwise refined side. 'There was winger Jack Rutherford, a local lad they called the Newcastle Flyer; Finlay Speedie, a versatile Scot; Jimmy Lawrence, one of the greatest keepers to play for the club; and Colin Veitch, who really led the team and went on to become a journalist for the Chronicle and a playwright. 'They were determined to emulate the successful Sunderland team of the 1890s and did it with a fantastic group of players.' Keane, meanwhile, has stoked the flames ahead of his return to St James' Park, where he was sent off as a Manchester United player after taking on Shearer in 2002, and lost as Sunderland manager. The now Ipswich boss famously banned a city centre bus tour when he won the Championship on Wearside and insists he cannot see what all the fuss is about as Newcastle prepare to collect the trophy today. He said: 'I honestly don't think they should be having a party. I don't think there is anything to celebrate. I won the same league with Sunderland three years ago and when they asked me about a parade I nearly threw up. 'Let's face it, clubs like Newcastle and Sunderland should always be up there. It is no surprise that Newcastle are champions. I thought it was guaranteed. 'They have the best players, the mos t expe r i - enced players. 'They are physically very strong and they have that fantastic support. 'They can party all they want but they should really be focusing on next season.'  Spurs No 10, Chelsea No 25, United No 7, West Ham No 6 and Newcastle No 9: So what's the iconic shirt at your club?Newcastle striker Best turns down the chance to wear iconic No 9 shirtAs THE No 9 becomes boss No 9, here's Newcastle's recent managers


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