Newcastle United Football Club has a long and varied history in the English game. The Magpies have experienced more ups and downs than many clubs in the English top flight. Many players have graced the black and white shirt in the club’s history.
Here are the players who have appeared most in the history of the north east club:
Jimmy Lawrence (496 appearances from 1904–1922)
The goalkeeper joined the Magpies in 1904 from Hibernian and went on to play for the club for 18 years. Lawrence played a part in Newcastle’s most trophy-laden period, as he helped the Magpies win the First Division title in 1905, 1907 and 1909, as well as picking up an FA Cup winners medal in 1910. The Scot was also a runner-up in the FA Cup finals of 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911.
He also made one appearance for Scotland at international level in 1911 in a 1-1 draw against England at Everton’s Goodison Park.
Frank Hudspeth (472 appearances from 1910–1929)
The left-back played for Newcastle for 19 seasons and captained the team from 1923 until 1926. He was only demoted to vice-captain when Hughie Gallacher joined the club. He captained Newcastle as they became English champions in 1927 while also captaining his team to the 1924 FA Cup, having been part of the 1910 Magpies team that won the same competition.
Hudspeth was renowned for his ability to take penalty kicks, scoring 25 of his 37 spot kicks. The full-back’s only international appearance for England came in 1925.
Shay Given (463 appearances from 1997–2009)
The Irish goalkeeper joined the Magpies in 1997 from Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £1.5m. Given became a club stalwart featuring for the north east side for 12 years. The goalkeeper’s only silverware with the Magpies came in 2006 when he won the Intertoto Cup with the team from the north east. He was also a runner-up in the FA Cup with the Magpies in 1998.
On an individual basis, Shay Given was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2002 and 2006. Meanwhile, he also won the Newcastle Player of the Year in 2006.
At international level, Shay Given made 134 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, appearing at the 2002 World Cup and also Euro 2012.
Frank Clark (457 appearances from 1962–1975)
The full-back joined the Magpies in 1962 from Crook Town and became a mainstay of the Newcastle team for 13 seasons. The defender was part of the Magpies team that won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.
Despite spending the majority of his playing career at Newcastle, it was a four-year spell at Nottingham Forest that proved most fruitful for the full-back. Clark won the English First Division title, the European Cup, and the League Cup twice under the management of the great Brian Clough.
Bill McCracken (432 appearances from 1904–1924)
The Irish defender served the north east club for two decades after joining the Magpies in 1904 from Distillery. McCracken was an influential player for Newcastle, helping the Magpies become English champions on three occasions in seasons 1904–05, 1906–07 and 1908–09, as well as picking up an FA Cup winners’ medal in 1910.
McCracken was a leader on the pitch for both Newcastle and his national team, as he captained both during his long career. He officially made 16 international appearances for Ireland from 1902 until 1923.
Alf McMichael (431 appearances from 1949-63)
McMichael joined Newcastle in 1949 from Linfield and made 431 appearances, scoring just one goal in his time in the north east. The most significant achievement of McMichael’s Newcastle career came in 1952 when his team won the FA Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley in front of a reported 100,000 crowd. The victory made up for the fact that the Northern Irishman had missed the FA Cup final in the previous year.
McMichael was considered at the time one of the best British players in his position. He also made 40 appearances for Northern Ireland in his playing career.
David Craig (412 appearances from 1962-78)
Craig is another Northern Irish full-back to tread the well-trodden path to Newcastle Football Club. He joined the Magpies in 1962 and went on to make 412 appearances for the club from the north east.
The full-back played a part in Newcastle’s 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup win, where they defeated Hungarian outfit Ujpesti Dozsa 6-2 on aggregate in the final of the competition.
Bobby Mitchell (410 appearances from 1949-61)
Mitchell joined Newcastle in 1949 from Third Lanark in his native Scotland for £16,000. Nicknamed ‘Bobby Dazzler’, he became a hero amongst the St. James Park faithful for his wing wizardry. Mitchell won the FA Cup on three occasions in 1951, 1952 and 1955. The highlight of the winger’s Newcastle career was scoring in the 1955 final when the Magpies defeated Manchester City 3-1.
Mitchell enjoyed a good eye for goal with the club, scoring 113 career goals for the Magpies, which puts him seventh on the list of the club’s all-time goalscorers in all competitions.
Alan Shearer (405 appearances from 1996-2006)
Shearer returned to his hometown club in 1996 from Blackburn Rovers for a then world-record fee of £15m. The forward was worshipped at the club for his goalscoring abilities, as he scored 206 career goals with the Magpies. The goals took the former England international to the top of the list of the club’s all-time record goalscorers.
Unfortunately for Shearer, he never won silverware with his beloved Magpies. However, he picked up FA Cup runner-up medals in 1998 and 1999. Shearer won several individual awards with the club from the north east, including the PFA Players Player of the Year in 1997 and being named in the PFA Team of the Year in seasons 1995–96, 1996–97 and 2002–03.
Jackie Milburn (397 appearances from 1946-57)
The forward earned himself legendary status at Newcastle after joining the club in 1946. Milburn’s goals helped the north east club win the FA Cup on three occasions in 1950–51, 1951–52 and 1954–55. Milburn scored a brace in the 1951 final against Blackpool while scoring the opening goal in the 1955 final win over Manchester City.
The 200 goals scored in his Newcastle career were enough to put Milburn second to Shearer in the club’s list of all-time goalscorers. In 1987, Newcastle named their new west stand at St. James Park the ‘Milburn stand’. He was also inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006.