Sport Alan Shearer’s final game 16 years on: best Newcastle United strikers since iconic number nine’s retirement
Darren Ambrose on signing for Newcastle after meeting Alan Shearer in Jesmond restaurant
The former Newcastle United midfielder had reservations about joining the Magpies Sir Bobby Robson told the midfielder to get some food and return for negotiations, but it was a chance encounter with the Newcastle legend that convinced him to sign. Ambrose told talkSPORT: "When I first signed for Newcastle, I wasn't going to. I was young and I kind of wanted to go back to Ipswich and Bobby Robson said 'Go out, get some dinner and then come back and we'll discuss again - negotiate.
United’s all-time leading goalscorer bagged from the spot - his third career strike against Sunderland - to put his side 2-1 up and send the away end into raptures. Glenn Roeder’s men would go on to finish seventh - a feathave rarely achieved since.
A 14-year reign of disillusionment under Mike Ashley suppressed the Magpies’ potential, with the club bouncing between the bottom half of the top flight and the Championship. Other than Alan Pardew’s outlier season in 2011/12 - when United finished fifth - the starting line-up has failed to live up to the standards set during Shearer’s stint at St James’ Park.
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However, Toon supporters have occasionally been blessed with attacking talent to keep them entertained. ChronicleLive ranks the nine best strikers to represent Newcastle sincehung up his boots.
1. Demba Ba
Arguably the best pound-for-pound signing of the Mike Ashley era, Newcastle took a punt on Ba despite his failed medical at Stoke a few months earlier. The gamble paid off, as the Senegalese striker netted 16 goals to help secure a surprise fifth-place finish in 2012.
His partnership with Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa formed a devastating trio that obliterated defences in the second half of the campaign. Despite the Magpies’ poor showing the following year, Ba continued to score goals but left to join Chelsea after his £7million release clause was triggered.
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It is a shame that Ba did not stay at Newcastle as he could have become an all-time great.
2. Loic Remy
After rejecting a move to Newcastle the previous January, Remy joined on loan from Championship outfit QPR. A short-term fix to fill the void left by Ba, the Frenchman’s goals single-handedly dragged the Magpies to a 10th-placed finish.
Ironically, he too left to join Chelsea the following season and saw his game time limited. Remy is still plying his trade for Turkish outfit Adana Demirspor.
3. Callum Wilson
Wilson would probably be higher on the list if injury troubles had not plagued his two-year stint on Tyneside so far. The current number nine scored a respectable 12 goals in a side bereft of creativity under Steve Bruce last season to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
His all-round game combined with a hunger for goals makes him a handful for defenders. Wilson could still have a pivotal role to play in the post-takeover years.
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4. Papiss Cisse
For five months, Newcastle looked as though they had unearthed a superstar. An unprecedented goalscoring run gave that 2011/12 side the boost needed to cement a European spot.
Cisse produced a highlight reel of his own, with the pick of the bunch his stunning ‘banana shot’ strike at Stamford Bridge. He failed to rediscover his initial form but still contributed to huge moments during his stint on Tyneside. Who could forget his last-minute winner against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League?
5. Andy Carroll
Carroll makes this list for his first spell as a Newcastle player. Toon fans thought the 6ft 3in Geordie was the perfect man to carry on the legacy Shearer had left. When he burst on through the academy in the late 00s, the Gateshead-born striker had all the attributes to become a legendary Magpies number nine.
A tall, imposing Geordie who was fierce in the air and possessed a venomous shot, Carroll could have - and should have - gone down as a club icon. A £35million move to Liverpool in 2011 soured his relationship with supporters and his career failed to take off.
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Numerous injuries curtailed his talents and, when Carroll returned to the Magpies on a free transfer eight years later, he was a shell of the player he once was. Shame.
6. Dwight Gayle
It is easy to forget just how important Gayle has been to Newcastle in recent years. While players further down the list are arguably more talented, the 23 goals he scored in the 2016/17 Championship season elevates him above the rest.
Rafa Benitez placed his trust - and the number nine shirt - on Gayle and the move paid dividends. He has failed to showcase the same goalscoring threat at Premier League level but is still a worthy mention and deserves recognition for his heroics on Tyneside.
7. Salomon Rondon
Another loan signing, Rondon initially struggled to make an impact under Benitez. However, the Venezuelan soon adapted and was the focal point of a three-pronged attack alongside Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez.
Rondon bagged 11 goals to more than play his part in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League. The formidable trio were split up the following year, with Perez moving to Leicester and Rondon reuniting with Benitez in China.
8. Peter Lovenkrands
Signed him on a free, from Germany!
Lovenkrands could challenge Ba for the title of best pound-for-pound signing of the Ashley era. The Dane arrived on Tyneside with a strong pedigree, having played for Schalke and holding legendary status at Rangers.
His 13 goals in the 2009/10 Championship-winning campaign were vital to securing promotion back to the big time. After Carroll’s departure in January 2011, Lovenkrands chipped in with several crucial strikes to keep the club ticking along until the summer.
9. Aleksandar Mitrovic
He may be a marmite character among supporters, but one thing is for sure - Mitrovic loved wearing the black-and-white shirt. Astonishingly, the nutty Serbian was just 21-years-old when he joined the Magpies; he bagged nine goals in his debut season, but could not keep the club in the division.
A late equaliser against Sunderland stopped the six-in-a-row rot and inspired wild celebrations around St James’ Park. The strike remains the last goal scored in the Tyne-Wear derby.
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