Here I am going to try to dissect the two sides and, with your help, try to come up with an answer for that question. Are the romantic memories of the Keegan side that won promotion back in 1993 clouding our view of the set of players we have now? Or is the current team stronger in some more vital areas?
I think from an achievement point of view then obviously the 1993 side trumps it, although the current side should not go without any merits. In fact in many ways the achievement of both teams are very similar. Whilst the current side looks like gaining more points than the 1993 side did, some will point to the fact that we should as our current squad contains more players that have played in the Premier League, get paid a lot more, and as such the expectation of a promotion charge is greater than that of the team of ’93 who were the great over-achievers in some ways.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story and it’s easy to overlook just what this team were faced with after relegation last year. Whilst trying to prepare for this season, not knowing who would be owner, not knowing if they were to be next out if the door, not knowing who the manager was, the reaction of the fans, what the opposition would be like etc. Many, many tests which, to their credit, they have passed with flying colours. On the other hand, the team of ’93 had only just escaped relegation to the third tier of English football the season previously and expectations of mounting a promotion challenge were in the back of the minds of many. We got off to a flying start, the belief flooded through the team and before you know it we were promoted to the Premier League playing a brand of football that was very pleasing on the eye, although sometimes we could be a little ropey at the back.
Anyway, this isn’t about circumstance so let’s get it back to where it matters, which is on the pitch. Lets have a look at each team-sheet to start with:
Newcastle United 1993 – Pavel Srnicek, John Beresford, Steve Howey, Barry Venison, Kevin Scott, Lee Clark, Rob Lee, Gavin Peacock, Kevin Sheedy, David Kelly, Andy Cole.
Newcastle United 2010 – Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Peter Lovenkrands.
So that is what I would say are our two best teams from their respective era’s, which of course is a question open for debate itself. But which team is better?
My own personal opinion is that this current team is better ability wise and when comparing league tables it also shows we are harder to beat, this time around we have only lost four games compared to eight back in 1993. I just think that the team this time around would be too hard to break down, and even if they did go behind they have the fight about them to get themselves back level. For all of the attacking flair and style that the 1993 side had they were still sometimes vulnerable in the very same league we are plying our trade in now.
Of course football is very different to what it was 17 years ago and whilst we may not have been as entertaining this season, we have certainly proved just as effective, possibly even more effective, and I still reckon that this team would beat the previous promotion winning team.
The debate is on…