IF Newcastle claim at least a point at Manchester City today they will set a new club record for remaining unbeaten in the opening 12 games of a league campaign. The club have made it to 11 matches on three previous occasions - 1950, 1992 and 1994 - with the last of those sides being the celebrated ‘Entertainers' that played under Kevin Keegan. Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson compares the current first-choice line up to the side they will look to eclipse this afternoon


Pavel was a Geordie, according to the much-loved terrace anthem, and having been signed by Ossie Ardiles in 1990, the Czech international was firmly ensconced as Newcastle's number one by the start of the 1994-95 campaign.

An accomplished shot-stopper and an extrovert who loved to command his box, Srnicek kept Mike Hooper out of the side during the Magpies' unbeaten run and played the vast majority of games in the remainder of the season. He left the club in 1997, but made an emotional return to solve an injury crisis in 2006.

Tim Krul is still in the embryonic stage of his career, but having leapt ahead of Steve Harper in the pecking order, the 23-year-old is rapidly emerging as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.

His stellar performance in October's 2-1 win at Wolves was one of the stand-out displays from Newcastle's opening 11 games, and he will have to be at his best for the Magpies to claim anything today.

Dream Team: Pavel Srnicek


The 1994-95 campaign was Swiss full-back Marc Hottiger's finest season in a black-and-white shirt. He played in all but one game of the unbeaten run, and went on to make a total of 51 appearances in all competitions before the end of the campaign.

He could overlap when required, but tended to add some solidity to the Entertainers line-up before the arrival of Warren Barton saw him gradually shuffled to the sidelines.

In many ways, Danny Simpson is a similar player to Hottiger, energetic, reliable but perhaps slightly devoid of flair.

Like the rest of the back four, the former Manchester United trainee has played in every league game this season and his ability to shut down opposition wingers has been a key facet of Newcastle's defensive strength.

Dream Team: Danny Simpson


‘Phillipe, Phillipe Albert - everyone knows his name' - well they did at the start of the 1994-95 season as the cultured centre-half kicked off his Newcastle career with a string of accomplished displays.

Always comfortable with the ball at his feet, Albert will forever be remembered for the chip over Peter Schmeichel in the following season's 5-0 win. In all, he made more than 140 appearances for Newcastle and now runs a fruit and vegetable business in his native Belgium.

Fabricio Coloccini took time to settle into life in English football, but the £10m man has certainly found his feet in the current campaign.

More imposing than Albert, but just as comfortable in possession, Coloccini has delivered a series of captain's performances to help Newcastle claim the best defensive record in the top-flight.

Dream Team: Fabricio Coloccini

DARREN PEACOCK vs Steven Taylor

He might not have been the most polished defender ever to wear the black-and-white stripes, but Darren Peacock proved a valuable acquisition following his £2.7m signing from QPR.

The long-haired centre-half started ten of the opening 11 games in 1994 and provided much of the steel to complement Albert's more stylish approach.

Steven Taylor can be regarded as Peacock's successor in that he too relishes the ugly side of the game, winning headers against imposing centre-forwards and repeatedly throwing his body on the line to make a block.

Raised as a Geordie, Taylor provides a strong emotional link between supporters and team, and his displays this season have been as good as any he has produced for the club.

Dream Team: Steven Taylor


Part of the side that won promotion to the top-flight in 1993, John Beresford is fondly remembered as one of the best Newcastle left-backs from the modern era.

His rampaging runs down the flank were a key constituent of the Entertainers' attacking play, and he went on to make more than 200 appearances during his six years on Tyneside. He remains a familiar face thanks to his North-East media work.

Ryan Taylor was not even regarded as a left-back before the start of the current campaign, but he has been the surprise success story of the last three months.

He has chipped in with crucial goals against Sunderland and Everton, and proved unexpectedly assured and resilient in defence.

Dream Team: John Beresford


Ruel Fox had moved to St James' Park at the start of 1994, but the 1994-95 campaign was to prove his most successful on Tyneside and by the end of the season, only Srnicek had played more.

Occasionally inconsistent, on his day the diminutive winger was one of the most effective wide men in the top-flight, taking on full-backs and serving up a succession of opportunities for the Newcastle attack.

Gabriel Obertan only moved to Tyneside in the summer, but the Frenchman has quickly established himself as an important component of Alan Pardew's first-choice midfield.

He is not as direct as Fox, but his work rate is arguably more impressive and he has provided valuable cover to Simpson at right-back.

Dream Team: Ruel Fox


The deep-lying midfield role was probably the only position that Keegan was never really sure how to fill during the 1994-95 season. Steve Watson spent some time there, but despite previously being known as a full-back, Barry Venison gradually made the slot his own.

His experience as a defender helped him break up opposition attacks, and his performances were so impressive they earned him an unexpected England call-up from Terry Venables.

Cheik Tiote is a more natural holding midfielder, and his importance to Newcastle's current style of play is massive.

The Ivory Coast international is arguably the most athletic player in the Magpies squad, with his energy enabling him to dominate the area between both penalty boxes. Struggling with a knee injury, he will be missed at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

Dream Team: Cheik Tiote


Having started his Newcastle career as a right winger, Robert Lee was firmly established as an effective attacking midfielder by the time the 1994-95 season rolled around.

His performances in the opening 11 matches were uniformly superb, and he claimed seven goals from a midfield position as the Magpies swept all before them. Widely accepted as one of Newcastle's best attacking midfielders from the last two decades, Lee made more than 250 appearances before departing in 2002.

Yohan Cabaye has made an instant impact since moving to Tyneside in a £4.3m switch from French champions Lille this summer.

Cultured in possession but also positionally sound, the France international has sparked a series of effective attacks and brought the house down with a late winner against Wigan last month.

Dream Team: ROBERT LEE

SCOTT SELLARS vs Jonas Gutierrez

Scott Sellars started all 11 games in Newcastle's 1994 run, but he lost his place in the side before the end of the season and eventually left Tyneside in December 1995.

An assured ball player, who wasn't always the most physically secure, Sellars is best remembered for his performances in the promotion campaign of 1992-93, and will always be synonymous with his free-kick winner against Sunderland.

Jonas Gutierrez is a different type of winger to Sellars, less likely to ghost outside a full-back, but more adept at tracking back to give his full-back some protection.

He has been ultra-consistent in the opening 11 games, and chipped in with an eye-catching strike in last month's 2-1 win at Molineux. His best display probably came at Stoke, though, as he worked himself into the ground during a 3-1 win.



An all-time Newcastle legend, Peter Beardsley is a rare example of a player who was as good during his second spell at a club as he had been in his first.

He was 32 when he rejoined the Magpies, but his displays in the 1994-95 campaign were uniformly magnificent and he scored some crucial goals in the unbeaten run, most notably a decisive penalty at Arsenal and the winner in a tight 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Leon Best is a much more orthodox centre-forward than Beardsley, but he has scored three goals to help Newcastle remain unbeaten this term.

His August double against Fulham silenced the doubters who were questioning his place in the side, and he has quickly struck up an effective partnership with Demba Ba.



Andy Cole was the most celebrated striker in England at the start of the 1994-95 campaign, having scored a record-breaking 41 goals in all competitions during the previous season.

He carried on where he had left off, scoring five goals in the opening five matches - all of which Newcastle won - and claimed the decisive goal against Sheffield Wednesday as the Magpies made it 11 games unbeaten. However, his time on Tyneside was numbered, as he would leave in controversial fashion the following January.

Demba Ba has similar strengths to Cole in that he is strong, agile and exceptionally alert within the 18-yard box.

His goalscoring record in the opening 11 games is even better, as he has found the net on eight occasions and claimed hat-tricks against both Blackburn and Stoke.

Dream Team: ANDY COLE


Newcastle United Dream Team (4-4-2): Srnicek; Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Beresford; Fox, Tiote, Lee, Gutierrez; Beardsley, Cole.