Top 5 Man Utd and Newcastle links includes England hero

Manchester United and Newcastle have the honour of opening the third Premier League weekend, with the pair doing battle at Old Trafford in the early Saturday kick-off.

There have been some memorable moments in previous games between the duo, Wayne Rooney’s thumping volley from outside the box and Philippe Albert’s exquisite lob ranking as two of the best.

Beyond the match-action though, the two clubs have shared some splendid players too and, in celebrating the upcoming clash that United are 1/3 to win, with Newcastle the 17/2 outsiders, we’ve listed the top five below:

1) Andy Cole

After racking up 55 league goals in just 70 games for the Magpies and helping them win the 1992/93 First Division, Sir Alex Ferguson splashed out £7m on the man now known as Andrew in January of the 1994/95 season. At the time, Cole’s sale made him the most expensive British player around.

In just 18 games that term, Cole repaid the faith shown in him by scoring 12 times in the league, including five in a 9-0 rout of Ipswich.

Cole spent a further six seasons at Old Trafford before moving to Blackburn in December 2001. In total he 121 all-competition goals for the Red Devils, collected five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League crown.

2) Nicky Butt

A product of United’s famous academy and a member of the Class of 92, Butt became an Old Trafford and England regular during the peak of his career, collecting six Premier League titles among a hoard of honours.

He asked to leave his boyhood club in January 2004 after finding fellow youth-team product Phil Neville preferred to him in central midfield. The following summer, Bobby Robson signed him for Newcastle for £2.5m and Butt went on to skipper the club in their 2009/10 promotion campaign from the Championship.

3) Keith Gillespie

Gillespie moved from United, his first professional club, to Newcastle as a £1m component of the deal that took Cole in the opposite direction.

Although he had shown flashes of talent at Old Trafford, it was at St James’ Park where the Northern Irishman flourished, making 113 appearances for the Geordie outfit and scoring 11 goals.

4) Michael Owen

A storied career at Liverpool took Owen to Real Madrid but, after one season, the England star was sold to Newcastle.

His time on Tyneside wasn’t exactly happy, with injuries ensuring the striker never played more than 29 games in a league campaign during his spell there and he managed just 26 goals in 71 outings.

By his own admission, the 2009/10 switch to Manchester United came out of the blue although it was equally as unsuccessful. He scored five league goals in 31 games for the Red Devils before seeing out his career with Stoke.

5) Peter Beardsley

Beardsley was released by hometown Newcastle as a teenager and ended up a £250k purchase of Ron Atkinson’s at Manchester United early in his career.

Only one senior appearance for the Red Devils followed however and, after a short stint in Canada, eventually ended back at the Toon.

Across two spells with the club Beardlsey racked up 276 appearances for the black and whites, scoring an impressive 108 goals.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.