As stars for The Entertainers, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola are remembered fondly in Newcastle United’s history.
Kevin Keegan’s return to Newcastle United, this time as a manager, got the club back on track beginning in the 1992-93 season in Division One. After a third-place finish in the 1993-94 debut Premier League season and a sixth-place finish in 1994-95, the Magpies finished second on the table in 1995-96. Despite giving away a comfortable lead atop the table, it was still a positive season for Keegan’s Entertainers. Two key factors during that 95-96 season were a pair of 28-year-old newcomers: Les Ferdinand and David Ginola. We continue our series on historic NUFC duos with this entertaining pair.
Each player arrived during that summer from a club in their home country with Ginola coming to Tyneside by way of Paris Saint Germain and Ferdinand joining from Queens Park Rangers.
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Ginola, a skillful midfielder on the ball, scored five goals in the 95-96 Premier League run while Ferdinand, a true striker, netted a remarkable 25 goals in 37 matches. In the historic 4-3 loss vs. Liverpool, each player scored one goal and Les added an assist. Ferdinand’s numbers were good enough for third on the top scorers in the Premier League that season, behind Robbie Fowler and some guy named Alan Shearer, who was playing for Blackburn. For their elite performances, Ferdinand and Ginola were named to the PFA Team of the Year, along with teammate Rob Lee.
Also a member of that Team of the Year, Shearer would join the Magpies ahead of the 96-97 season, adding his remarkable scoring record to the tandem of Ginola and Ferdinand. With Keegan departing midseason, Ginola did not enjoy the same success in the Premier League, finishing with just one goal. Ferdinand, playing alongside Shearer, scored 16 goals in league play. The UEFA Cup that season saw Ferdinand find the net four times in four matches as Ginola added a goal in his seven appearances.
Both players would leave Newcastle United in 1997 to join Tottenham Hotspurs and continue their quality partnership and top performance in the Premier League.