Get 'im off!!!

To boo or not to boo that is the question that has been on everybody's lips in recent weeks. Is it disloyal to abuse your own players or are they fair game for the people who are ultimately their paymasters. Whatever your opinion giving players the bird is not a recent phenomenon among Magpie supporters.

The abuse has been heard when times are good. When Newcastle won the League championship in 1926/27, the final clinching match of the season was a boring 0-0 draw at home . The crowd who had seen United win every other game at SJP that season jeered the Champions off the pitch.

The abuse has been heard when times were bad. When United were relegated in 1979/80 were jeered ONTO the pitch for the final home game against Millwall (although this has been disputed by somebody else who was also at the match, maybe it was just the mind-bending drugs).

But whether times are good or bad individual players have always been singled out for abuse. Sometimes it is simply because their c***, but usually there is another factor involved. They are deemed not to be pulling their weight or they have replaced a crowd favourite or they are not as skilful as other members of the team.

Heroes often become villains as soon as their loyalty comes into question (usually as a result of a transfer request. Chris Waddle and Tommy Craig come into this category, but we have decided such players will not be allowed in our team.

Mike Hooper

The goalkeeper by historical expectation is one of the most likely targets of abuse due to the potential consequences of any mistakes they make. Therefore hearty congratulations to Mike Hooper for just beating the ever popular Steve Hardwick to a place in the team.

Mike Hooper - don't you just love that inane grin

Hooper arrived from Liverpool for 550,000 in September 1993 and most thought he was a good buy as he never seemed to let the Scousers down when deputising for Brucie. He displaced crowd favourite Srnicek who had his own problems when he first joined the club.

At first the omens were good but then came the change. The transition from Super Hooper to Blooper Hooper was far swifter than any movements made by the ginger giant. Shots from any distance could sail past him without any discernible effort from the titanic twitcher. Perhaps his eyes were distracted by a bird (of the feathered variety).

The abuse he received directly from the crowd and indirectly via the mail was so vehement that Keegan threatened to resign unless it stopped. But even KK would eventually lose patience with him.

It is thought that his lack of mobility became so great during the 1995/96 close season that he put on over 10 stone in weight and required 3 apprentices to extricate him from the dressing room door when he became wedged in it. Keegan responded by transfer listing him and buying the limbo dancing Shaka Hislop.

Warren Barton

The contenders for the right back slot were as follows. Charles Burgess' who according to Paul Joannou received some "typical terrace abuse" in his 12 month stay at the turn of the century. Ray Ranson, one of Jim Smith's old laggers who gradually worn over the crowd. But the place in the team goes to old "centre parting" himself.

Warren Barton suffered by comparison when he arrived on Tyneside; his ten yard first touch setting him apart from Keegan's team of all talents. But he is the perfect example of how the Newcastle supporters will always appreciate a player who displays commitment and passion. He never became a particularly good player, but he did become a hero.

John Ryan

On the left flank we considered Frank Clark and Mark Stimson, but felt that neither of these received the consistency of abuse as was afforded to John Ryan.

Ryan arrived on Tyneside at the start of the promotion season in a 225,000 transfer (United's record pay out at that time was 250,000). He was an England U21 International who was considered to be a future England cap, but a series of disastrous performances resulted in large sections of the crowd turning against him.

A wretched performance during the home game against Huddersfield saw him substituted to the delight of the crowd. The following season Jackie Charlton re-instated him in the team. However after five games he was dropped "He likes to play with the ball and I can't afford that with the back four that we have at the moment" said Charlton.

Bill Paterson

Albert Gosnell

Bill Paterson was signed for a substantial sum in October 1954. Crowd favourite, Frank Brennan was in dispute with the club and had barely played that season. United had conceded 29 goals in 12 matches and the 6' 1" stopper was handed "The Rock of Tyneside"'s number 5 shirt.

Paterson believed in guile rather than brawn, but he could not stem the flood of goals and the crowd did not take kindly to the "imposter" in the team.

He remained at the club for almost 4 years but rarely got an opportunity and left (and achieved great success) for Rangers.

Graham Oates

Oates was signed by Gordon Lee from his old club Blackburn in March 1976. According to Supermac Lee rated his 40,000 signing very highly. Before he signed him Lee was always telling the United players what a great player he was. Albert Gosnell

To be fair to Graham he didn't mess around trying to create a good first time impression. Supermac made special mention of him in his autobiography "he was so bad in his first training session, it was embarrassing."

The fans' first sight of him was even worse. Within four minutes of his home debut he rocketed a shot into his own net from all of 25 yards out.

Oates was a utility player in the John Cornwell mode, i.e. he could play in any position with equal incompetence. He was six foot two and well built but appeared reluctant to use either in his favour. As a result he never established himself in the side and was universally despised in the stand.

Tommy Gibb

Tommy Gibb

Tommy Gibb was signed for 45,000 by Joe Harvey in August 1968 as reserve cover. But injuries led to an immediate introduction to the side and he scored a 25 yard screamer on his home debut.

Indeed Harvey was so impressed that following his debut in the second game of the 1968/69 season Gibb appeared in a record 171 consecutive games.

But Harvey's opinions were not shared amongst the Gallowgate faithful for whom he was a regular target of their vitriol. The abuse was at its peak when United were struggling in season 1970/71. Gibb - a temperamental Scot - was so incensed by the crowd's behaviour that he vowed that he would rather quit soccer altogether than play at Gallowgate again.

Tommy Gibb

Manager Harvey suggested a compromise by which Gibb would only play in away games and as a result he was not picked for the friendly match against Sunderland on the 23rd January. However this was the only match he missed and he was actually the only ever present (in competitive games) that season.

Gibbo actually stuck it out until he went to Sunderland on a free in June 1975.

John King

One of many players who suffered at the voices of the crowd at the start of the century. He was at the club for 7 years from 1913 to 1920 after being signed from Partick Thistle but never established himself in the side.

One of a select band of players who was used as an emergency goalkeeper, he kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw. No doubt the unimpressed crowd would have criticised his distribution.

William Cowan

An inside forward rather than a right winger, but so what. Scotsman Cowan was signed from Dundee in July 1923 for 2,250. He helped United win the cup in 1924 and was capped by his country.

During the 1924/25 season he suffered a loss of form and the crowd were straight on his back and was quoted at the time as saying "I would rather drop into minor football than remain here". He eventually got his wish in 1929 via Manchester City and St Mirren.

Ronald Orr

Another Scotsman, Orr was at SJP for seven seasons between 1901 and 1908 and was a regular member of United's great Edwardian side. He was a bit of a shorta*** at only 5' 5", but weighed in at 11 and a half stone.

Ronald Orr

Despite United's successes during that era the Gallowgate regulars could be very critical and it was Orr more than anyone who received most of the stick when things were not quite going to plan.

His critics eventually forced him out and he was transferred to Liverpool for 350. In the 1909/10 season he got some revenge when he scored 4 goals in an amazing 6-5 Liverpool win over United. Newcastle had led 5-2 at half time with Albert Shepherd also claiming four.

John Tudor

John Tudor

Tudor was signed from Sheffield United as Harvey sought to replace the wantaway "Pop" Robson; and therein lay the problem. Robson was a quicksilver forward with a thunderous shot; Tudor was an honest grafter.

Despite scoring 5 goals in 16 appearances the crowd were not impressed with the new man and let him know it.

Tudor talked about his relationship with the crowd in the build up to the 1974 Cup Final. "The way the crowd got on at me when I first came here was really frightening. I am not the sort of player they take to, but they can do what they like now and it doesn't bother me"

John Tudor

"I am just not their sort of player. They idolise Jimmy Smith and Malcolm Macdonald because they have lots of individual skills, but people like me who have not got so much to offer in that respect - just a lot of effort and industry - don't always fit in".

Albert Gosnell

Albert Gosnell

Hugging the left touchline can bring you very close to your detractors as Laurent Robert has recently discovered. Others who have faced the hairdryer treatment from the assembled throng have included the enigmatic Ginola and the pathetic Fereday. But we award the position to Albert Arthur Gosnell.

Bert cost the princely sum of 10 when he was signed from Chatham in March 1904. The number eleven shirt was in the possession of the skilful and flamboyant Bobby Templeton. The following season United won the championship, Templeton was sold to Arsenal and Gosnell was drafted in. Gosnell was a completely different type of player: sturdy, consistent and a team player but without the silky skills of his predecessor.

Despite winning an England cap and helping United win two championships and reach two Cup Finals he was never accepted by the crowd who consistently barracked him and were delighted when he was sold to Tottenham in July 1910.