Andy Cole Manchester United

Five players to play for Manchester United and Newcastle United

Rival fans are quick to stomp on the integrity of the League/Carabao Cup, but Geordies flooding Trafalgar Square and butterflies in Manchester tummies suggest otherwise.

In context, this could prove to be a gargantuan fixture for both sets of fans. Newcastle are desperate to claim their first trophy in 54 years since the European Fairs Cup in 1969.

Where Manchester United are looking to hoist a piece of silverware for the first time in 6 years; last coming close in a dramatic penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in the Europa League Final in 2021 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A win at Wembley could form a significant marker in either side’s journey into a new era under their respective managers, but let’s take a look back at five of their former employees to have donned both shirts in the not-so-distant past.

Nicky Butt

Arguably the most underrated fledgling to have spawned from Manchester United’s famous ‘Class of 92’, it’s easy to forget just how good Nicky Butt was in his pomp.

Current manager Erik Ten Hag provided a delightful snippet following the late signing of Casemiro; reasoning that he would be the ‘cement between the stones’ to provide the solidity his midfield needed. Before Claude Makelele could officialise and re-brand that role into his own, Premier League stalwarts like David Batty and Nicky Butt did it instead.

In 12 years in Manchester, the lovingly named ‘Butty’ had won everything he could have dreamed of. Including that fabled Champions League triumph in ‘99 – a match in which he featured thanks to the suspension of Roy Keane. In the years after however, the aforementioned Irishman and other changes of tact in midfield reduced his role even further. A transfer request was noticed by a certain Sir Bobby Robson in 2004.

Injuries marred his first few seasons, but his maturity and experience proved invaluable to a variety of managers in over a tonne of appearances on Tyneside. He even served as their captain for the 2009/10 season, which was a fitting round-off to an enviable career.

Alan Smith

Ironically, that same season Nicky Butt wore the armband for Newcastle, Alan Smith was promoted to the role of vice-captain to pick up wherever his teammate left off.

This was during a time where his playing career regressed into a central midfield role not too dissimilar to what the likes of Butt became known for. But was a far cry from the bright, brash striker Manchester United took a chance on almost twenty years ago.

He arrived in the summer from Leeds United after they were relegated at the end of the 2003/04 season; a decision which was never going to go down well with their fan base.

To this day, he denies any deliberate desire to ruffle any Elland Road feathers on his way out. Instead suggesting that Manchester United’s immediate commitment to paying the £7 million fee was too much to turn down for the financially-ravaged club.

Whatever the reason, he did join United and helped them back on the righteous ‘put faith in the young lads’ path that had led them to their success in the first place.

Michael Owen

Ah, Michael Owen. The ‘other player’ in that Gabriel Obertan photo.

Both sets of supporters feel like they have a good reason to be perturbed by the image of Michael Owen in their colours. Manchester United for his prior association with arch-rivals Liverpool, and Newcastle for his allegedly disassociated attitude while playing for them.

His love for Liverpool however, is absolutely unequivocal. A point he makes clear in his autobiography ‘Reboot’. Within which, he makes it clear that while a choice to join Real Madrid was too good to turn down, he always pined to go back to Anfield where possible.

A return did seem on the cards in 2005, but Newcastle came ready with a £15 million record bid to dwarf Liverpool’s measly £12 million. The powers at be had made their decision and he moved up north. Injuries and dressing room drama took care of the rest.

That famous late-minute winner in the Manchester Derby is enough for the red fans to like him, and also to grant him his one and only Premier League winners’ medal.

Gabriel Obertan

Do you remember Gabriel Obertan? Let us refresh your memory. He’s the one in the picture of Luis Antonio Valencia and another player (also on this list) who arrived at Manchester United the same summer that Cristiano Ronaldo left.

Suffice to say, he failed to live up to much of the promise displayed in his prior spell with Bordeaux – without a single key goal in two years in Manchester to his name.

He managed a couple more in almost three times’ as many seasons as a Newcastle United player having moved for a fee believed to be around £3 million in 2011. Joining in an era of other French stars to don those famous black and white stripes, his name is one which isn’t remembered as fondly as the likes of Moussa Sissoko or Hatem Ben Arfa.

A move into obscurity soon followed since losing his place in the 2014/15 season, and he can now be seen plying his trade in America. In the second tier.

Andy Cole

A man who needs no introduction, though could do with a mention in more top-level conversations as to who was the ‘best’ striker in Premier League history.

Scoring 187 goals in 414 games was enough to grant Andy Cole an induction into the inaugural Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s also a tally which keeps him in the top four of goalscorers since its inception. Behind only: Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and fellow Newcastle United hero (though they never played together), Alan Shearer.

5 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups and that Champions League win was highly correlated with Andy Cole’s best performances as a topflight footballer, which had to follow an ignominious exit from Kevin Keegan’s ‘entertaining’ Newcastle side in 1995.

Nevertheless, more than 50 goals in 70 games had taken them higher than most could have expected in two years. And though it’s difficult to remove that famous association with the team from Manchester, his impact in this period cannot be understated.

Read – Iconic Performances: Arsenal legend Bergkamp scores THAT hat-trick at Leicester

Read Also – Eight of the most memorable games between Man Utd and Barcelona

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