Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole never shared a dressing room at Newcastle United.
At different times, however, they have shared the same dream. Both believed they could win the Premier League while Newcastle players when it was far from fanciful notion.
But neither of the Premier League’s top two leading goalscorers think their old team has even the slimmest chance of becoming champions of England any time soon.
Cole said: “Newcastle United aren’t going to win the Premier League, only three or four teams can win the league now. Football has changed and Newcastle used to be a lot closer.
“Kevin Keegan’s team had a fantastic opportunity. Manchester United just edged them one year and they’ve gone backwards since then.
“Apathy is something I’ve never associated with Newcastle. To be told their biggest crowd of the season is for a testimonial match is a huge surprise and it’s worrying for them.
“Newcastle have got a decent first- choice team, but the game is about getting injuries and suspensions, players coming in and out of the side. The best clubs have the best squads. They have competition for places.
“You’ve got to have some sense of ambition. You’ve got to try and bring new players in to keep the players already here on their toes and to raise standards.”
Cole didn’t hold back on where he thought the blame lay.
He said: “It’s a rock and a hard place at Newcastle at the moment. They seem to get themselves on the right track and all of a sudden someone here derails them.
“The punters were fairly happy a couple of years ago, the team was moving in the right direction and then decisions are made at the top which throw a spanner in the works. It’s almost as if somebody running the club wants to upset the punters and I find that very strange.
“If you keep the punters on board here, it’s half the battle. If you upset them, they’re going to eventually vote with their feet because there is only so much they can take.”
From one No 9 to THE No 9. It takes a lot for Shearer to say anything negative about the club.
But when asked when his team will be back challenging at the top, he said: “It takes an incredible amount of money to get there.
“You’ve seen what Spurs have spent, albeit they got it back with Gareth Bale money and Newcastle haven’t got anything like that. You have seen what Chelsea, City, Manchester United and, Arsenal have spent, and Newcastle can’t compete with them anymore, unfortunately.
“The aim now is to try to win a trophy, be it the FA Cup or the League Cup, and to stay in the Premier League. It might be a while before you see Newcastle challenging again for a top four place, which is a shame because the fans here deserve it.”
Shearer doesn’t like saying anything about his club, but admitted to being surprise more wasn’t done during the window. He said: “I kept on listening to Alan Pardew saying he wanted some players and the club were confident of bringing some in. Reading between the lines, I expected a player or two to come in. I haven’t got a clue why they didn’t.”
Both Cole and Shearer were speaking after Steve Harper’s Charity Night. The players on show were older, slower and some were fatter, but they also reminded people of better days.
Shearer said: “That 1996 team may be the best any Newcastle fan sees in his lifetime. That’s an era the fans loved. They enjoyed being entertained and that is just what that team did. It could be a long time before that happens again.”
And Cole was greeted like a long lost son, rather than someone who left for you know who while he was on his way to becoming a Geordie icon.
Cole said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, but I’ve normally had stick when I’ve come back with my other clubs. Kevin took the decision to sell me, I obliged, I think it benefited both parties because they went on to buy Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer.”
Those were the days.