NEWCASTLE United’s class of 2012 are writing themselves into Geordie folklore – and Alan Pardew couldn’t be prouder of his players.
The club edged closer to the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Stoke City at St James’s Park on Saturday.
Yohan Cabaye underlined his undoubted class with two strikes and an assist for Papiss Demba Cisse, pictured, whose strike took his remarkable goal tally for the season to 11.
And Hatem Ben Arfa, so influential in Newcastle’s late-season run into the Premier League’s top four, had a hand in Cabaye’s first goal.
United’s six-game winning streak equalled a record dating back to 1994 during Kevin Keegan’s first spell as manager.
The names on Keegan’s teamsheets from that era will be long revered on Tyneside.
And Pardew feels his attacking players, like those Keegan had, are “irrepressible” at their best, as they were at times against Tony Pulis’s side.
“These guys are making names for themselves in the same manner that some of those guys did, like (David) Ginola,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“Ben Arfa, Demba, Cabaye and Cisse are what Newcastle fans love – flair players. That four were irrepressible.”
Pardew had been wary of Stoke, so stubborn on previous visits to St James’s Park.
Even at half-time, with his team leading 2-0, he was conscious of the two-goal lead United let slip against Wolverhampton Wanderers in February.
As it was, Cabaye’s second strike sealed a win which took Newcastle three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, beaten at home by Queens Park Rangers later in the day.
“I’m happy because we got what we deserved, which was to win the game,” said Pardew.
“At half-time we talked about the Wolves game. We didn’t want to do the same thing.
“Now this team has four games left, and each one is very important for us. We aim to stay in the race for Europe and the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla are back on Tyneside on Friday for a talk-in organised by Players Inc.
The pair are appearing at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, and tickets are priced £15. For more details, call 229 9631.