NEWCASTLE legend Steve Howey cannot think of too many teams capable of scoring goals against Eddie Howe’s mean machine.
But he knows one which would not have had a problem — Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers.
Howey said: “Look, that Newcastle defence is excellent. They’ve been like a brick wall at times.
“But would they have shut out the team we had with Kevin? I don’t think so.
“Come on — David Ginola and Peter Beardsley creating chances for Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer with Tino [Asprilla] coming off the bench? This team is good but not THAT good!”
Howey, though, is a big fan of the current Newcastle crop, who go into Sunday’s home game against Fulham boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League.
And he is fulsome in his praise of Howe, who has transformed a traditionally leaky backline into one of the sturdiest ever seen at St James’ Park.
He added: “At this rate, they’ll get their own label like we did with The Entertainers.
“How about the So Solid Crew because that’s what they are?
“I’ve spoken to a few people in the game who’ve witnessed Eddie’s training sessions and they’re blown away by the intensity and how clever they are.
“Not too many teams have looked like penetrating that back four of Kieran Trippier, Sven Botman, Fabian Schar and Dan Burn.
“And even when they do, they’ve still got to beat Nick Pope, who’s been in terrific form.
“But don’t underestimate the job of those in front of them.
“Miggy Almiron works his backside off to help the defence and how many times does Joelinton get that little nick on the ball to break up an attack?
David Ginola and Peter Beardsley creating chances for Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer with Tino [Asprilla] coming off the bench? This team is good but not THAT good!
“We had Ginola in front of John Beresford and myself and as everyone knows he did not like to defend in any shape or form.
“The two of us told him we were quite happy to pick up the slack if he did the business going forward.
“The great thing about this Newcastle side is that they are working well at both ends of the pitch.
“That’s why you can’t rule out a top-four finish or even winning the Carabao Cup.”
Which would mean them eclipsing the achievements of Keegan’s side almost 30 years ago.
Howey added: “I guess the big difference between us is that while we always looked like scoring goals, they never look like conceding any.
“Mind you, Kevin wouldn’t have liked the fact the last two league games against Leeds and Arsenal ended goalless.
“Of course, he’d have been pleased with the clean sheets but he’d always remind us we were in the entertainment business and our job was to go out there and entertain the fans — and the best way to do that is by scoring goals.”
So the $64million question: What would have happened if Keegan’s Irresistible Force came up against Howe’s Immovable Object?
Howey declared: “Ah that’s an easy one. We’d have won. Mind you, it would be a great game!”