Date: 6th January 2011 at 9:37pm
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The TOTT message board throws up and occasional challenge. Leon Best`s hat trick inspired one of those with a board member seeking some stats. TOTT is always pleased to oblige.

One question follows another so not only is the question answered, but we look beyond those to find more answers.

TOTT member Romanhistoryfan asked when was the last time we had 3 hat tricks scored in the same season. The answer to that one was simple – the Championship campaign threw up a hat trick of hat tricks, Nolan away at Ipswich, Ameobi against Reading and of course Lovenkrands in his paternal tribute in the FA Cup against Plymouth.

The question probes deeper, in recognition of Ameobi`s including a penalty, Shola having a 100% record from the spot and scoring his trio against Reading. Agent Bramble, the answer is here, 1993-94 saw Andy Cole score 3, with PeterB the nominated penalty man at the time, himself having got one which included a penalty against Wimbledon. Cole`s were against Coventry and Liverpool in the league, with another against the other Magpies in the League Cup.

The last time 3 were scored in the league without a penalty by 3 different scorers takes us back to 1946-7 with Bentley, Wayman and Shackleton.

The initial response had been that the last time we had 5 hat trick kings in the same squad was during the 1950s, with Milburn, Mitchell, Monkhouse, Davies and White. There was a mistake, in that Bobby Mitchell`s had been scored in a friendly. However, going back a year, the last surviving member of the last domestic trophy winning squad, Vic Keeble was a part of the same squad.

The 2 trios from last season and this season also throw up further fun questions. Andy Cole was of course the last season that 3 hat tricks were scored in the top flight. We can now establish that 3 hat trick scorers has not been achieved in the top flight for the Toon, at least since WW2.

Leon Best`s contribution was on his full home top flight debut, although he did of course play 13 games, including 6 starts which proved scoreless. Supermac was the last player to hit 3 on his top flight debut, against Liverpool, but including a penalty. Micky Quinn scored 4 against Leeds on his first time out, but in the 2nd tier.

A further look back through the hat trick history shows some interesting trends. Kevin Nolan is the only player to make the achievement twice in this millennium, although Big Al got one in December 1999 against Sheffield Wednesday to go with the UEFA Cup match against Hapoel.

Andy Carroll, finished a four year relatively barren top flight spell since Michael Owen`s “perfect” version against West Ham in 2005. The start of the millennium has seen the biggest variety of HT heroes since the 1950s, no fewer than 8 players hitting the mark, 5 in less than 2 years.

The 1990s saw a steady flow, Shearer, PeterB and Cole already mentioned, but with Rob Lee, Micky Quinn, Gavin Peacock, David Kelly, Sir Les, Paul Kitson and Tino Asprilla joining them.

Kelly and Cole remain the only two to reach the landmark in the same match since the record win against Newport County in the first post-war season.

The 1980s are split into two, the latter half seeing a young Irishman, Michael O`Neill being the only hat trick hero, following on from the early half of the 80s with the natural candidates emerging as Keegan, Waddle, Beardsley again and Varadi.

The 1970s was the decade of 3 number 9s, Supermac with 4 (including the Anglo-Italian Cup), Gowling with 3 and Peter Withe with 1. Gowling`s all came in the same season. The latter half of the 1960s saw Wyn Davies as the sole candidate.

Unsurprisingly the big heroes came from the 1940s 50s and early 60s. The biggest hat trick king of all was Milburn with no fewer than 9. Len White, stalwart of the 1960s promotion is in 2nd with 8, the modern leader being Andy Cole with 6. Behind them are a clutch of players on 4, including Wayman, Quinn and Robledo.

Of the modern set, only Shola Ameobi has yet to receive international recognition, Micky Quinn and Imre Varadi the last two to be treated similarly.

Special mention should go to the clubs scored against. Leicester have been on the receiving end of most, for Cole Kelly Quinn Shearer and White. Surprisingly, Plymouth has the highest ratio, with 4 coming from Lovenkrands, Bentley, Barry Thomas and White. Beardsley, Nolan and Tait have all achieved legendary status against the Mackems.

It is doubtful if there are many, if any other clubs to have 5 of these heroes among their ranks. Perhaps it is a tribute to the coach who gave them the opportunity, and managed in a more democratic style than most, Chris Hughton. What is certain is that these 5, will maintain a place in Newcastle folklore. Could Ranger make history against Stevenage to take us to 6 hat trick heroes in the same squad?