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Newport County’s top 5 centre-backs of the 21st Century – do you agree?

Since its creation in 1912 and subsequent re-founding in 1989, Newport County have been blessed with some truly outstanding defenders.

Let’s take a look at the top five centre-backs of the 21st Century who have made a name for themselves amongst the County faithful whilst wearing that famous black and amber shirt.

Mickey Demitriou

The only player in the list still at the club, the influential Demitriou has been at the club since 2017 and has been a mainstay in the County back-line. With over 200 appearances for the Exiles across all competitions.

The 31-year-old has made himself a fan favourite at Rodney Parade during his five year spell at the club. Playing a key role in memorable moments such as the Great Escape run, the FA cup runs of 2017-18 and 2018-19, and in the club’s two unsuccessful League Two play-off finals against Tranmere Rovers and Morecambe.

Mark O’Brien

The Irish centre-back arrived in Newport at the same time as counter-part Demetriou. And would go on to feature alongside his fellow defensive partner during the previously mentioned cup runs and play-off finals.

His most famous moment in a County shirt however would be the last-minute winner against Notts County on the last day of the 2016-17 season. With his 90th minute goal securing the Exiles Football League status and quite possible saving the club from possible oblivion.

O’Brien would make over 100 appearances for the club before retiring at the age of 27 due to heart issues.

Benjamin White

Arguably the most famous player on this list, despite his relatively short spell at the club. The young centre-back joined the Exiles on loan from parent club Brighton Hove Albion during the 2017-18 season.

During his spell at Rodney Parade, the future England defender’s performances would impress fans enough to see him pick up the Player of the Season award.

White would later go on to sign for Arsenal in the summer of 2021 for £50million pounds, where he has since gone on to become a key figure for the Gunners in the Premier League.

Paul Bignot

Signed in 2009 by manager Dean Holdsworth on the eve of the Exiles historic 2009-10 Conference South season. Bignot would go on to play a key role in a promotion winning defence that would only concede 26 goals over the course of a 42 game season.

Bignot would make over 100 appearances for the Exiles, including a brief return during the 2016-17 season. Before retiring in 2020 at the age of 34 after leaving his last club, Stafford Town.

Ismail Yakubu

The Nigerian-born Yakubu signed for County at the start of the 2011-12 Conference season but would make a significant impact during the following campaign. Where he would play a huge role in the clubs return to the football league, with five goals across all competitions including the winning goal against Grimsby in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

Yakubu would go on to make 120 appearances for the club before leaving in 2015. He would later turn out for fellow Welsh clubs Penybont Town and current side, Merthyr Tydfil.

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