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Why now for Shearer and Newcastle?

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Phil McNulty | 09:09 UK time, Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A former title-winning manager once insisted you could actually smell a club was in crisis the moment you opened its doors - and it seems the stench of relegation has become too overpowering for Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to bear.

So, to clear the air and avoid the notoriety of being labelled as the man who bundled Newcastle into the Championship, Ashley has taken the latest in a series of managerial gambles.

This time he has to come up with a winner - and in handing the reins to Alan Shearer until the end of the season Ashley may just have hit the jackpot.

Sound footballing logic suggests giving someone with no managerial experience eight games to save Newcastle from relegation is not so much a gamble, more an act of footballing suicide.

Newcastle, however, have rarely operated on the basis of sound footballing logic and parachuting in Shearer may just be the desperate measure that turns into a masterstroke.

Ashley took a punt on the People's Champion before when he gave Kevin Keegan back to the Toon Army. Short-lived and unsuccessful, it was a move doomed to failure once it dawned on Keegan that he was not in full control of footballing matters.

Joe Kinnear's appointment as interim manager had sceptics wondering just how long Ashley's managerial "short list" was before he finally happened on a man who had been operating on football's margins for several years.

Alan Shearer

Kinnear's heart surgery put a premature end to his tenure this season, and since Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood took charge, there was a growing sense that this was not so much a ship that was rudderless, but one that was heading directly towards the rocks.

I was at Newcastle's home defeat by Manchester United recently, and despite a performance that was heartening, you could almost reach out and touch the mass pessimism among fatalistic fans.

This is why I believe the arrival of Shearer represents Newcastle's best opportunity of navigating a route to Premier League safety from a treacherous group of final fixtures.

Newcastle need inspiration just as much as nous in their dire situation - and while Shearer is tactically aware and very much in touch with the modern game, it is his sheer presence that will make the biggest impact.

This is about his stature rather than coaching badges or years of managerial experience. It could be construed as the latest act of Newcastle madness, but there is actually a method to it.

Supporters believe in Shearer, as West Ham United's fans did when Sir Trevor Brooking's short reign as caretaker manager almost produced a miraculous escape from relegation.

Shearer will be given their full support. Newcastle's fans will forgive him anything, even relegation. He will swiftly act as a unifying force. It is a quick-fix, but this is no long-term job with relegation ready to embrace Newcastle.

Hughton and Calderwood are genuine football men, but are they the leaders Newcastle need in their present plight? Sadly not - uninspiring performances and whispers from inside the dressing room that players felt they needed more from the top prove that fact.

Hughton and Calderwood

Shearer will galvanise supporters, inspire players - and he will certainly not cast a match-winning talent like his good friend Michael Owen to the sidelines, as happened under his predecessors.

This is not a guarantee of success, far from it. It does, however, offer a better chance of achieving the short-term goal of staying in the Premier League than what is on offer at present.

It also answers a few questions about Shearer himself. He has never hidden his desire to go into management, eventually at Newcastle, but there were suggestions he was waiting until the situation was at its cosiest before entering the fray.

No-one can accuse him of this any more. No-one will blame him if Newcastle go down - there might be hundreds of names on that list before you get to Shearer.

But make no mistake, there is huge pressure on him to succeed simply because of who he is and he will also be feeling a massive weight of responsibility as an iconic figure on Tyneside.

You might say he has nothing to lose, but will Shearer want to be seen as the man in charge of the team on the day Newcastle drop into the Championship? He is a proud man and a proud Geordie so we know the answer to that.

The plus for Shearer is that if Newcastle do avoid relegation, and I am convinced they stand a much better chance now he is at the helm, then it will be the perfect start to his managerial career and provide the ideal platform for him to take the job on a long-term basis should he so wish.

On this basis, it may just be that Mike Ashley's last gamble could turn out to be his best.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hopefully this will mean a curbing of the increasingly thuggish attitute of the Newcastle team that was developing under the Kinnear regime. There is a difference in being passionate, committed and hard working and setting out to hurt and intimidate your opponent.
    Steven Taylor is better than that and doesn't need it in his game if he wants to establish himself as a future England international.

  • Comment number 2.

    There are some good points in this blog Phil.

    The one with regards to there being loads of names above Shearer on a shortlist. My personal choice would have been Alan Curbishley. He kept Charlton in the premiership for many years, and the players he had there had less talent than the players currently at Newcastle. Also, the season after Curbishley left Charlton, they went down, and look where they are now.

    As every Geordie will, and have done, they will back the manager and give him time. Sadly Shearer doesn't have much time to do anything. His presence is his greatest attribute by far and he will ensure that everyone plays to their full potential and output.

    However, I only have 4 words for this situation: Wrong Man Wrong Time.

    Keep up the good work Phil.

    Scott Sewell

  • Comment number 3.

    April Fools right?

  • Comment number 4.

    If this isn't an April Fool - why is no-one able to get a word from Shearer or Ashley to confirm this?

    Would be hilarious if this is a wind-up.

    To be fair it's quite funny if it's true !

  • Comment number 5.

    I hope he succeeds. I have nothing but respect for the man. Just a shame Mike Ashley is his boss.

  • Comment number 6.

    Agree with much of this Phil, and you're not alone in thinking 'why now' - there's an in-depth look at some of the silliness of this decision on Sport without Spin. Funny to see how it caught everyone off guard, particularly with April Fool's Day - only yesterday the Telegraph were still talking about Bruce to Newcastle!

    I suppose the point is that this is the only way Ashley could ever win back the fans, but it flies in the face of all footballing logic. Let's see what happens!

  • Comment number 7.

    All posts are pre-moderated. What does this mean?

    This means you have to wait hours to see what anyone has written, rendering the blog utterly pointless!

  • Comment number 8.

    I still think this is an eleborate april fool that everyone has fallen for

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Phil, good blog.

    Interesting one this. I've no doubt that Alan Shearer will be able to galvanise the supporters of Newcastle, and in turn maybe that will inspire the team to avoid relegation this season.

    However, the fact remains that he is unproven as a leader - and captaincy at club or country level is not necessarily an indicator of management skills. For every Beckenbauer there is a Moore.

    It seems there is unrest amongst Newcastle players and has been all season and prior to this season. Will Shearer honestly be able to deal with that? He may be a hero to Geordies, but how many of the players are Geordies? How many take that emotional involvement into work every day? Current evidence suggests not many.

    Mark Lawrenson has suggested Shearer may have the same effect on Newcastle as Beckenbauer and Klinsmann had on Germany - an inexperienced coach riding the wave of their playing status to bring success. The difference is that with Beckenbauer and Klinsmann, they took over the national side where they were national heroes and all the players looked up to them. Can't imagine that Shearer will get the same respect, what with the multi-national playing staff, whether he deserves it or not.

    All in all, I hope Alan Shearer succeeds. it's hard to see where good young British managers are going to come from, especially with Premier league clubs being unwilling to mine the lower league talent, or on the few occasions they do, getting cold feet after a fairly short run of poor results. A competing Newcastle can only be good for the Premiership so best of luck.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    OMG! Newcastle do it again! This is classic news and I for one cant wait to see Shearer back on MOTD explaining to Lawro and Hansen how he got his beloved Newcastle relegated. L+H (and Gary for that matter) will have a field day!

    I mean seriously the guy isnt even a decent pundit. If you listen, not even carefully, all he does is repeat the questions he's asked back as a statement and then sits back looks all smug and acts like he made some cunning analysis.

    Gary - "So Alan, do you think Newcastles defensive frailties led to their downfall?"
    Alan - "Well Gary, it was Newcastles defensive frailties that led to their downfall"


    He'll obviously be looking for fowards with "power" and "pace" as well, probably his two favourite words.

    Best of luck though're going to need it.

  • Comment number 12.

    Its good to see Shearer finally take over at Newcastle as it was pretty enevitable that he would at some point. Whether he will save Newcastle or not i have my doubts. All great players do not make great managers and whether or not Shearer will be one of those failures again i don't know.

    He is a natural born leader though which is what Newcastle need. Now all Shearer has to do is find an actual leader on the pitch!! Being a Liverpool fan myself whether or not Newcastle save themselves from a season in the championship i dont really mind lol


  • Comment number 13.

    Sorry but I am convinced this is an April fool of the highest order. While Shearer was undoubtedly a great striker, he is wooden in front of the press, expresses himself badly, and has shown huge errors in judgement on live TV, the example of advocating physical violence was one of them.
    If he is lucky he might develop a crazy gang a la wimbledon and kinnear, but if he succeeds I for one will be dumbfounded. Sorry but with 8 games to go being appointed manager, that is a possible 24 points, I think the manager should bear the brunt of it if the team goes down. Without Given the will find the level the belong to.

  • Comment number 14.

    By saving Newcastle, Shearer could once again endear himself to the Geordie faithfull & go down in folklore not only as a lengendary player but also as the manager who rescued Newcastle from the brink of financial ruin. If they go down, the mite never come back, ask Leeds, Leicester city, QPR, Forest ect.

    But what if Shearer does well? Would Kinnear return? Think not!
    If Newcastle do go down under Shearer, could it be said that Shearer has put his reputation on the line? No once again, Shearer has no prior reputation when it comes to manegement. In the end though, Kinnear will go, Newcastle might stay up, and Shearer could be a god.

  • Comment number 15.

    You mean this isn't just an April Fool?

    Maybe this means Ferguson and McGregor were really on the lash - I was worried that one was made up as well and they were actually going to play tonight...

  • Comment number 16.

    The problem for Shearer is not this season. It's next season when Ashley fails to make either funds available or purchase the players needed, and they have to rely on the same mess they have now, without the fresh galvanising effect of a hero and a new manager.

    Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 17.

    seriously newcastle i know he is a legend with you and england and i like him but i dont think he is the answer to your problems and i think you will go down. 4 managers this season already and about 10 in the last 8 years really is a joke!

  • Comment number 18.

    I'll be honest, when I saw the story on the BBC homepage my first thought was that it was another April Fools joke.

  • Comment number 19.

    i think shearer wanted the job before KK but felt he wasnt ready and didnt want newcastle to suffer. now he has the ideal oppurtinity to take over. newcastle are already down at the bottom so he has nothin to lose. if they survive hes a hero if they dont then the damage was already done by other. i hope he does well and newcastle stay up. in footballing terms they have been poor but they are a premiership in every other respect!

  • Comment number 20.

    It seems a little strange that Shearer has taken the job now when just a few months ago he was so critical of the managemerial structure at Newcastle and very little in this structure has since changed.

    But perhaps this is a slightly tactical move by Shearer in taking on the Newcastle job at this point, as he could be in a no lose situation regarding his reputation. If Newcastle avoid relegation under Shearer, he will be an even bigger hero than he already is, regarded as the new Keegan, as the man who came in and saved Newcastle from the clutches of relegation. While if Newcastle are relegated, very few will blame him, as he came in at such a late time when the club were already in trouble and the management of the past season had been a complete shambles. Where as, if Shearer had come in earlier in the season, with the majority of a season to turn things around, and failed to avoid relegation, his managerial reputation would have been seriously affected.

    Whatever the outcome for Newcastle at the end of the season is, i think Shearer will stay for longer than just the remainder of this campaign, although i think he'd be asking for some big changes in the structure and control of the club in order to stay and be in full control.

  • Comment number 21.

    This is no April Fool's joke - every day is April Fool's at Newcastle.

  • Comment number 22.

    Plus, no Shearer on MOTD!! Champagne time, footie fans.

  • Comment number 23.

    I hope he does turn it around. Top bloke, was a top proffesional and has the heart for the job so i think he will make sure there are no shrinkin violets left in the club and he will have them fighting.

    Who knows, maybe he'll slip on his boots and show the lads a thing or two!

  • Comment number 24.

    New managers do tend to have a 'bounce' and such an effect would probably be enough to stop what is basically a talented squad sliding into the Championship so I think this is a good appointment for Newcastle United.

    I'm also pleased that after years of 'will he, won't he' Shearer has thrown his hat into the managerial ring. He is in a 'no lose' situation because he will either be a hero or a guy who did his best against absurd odds.

    Long term I doubt he will be a great manager - the best players rarely are, look at the managers of the top Premiership clubs - but he could be the difference in the next few months.

  • Comment number 25.

    This is a one-shot wonder that can't be repeated so Shearer has to either a) keep up or b) return on first attempt. Otherwise It'll be 18 - 20 months down the line and it'll be all change again.

    Saying that, if anyone can, he can. His playing days are recent enough a lot of the team can remember playing alongside him so that's got to help. Might also be enough to persuade Owen to keep on.....

  • Comment number 26.

    I have my doubts here.

    It smacks of desperation , regardless of Shearers cult status at the club , any managing director would surely rather have an experienced man at the helm, in particular one with experience of a relegation fight, rather than someone who has no experience of management at any level, never mind the premiership at a club that reveres him as the second coming.I suspect he was the only option they could get.

    Thats pressure on top of pressure, it doesnt bode well.

    Ultimately, its still down to the players, many of whom seem to have given up already , plenty of whom are there for the paycheck and plan on leaving regardless. Indeed , this weeks headlines even here on the BBC website were almost willing Owen to leave newcastle in the summer if he wants the remotest chance of being in the running for England in the future.

    I cannot see any way Shearer can make a difference to that environment in time, their fate rests entirely in the hands of the teams surrounding them one has to think, on current form , they are certainly in the worst three teams in the premiership, and going down would not be hard luck, it would be entirely in tune with their performances.

    Any team that has 4 managers in a season, even if some changes were enforced through no fault of their own , isnt going to do well.

  • Comment number 27.

    cannot wait to see him on the touchlines!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    This is a great appointment for the Geordies. However, I feel that the inspiration that Shearer will provide to the fans may not be transposed to the players. Escaping relagation in my opinion calls for experience. I hope I'm proved wrong though because the top division is never the same without the Geordie faithful coming to my local boozer when they play Liverpool away.

  • Comment number 29.

    "As much as i like the supporters of Newcastle united i think the level of expectations is more than where club stands itself."

    Another attempt that might save their PL status but still i have doubts if the team ever achieves a Top Table Team in seasons to come.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ashley once again uses the 'people's choice' award to instate a manager not so much for his resume but for his appeal to the Geordie public, hoping for a better return than the previous version in King Kev. In doing so though I agree with phil, it could be a master stroke. Shearer had a season as so-called player-coach and when he stepped up his role under Roeder the club were sailing comfortably. Come Shearer leaving Roeder seemed to struggle, so perhaps he had something there afterall. Whatever the outcome he is still a legend in those parts and will if nothing else galvanise an increasingly pessimistic crowd. I am curious though...does Kinnear still get his bonus if they avoid relegation even though he isn't in charge of the final games...??? Interesting times once again on Tyne-side!

  • Comment number 31.

    1st April - I'm absolutely convinced it's all a hoax started by a Sunderland fan. It's all on the basis of "the BBC understands", there has been no comment from Alan Shearer, no comment from the Cub or from any of the plaqyers. Comment has only come from FORMER players, FORMER chairman and the press. Don't believe it, but we'll see...

  • Comment number 32.



  • Comment number 33.

    Good luck Alan.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good luck Alan

  • Comment number 35.

    Great, at minimum 31 comments I cannot read before I say something many will have possibly said before, not exactly a debating forum is it?
    It *is* a no lose scenario for Shearer. He cannot be blamed if Newcastle go down, he will (at least briefly) be a demi-god if they survive.
    A short term fix from a rubbish chairman.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment is awaiting moderation.

  • Comment number 37.

    Here we go again, death by a thousand moderations! Over an hour and a half already!

    Firstly, in terms of Shearer's experience, I believe he was part of Glenn Roeder's management team.

    In terms of not casting Michael Owen aside, well, is that footballing nous or misplaced loyalty. I remember the talk that it was Shearer who helped get Gullit sacked all that time ago because Gullit didn't play him. Decisions have to be based on players playing a part in a team, not just cause of who you are. Capello is proving this right now. If Owen isn't fit or doesn't offer much to the team then Shearer must put him on the bench at best.

    Anyway, I am more a fan of Shearer the pundit (and I see that there are plenty that aren't ) than Shearer the player but either way, Phil maybe right to say that having Shearer there increases their chances of safety, but I do not think that he increases them by enough, but, only time will tell.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was awaiting moderation.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment might be awaiting moderation.

  • Comment number 40.

    No, it is definitely awaiting moderation.

  • Comment number 41.

    I see the mods are at their usual best :(

    Sorry if this has been said before but Shearer really does have nothing to lose on this deal. If Newcastle stay up it will only cement his god like status on Tyneside...If they get relegated it certainly wasn't his fault as he only had 8 games, and his god like status is maintained.

  • Comment number 42.

    Well i have always been a admire of Newcastle and mostly cos of there fans i think they are some of the most passionate fans in the world so i hope they get some success soon

    Shearer will be good only if he is given the power to manege he can't do much right now but use what he has so if the worst comes to the worst and they get regulated i predict the can get back up and think if Shearer can rebuild a team even if it means selling some players and building a new team a team that want to play for the shirt a clear out is some time's what you need.

    If he saves them then all the better all im saying yes loosing the money you get in the prem would be bad but maybe they can come back better then ever.

    I hope he can save them and he stays on Newcastle derisive
    some good times

  • Comment number 43.

    The comedy club that is Newcastle United has all but made its transition into a circus this season.

    Ashley, by submitting to the Geordie fan's every whim and desire, has sent the club plumeting like an Icelandic economy.

    Sacking Robson proved dissasterous. They shot themselves in the foot again with Keegan. But if these two managers have taught us anything, its that genuine Geordies in the hot seat turn the Toon in the right direction everytime.

    Shearer i hope will do the same. But what if he doesn't? Relegation, Championship, Mass exodus. Who will the fans start demanding for next?

    On paper it looks a dream match. But logic and optimisum does not always provide results.

  • Comment number 44.

    Post 2: Scottsewell

    "As every Geordie will, and have done, they will back the manager and give him time"

    2 words to that

    Sam Allardyce

  • Comment number 45.

    Thank you Alan for taking everyone's advice (including The Observer newspaper last weekend) and freeing us from your presence on MotD. Please do not return.

  • Comment number 46.

    #2 scottsewell seems to think Alan Curbishley was the right man to take over the helm and St James. I think he has forgotten what Curbs did to West Ham - turn them into a mid table, mediocre, boring team. Exactly what Charlton were.

    I agree that mid table is better than relegation threatened but surely, as every geordie will agree, the Magpies should be challenging for a European place.

    The appointment of Shearer at this precise moment is perfect for him. If Newcastle are relegated everyone will say he didn't have enough time to turn things around, if they stay up - it will be a masterstroke!

    Just heard Iain Dowie is joining his backroom staff, God only knows why!

  • Comment number 47.

    I wish Shearer and Newcastle good fortune, as NUFC are a genuine well-supported club who have been a positive force for the Premiership over the past 15 years.
    However, relegation will be a potential blessing in disguise - Ashley may well sell, the price will be a bargain for a club that can bring in 50,000 fans, there will be a clear-out of a lot of players, Owen may get to join a club who can elevate him to 20-goal status again, and Shearer may just have the nous to guide them to a 1 or 2 year rebound, and the status within the game to attract good players.

  • Comment number 48.

    Lets assume its true. I think most Newcastle fans would agree we need someone to step in at this stage and at least attempt to get some decent results. There is nothing to lose for Shearer and everything to gain.

    We need a manager and why not Shearer he cant be worse than the guy who is standing in at the moment.

  • Comment number 49.

    What is it about Newcastle and sentimental appointments. First Kevin Keegan and now Alan Shearer.

    Just because he was a great player for Newcastle, doesn't mean he is going to be a great manager at Newcastle or any other team for that matter.

    To be honest, with appointments like this maybe Newcastle (the club, not their fans) deserve to be relegated.

  • Comment number 50.

    surely he is a figure head to appease the fans?

  • Comment number 51.

    If you were going to be cynical you would have to ask why, at this point, after been linked in the past, is Shearer ready to take on the Newcastle job? And you would have to answer that it is a no-lose situation for him. Which begs the question of whether he's doing it for Newcastle first and foremost, or his own reputation. They go down, not his fault, they stay up, his doing. Good timing Alan... well, for you anyway.

  • Comment number 52.

    Its a desperate move. One wonders though why Shearer has accepted to bail out a sinking ship. Even if one considers that not much blame can be attached to a manager coming in at such a late stage, surely lending his name to the stigma of Newcastle dropping out from the Premier League is too scary a deterrent, even if the other side of that coin is glory.

    Shearer's known love and loyalty to the old flame may have been a reason. But I am of the view Alan really believes in the resurrection.

    He has been an all time great at the club. Players and fans are all behind him. You never know, he may end up doing what Maradona is apparently doing for Argentina. They both have a distinguished past and it makes them high impact managers, though both are without the usual trappings of the trade.

  • Comment number 53.

    I feel employing a new manager normally has a beneficial affect on a team in any case, in the short teem at least, Tottenham and Chelsea are among the more recent teams to benefit from this. The effect I feel though is dependant on the quality of the players and depite many short comings Newcastle have got quality and experience in enough areas, enough at least to pull through with a new manager.

    Is Shearer the man? I suppose i couldn't think of anyone to galvanise the suad as much as him however haven't we been here before with Keegan?

    There is a lot to be said of "saviours" not least that they bring unification to the fans, squad and intensify the effort but the problem is they never seem to stay too long, they get the team through, they provide enough umph to cross the finishing line but they fail to provide a consistent platform for a season. They may produce some classic, passion driven performances that win games against some big names but they seem to lack in the more mundain situations.

    I hope Shearer is successful, on two accounts; one being that as a 27 year old who was playing the majority of my football in the 90's i love Shearer. He's class and no matter how much I think he is boring or that I am seeing a little "too much" of him when he is a pundit on football shows he is still a legend.

    Two being that I hope Newcastle stay up not least for the fans, who i think have been led from pillar to post by a shambles of a set up at board level, a shambles that was around long before Mike Ashleys involvment. A situation that as an Arsenal fan makes me very grateful for our current board (Russian excluded, even though he is not on the board but i don't like the cut of his jib.)

    So fair play, Newcastle to stay up i cry, i just hope that the saviour turns out to be a proper saviour and not a part time one.
    So fair play,

  • Comment number 54.

    In response to some of the comments above (the ones available to read - sort it out mods!!) I think Dennis Wise is set to leave at the end of the season. I'm not sure if this is because his contract runs out and therefore avoids a pay off, but this may be the structural change at the club that Shearer would have wanted earlier, post Keegan, and couldn't get.

  • Comment number 55.

    I think that Shearer will do OK and keep NUFC up, at least i hope so as i very much like them.

    Phil, congratulations on the extremely long moderation time again. You never let us down, everytime i open one of your blogs i see at least a 2 hour moderation period. Wil they 606USERS come on and say that its a 1 off thing again???

  • Comment number 56.

    If this isn't an April fools joke, then it would be typical of Newcastle of late to to announce this today!
    If it is, you're going to look like a right numpty bloggng about it - as am I for adding my comment!

    Regarding your bit on
    "there were suggestions he was waiting until the situation was at its cosiest before entering the fray. No-one can accuse him of this any more."
    You do write complete rubbish at times. How much more cosy could it be for him? You yourself point out that
    "No-one will blame him if Newcastle go down - there might be hundreds of names on that list before you get to Shearer"
    If that's not cosy for him, I don't know what is. If they go down, the toon army will be blaming everyone else, but still hold the prodigal son in high esteem as the one to get them back into the premiership.
    Okay he's a proud man and will not want to be the one at the helm when they go down, but he's in a better situation than if he took over with Newcastle in a Champions league position without the manegerial experience that is always mentioned.

    Try to write something decent and insightful for a change instead of always cosying up to the fans of whatever team you happen to be blogging about.

  • Comment number 57.

    This will be an interesting one. For the following reasons. There's no long-term strategic vision required. Nor any nous in the transfer market.

    It's a test of leadership, motivational ability and man-management skills primarily. And team-picking and use of substitutions secondly.

    The really interesting conundrum for Mike Ashley will come at the end of the season.

    I wish Mr Shearer well. A 52,000 stadium does not sit well in the Championship.

    But it will have to if he doesn't do the business in his 8 game 'work experience placement'.

    Plenty of 10 week MBA internships have been known to lead to job offers with very good salaries, you know........

  • Comment number 58.

    think i'll post a comment now so i can read it tomorrow when it finally appears...

    I'm sure like the majority of posts (i'm guessing as i can't read them) i'm sceptical about shearers chances of success. I like shearer but i don't see him as good manager, particularly at newcastle where they seem to be setting themselves up for the biggest let down since...oh i don't know...kevin keegan.

    Shearer the potential manager just doesn't strike me as someone who will inspire others as he did as a player. I don't i could be wrong, strange thing is i don't actually care about newcastle anymore. I use to quite like them during the bobbie robson era, but i guess theres only so much kieron dyer, craig bellamy, dennis wise, mike ashley that u can stomach before u kinda of turn off them.

  • Comment number 59.


    Your understanding of the mans pysche is way out. If you think you understand Newcastle United then think again, no one does!

    Shearer was only ever going to take over when the club was on its knees, expectations levels are so low that if he keeps them up: hero, if they go down: they were already doomed. No Geordie would ever reproach him. A nice easy season in the championship would hearld him a success. Still the bar would be set so low that no one would care.

    He has conned everyone, don't think he is some returning hero, his move was calaculated and planned. If it all goes wrong then it will be Ashley that pays the ultimate price not Shearer, who will whip up some investors and run the show.

    Too be fair who can blame him, the man is so single minded its unreal.
    All his diecisions smack of this. He wanted to be the big fish in the small pond by going to Newcastle, if he went to Utd he wouldn't play every week and could never exert the influence he did at Newcastle. He piked out of internationals just at the time we needed in most, at 31 surely we'd of won the world cup in Japan. Would it have hurt Shearer to have played for another 2 years? All he needed to do was sit there and be serviced, it was the weakest WC for years.......

    Now everyone knows what Shearer is........

  • Comment number 60.

    Good luck Big Al! Prove these pathetic doubters wrong, half of which are probably STILL bitter Man U fans. Here's one neutral who's 100% behind you, as long as Rovers stay up that is!

  • Comment number 61.

    This is a cunning plan by Ashley. It's his way of softening the blow to the fans when they're relegated. April fool.

    In some ways it may help Newcastle. They can take their parachute payments, build a new team, with a new young manager and build their way back up to the premiership.

  • Comment number 62.

    The timing really couldn't be better for Shearer: get relegated, and he can blame any number of people other than himself, keep them up and his hero status in Geordie-land is safe for another season.

    He must also know that at Dennis Wise, at least, and possibly mike Ashley too, are on their way out of the club as I can't see him taking charge only to be subject to the same restrictions place on Keegan.

    I hope he does well because I have respect for the guy, but changing the manager won't solve the problems at Newcastle - the club needs overhauling from top to bottom.

  • Comment number 63.

    He simply has nothing to lose.

  • Comment number 64.

    Morecamb and Wise, the Two Ronnies, the Chuckle Brothers, Alan and Ian.

    I do jest!

    Ashley, in my opinion, should have gone for someone with more experience, but very often teams get a lift in the first few games with a new manager, so it could work.

    But there are two more words to scare every Newcastle fan.......Bryan Robson.

  • Comment number 65.

    Shearer has taken over as the threat of administration is too much.

  • Comment number 66.

    I am a Geordie and have always shown tremendous admiration for Alan, but the feeling of anxiety towards the current circumstances leave me extremely worried and concerned.

    I have never tasted relegation as a football fan, and, if I am to this season, or in any of the fast-approaching years, I hope it is not down to a severely doleful level of staff behind the scenes. Shearer does appear to be the bait for Newcastle's possible fall to the Championship - does Mike Ashley really think that this move will ease the blames on his behalf?

    Phil, you have spoken of your desire for Shearer to succeed in this stint, and set his managerial carreer off to the perfect start, but do you really believe he can do it?

  • Comment number 67.

    McNulty... your blog makes you sound like Steve McClaren in disguise. Shearer may be in the no-lose situation publically... but privately he's well aware he's going in against the odds. He will have thought long and hard about his decision, and he's never been a man to accept defeat. His private feelings will probably be more along the lines of a backs against the wall job... drawing a line here, and no further.

    Everybody wants him to succeed.

  • Comment number 68.

    The April Fool's joke is that it takes over 2 HOURS to "moderate" a post.

  • Comment number 69.

    What is the point in moderating comments and then having a 'complain about' link if you're not going to put posts on that you deem inappropriate anyway?
    This should just be like 606 where comments go on straight away unless they use foul language and then they can be reported if a user deems the comment inappropriate plus if this is done you don't have to wait 3 hours to have your post appear.

  • Comment number 70.

    Would you make an important announcment on 1st April if your club was wildly regarded as a joke, I think not thus a 2nd of April Announcment.
    This is a no loose situation for Shearer, as most fans think that they will go down with present regime, therefore if he keeps them up his god like status will only grow bigger , if not he did his best for his club in there greatest time of need , you cannot fault that ! Yes he is the right man for the job and lets hope all of you who thought it a joke, let the joke be on you at the end of the season when Shearer keeps the Toon up ! Howay the Lads!

  • Comment number 71.

    #2 'As every Geordie will, and have done, they will back the manager and give him time. '

    Having a laugh right?

  • Comment number 72.

    Saj C - BBC Sport has also written about this and it has generated into a very open debate with more than 600 comments due to the fact that there is no 2 hour moderation time.
    Mr McNulty, take note.

  • Comment number 73.

    There is no pressure. 8 games left? If they go down Shearer is bombproof as it had nothing to do with him. If they stay up, they will hail him as the Romans did Ceaser. Ashley will still be hated, but tolerated a bit longer. If they go down the Geordies will still see it as the returning hero being in place and will lead them back to the promised land. The bottom line is that the baying mob have their 'big local character' in place now, not 'outsiders'. Nothing else matters up there does it Phil?

  • Comment number 74.

    nice article Phil,some valid issues and like many thought this was a prank-but as the news came out last night!!!
    ¤43,West London Blues - I hope we stuff you well and truly on Saturday!!the atmosphere will be electric!!enough to give your boys a shock?but will give you credit for remark on Robson,totally agree-if Shearer pulls this off (a Harry Houdini)and keeps us up then they´ll pull down The Angel of the North and erect an Alan Shearer Monument twice that size!!

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm sure this is an April Fool. If not, then I wish Alan and Newcastle all the best and hope that they avoid the drop. The premiership needs Newcastle. A club with huge passionate support.

  • Comment number 76.

    ¤49-this is Ashley´s last chance to lure a buyer IF The Legend keeps us up-we go down and Ashley will probably pull the plug out and do a Leeds United on us!no club deserves the treatment Ashley has dished out to us.But as he knows sweet F.A about running a football club...... we´re in the predicament we´re in!

  • Comment number 77.

    awaiting moderation - I think means - they´ve gone to Robbo´s Blue Bell for a banter!!

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't agree that he has nothing to lose. If the performances are good and spirited but they are not enough to avoid relegation, his reputation will be intact. If the performances are not committed or marked by tactical mistakes, then his reputation will suffer. Basically, he has to make a good job of managing his games, whether or not we go down.

  • Comment number 79.

    Shearer should have waited until Newcastle got relegated ! Then he could have had a nice easy year in the Championship getting used to running the team and made a glorious return to the Premiership the following year. As it is he'll probably just about scrape survival this year due to the "feel-good factor" and then (unfortunately) get fired after about 8 games next year.....

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    Maybe he finally thought newcastle would go down, and couldn't stand by and watch.

  • Comment number 83.

    And so the charade that is Newcastle United goes on.

    This time its for real.

    Alan Shearer truly represents the Geordie ‘nation’s last hope. Failure and they simply have nowhere to turn for salvation from within the closed circle of those professed to ‘understand’ those who blindly follow.

    To suggest any form of risk to Alan Shearer’s ‘golden’ image in this latest act of desperation by the club he has done very well out of is pure folly. Like David Beckham before him, who recently ‘manufactured’ a less-than honourable retreat from the MLS upon realisation near-immortality, Shearer has indeed been ‘canny’ in choosing his moment very carefully.

    Keep Newcasatle in the Premier League – and let’s be brutally honest here, Hughton and Calderwood stood more than an even chance of achieving their goal given the resources at their disposal – and he’s the divine one. Oversee Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship and he simply walks away with his halo intact. Absolved from any blame whatsoever – that being the exclusive domain of the Chairman and owner Mike Ashley, Director, Derek Llambias and Executive Driector (Football) Denis Wise – and safe in the knowledge that the damage was done long before Big-Al became involved. Safe indeed to return when things are a little more condusive to his own personal success.

    Newcastle have introduced every possible ingredient they have sought in their elusive search for the formula that underpins their apparent ‘eigth biggest club in the world’ status. That they are without substance now for almost half of their very existence after firstly, local benefactors, world-record centre-forwards, iconic famous sons and now a genuine filthy-rich Chairman suggests the state of world football is in serious crisis. Rather, and closer to the truth, is the notion that Newcastle United are once again the laughing stock of football in turning to a man with no real grasp on reality outside of the goldfish bow which has, and continues to, so efficiently feed his own ego.

    Still, at least it will be fun watching the deluded ones clambering for Shearers head once it becomes plainly apparent that things aren’t going all his own way because of WHO he is.

  • Comment number 84.

    Just like with Keegan's return, they'll be a bit of excitement, lots of media attention and raised spirits for a few games then a few mediocre results. Probably culminating in relegation or at best a bottom six finish.
    This will lead to Shearer not being allowed to sign who he wants to sign, leading to a fall out with the board and what a surprise he'll no longer be manager.
    Or, at best, if he's allowed at least one season in charge and doesnt produce european football at the first attempt (which newcastle fans strangely think is their god given right) he'll also get the sack. He should be allowed to build from scratch, which is really whats needed, and be given the time to do so.

  • Comment number 85.

    i dont normally agree with many of your blogs phil but that was a well thought and well written piece there so well done!!!

    as a newcastle im delighted his back at the times his needed most as we would be relegated under hughton,calderwood and kinnear, and like yourself think his sheer presence will make the difference if we appointed someone like Alan Curbishley he wouldnt get the players and fans respect but Shearer will, i still have major major doubts about staying up but im consigned to the fact were going down anymore.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    aprils fools surely, why would dowie work as a Number 2?

  • Comment number 89.

    Lots of April Fool jokes of course - but could it be that Shearer felt he could not stand on the sidelines and watch his boyhood club go down without at least trying to resolve the situation?

    And of course he has something to lose. True, no-one will blame him if Newcastle go down, but does he seriously want to be the manager on the day that happened? Not a chance.

    I actually think he deserves credit for taking the task on. He has put his money where his mouth is if you like. I also firmly believe Newcastle now have a better chance of staying up with him in charge.

  • Comment number 90.

    Every day is april fools day at this club. You were offered cold hard reality under Sam Allardyce and rejected it in favour of sentiment. Would you take mid table mediocraty now?
    This is good news for all football fans because it means we wont be bored by Shearer on MOTD any more (and it saves the BBC a difficult decision about revamping a poor lineup).
    As for "massive" Newcastle, relegation and administration awaits, along with day trips to Donny, Blackpool and Norwich.

  • Comment number 91.

    I dont think that Shearer being appointed as manager is going to be enough and to be honest I think it is a bad move on the whole but fair credit to him for taking it on with the plight we are in.

  • Comment number 92.

    and then (unfortunately) get fired after about 8 games next year.....


    MA saw the backlash from KK leaving, and he didn't even fire him! He'd be hung, drawn and quartered if he fired Shearer. So I don't think he would.

    God there has been a lot of rubbish posted on this blog.

  • Comment number 93.

    Sorry geordies, I like your club, like your enduring support but AS should have made this job his a year ago. Now he takes over...keeps you up, he's Messaih 2 after King Kev. Takes you down, not his fault.."too few games to turn it around, injury hit squad, bad signings before my arrival". Still Messiah on Tyneside.
    Given he has a Geordie heart, why didn't he have the bottle to take the job since at least a year? As a striker of the best quality he feared noone, but as a manager? Have my doubts

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Interesting for us far away is that Sir Bobby Robson's name has not appeared in any of these discussions regarding the plight of hapless Newcastle. The various owners have been the ones with the hand firmly on the tiller steering this proud ship directly at the rocks you refer to. Keegan failed to see the manner in which Sir Bobby was treated and now I fear that Shearer is similarly blind. Stay up or go down at some stage he too will be cut off at the knees and not be allow to do his job. Don't protest the Capitalist system in London, the Geordies of the Toon Army should chuck out the arrogant owners

  • Comment number 96.

    The thing is, if it's an April fools day joke then why was it breaking news last night before 12 o'clock?

  • Comment number 97.

    There is something not kosher about all this.

    It stinks of an April fool gag, particularly as there has been no direct comment from either Shearer or Ashley before or after the 12 o clock gag deadline.

    If its for real, then how about this for a conspiracy theory. Perhaps Ashley's timing is so perfect and he's got big Al over a barrel? If Shearer refused the job and the magpies go down, he can say 'I turned to Shearer in our biggest hour of need but he turned me/you down'. How straight would his halo sit then?

    Personally, given his lack of experience, I think its a disaster waiting to happen if he takes it. How can he be in a win win situation? If they are relegated, they are relegated, end of. That would be disastrous for everyone concerned at Newcastle and what would it do to Shearer's confidence?

    I'm a Liverpool fan but I think most of you would agree the Premiership needs Newcastle and the Toon just as much as they need it. The club are part of the fabric of English top tier football whether they've won nothing for fifty years or not. The old First Division was poorer for their absence the last time they were relegated but if it happened now, I can see financial meltdown and freefall for them and thats the last thing their fanbase deserves. And if it did happen, how long before it hits one of the top 4 given the economic climate?

  • Comment number 98.

    My god, a blog from Phil and not a mention of Liverpool - you see there are other clubs!

    Well what can i say like many i thought this was an April fool's joke.

    Seriously though, Newcastle are now on their 3rd temporary manager of the season, surely a record. The question has to be though why now? Why was a more pernament appointment made once the seriousness of Kinnear's illness became clear? I never understood why if the temporary manager was sick and unable to work for 2 months when there were 3.5 months left of the season something was not done sooner.

    I'm not sure this is the answer to Newcastle's problems. Shearer has 8 matches to learn football management and to win more games than his rivals while facing 3 teams going for the champions league places and a couple of his relegation rivals. He's coming into a club that is unable to bring in new players and has been anything but united this season. However, he'll get the backing of the supporters, and to be fair no new manager was going to get such patience from supporters until Shearer had been in charge.

  • Comment number 99.

    The rot started with Freddie Shepherd's sacking of Bobby Robson, a bad decision made at a bad time - early season, when no suitable manager was free. Shepherd was only ever in it for the money, and made a huge windfall from Ashley, who, unbelievably, didn't do due diligence and found to his horror that the club was in dire financial straits compared to the picture painted by Shepherd. Ashley compounded this by his lack of comprehension of the club and several bad appointments, such as not-so-Wise, compounded further by bringing back the potentially-successful Keegan but leaving several useless appointees over him. Hard to believe that Ashley is a self-made billionaire with the lack of skills shown here.

    But in present circumstances, the short-term appointment of Shearer and dismissal of Wise - Alan obviously couldn't be gulled like KK and must have set clear conditions on his role and goodbye Wise - gives hope of saving NU from relegation. That short-term objective is vital, the club's in such disarray that one fears what could happen if they go down.

    Shearer seems pretty smart, I'm sure that he's enjoyed the well-paid little-pressure TV work and the chance to spend time with his young kids, and would have intended to make a well-planned entry to management in the longer term. But, as a Geordie with his team in trouble, he's answered the call. He'll make a longer-term assessment at the end of the season, whether or not Newcastle stay up.

    Jackie Milburn's paper-boy, aka Faustino.

  • Comment number 100.

    Whatever happened to the once proud club that was Newcastle United?

    Title challengers not ten years ago. Cellar dwellers, massive underachievers these days.

    Sir Bobby Robson must cry into his pillow each and every night. The respected club he must be largely credited in building has now turned into a running joke. If they are relegated then comparisons must be drawn to the ridiculous downfall of Leeds United, although perhaps not on the same scale but just as dramatic all the same.

    Appointing Shearer as manager is a rash, despairing move. The whole thing will end in tears, regardless of whether or not Newcastle avoid the drop, similar to the Keegan appointment. The Ashley hierarchy assures that.

    This is all notwithstanding the fact that Shearer will retain his hero status at St. James’ Park, regardless of whether or not he is successful. Therefore, in essence, he cannot fail no matter how disastrous his managerial spell may be.

    Surely the worst thing that has happened to Newcastle United in a long time (or perhaps ever) is the Ashley purchase. He has turned this club into a circus. The man has no class, no knowledge of football and no hope whatsoever.

    The transfer policy has become sheer insanity; excessive prices paid for relatively unknown and largely average players. Staff and players are fighting amongst themselves; Bowyer v Dyer (this may have been prior to Ashley's takeover) and Kinnear v N'Zogbia / Insomnia the most glaring examples. Fans are turning against the owner, manager and players (although, who in their right mind can blame them?). This club is spiralling down the proverbial gurgler.

    One must feel that they have taken a step in the right direction by giving Wise the boot; even as a Chelsea and Dennis Wise fan I recognize that he would hardly be a boon to team morale in these troubled times. I would be interested to hear what Phil & others make of the Wise dismissal and why it occurred so soon prior to the Shearer appointment.

    I wonder how long the BBC moderation machine will take to chew through that lot.


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