There are a few players down the years you have represented both Newcastle United and Southampton. But there is one special player that stands out like the Angel of the North dancing like MC Hammer with it’s wings on fire.
Aye, the sheet metal workers son from Gosforth – Alan Shearer… (or God as we call him in our house).
Like most houses who breathe black and white, we have accrued several momento’s of Big Al. Pride of place is the framed and signed sketch of his portrait, the beer soaked scarf from his testimonial, the rubbish from his bins – joking! What a player, what a man.
It’s now nearly 7 years since he last pulled on the jersey. Good God, really? Trouble is, was it ever in doubt that metaphorically speaking we would end up with a Shearer hangover once he hung his boots up? Relegation within a couple of years was not a surprise. After all he had carried that team on his back for a while.
As for his final fling, I didn’t speak for days after the farewell match against Celtic. I was fortunate that I shared my birthday celebrations that night (same as JET Milburn too!) and the pre and post-match festivities left me ever so tired and emotional, er herm. That evening, 27 years that very day (in full toon kit, shorts, socks, mask the whack) I cried like a newly born baby yearning for his mam’s bosom.
Actually had an even more memorable birthday at a different match, May 11th 1997 – Newcastle win 5-0 against Forest to sneak into second place and qualify for the Champions League, whilst the Mackems and the Boro were relegated! All this on my 18th, happy day!
However, the Shearer phenomenon was no more. All that could be done that night, was to point at him repeatedly and shout SHEARER, SHEARER, SHEARER – hoping that the cacophony around SJP would drown out my man sobbing. That’s all we could all do, apart from swinging the scarves around our heads. How class was that man?
This man was Newcastle United. He epitomised everything that we were about. He himself was living the dream of wearing the number 9 on his back – and smashing goals in for United. People loved, adored and worshipped him. Everyone wanted to be him. I am welling up again thinking about it. Tough as teak, clever with and without the ball, ruthless and powerful – he was a true leader of men. Never mind his goals, how many near post headers did Shearer power away from set pieces? He was one of our best defenders too! But above all, Alan was one of us.
This love affair and emotion for the man began from minute one. Similar to the infamous day JFK was shot dead, I remember the news breaking of our prodigal son like it was yesterday. I was working a summer job in a well-known, large clothes department store in the Metro Centre and ran the stockroom with my radio on all day. It was announced over the airwaves and I ran and broke the news in the staff canteen where the rest of the front of house staff sat and moaned about their jobs, slumped and downbeat. The transformation was instantaneous. Grown men hugged, leapt on tables, wept and laughed manically, the chant “Who the f*ck are Manure Nited” rang around so loud, and the jumping up and down so fierce that I took an errant Shearer-style elbow in the temple from the cleaner!
All people could do was grin in disbelief. Telling every person they met that day the news and say – “we will definitely win the league now”. I mean, who doubted his addition would have brought any less?
During his NUFC career, even though blighted by some pretty serious injuries – he could have done nothing more than the 206 Goals he smashed in for United. As we all know a record breaking haul, eclipsing Wor Jackie’s record. Despite his personal triumphs, a succession of manager changes, dubious squad additions and sales, left Big Al, the fans and Newcastle United without any silverware during that purple period. Unbelieveable and this was a real crying shame. Will we ever have a better player in our life times?
The fact he slipped through our net the first time around, with rumour abound that in his trial he ended up in nets as GK, doesn’t bother me one iota. The excitement of signing him for a world record £15 million fee and sticking the victory salute in the face of Man United would have been missed out on. No I wouldn’t change that.
Tell you what though, and this is an obvious statement I would love to drop a 26 year old Shearer into our current team! Cisse set the world alight when he signed last January, and looked like he was going to score every time he struck the ball in anger. But he really has gone off the boil, and I am desperate for him to do well, though just imagine the chances Cisse has spurned this season had they fallen to the Head or foot of Shearer?
Not a fair comparison really comparing PDC to the greatest striker of the modern generation – but when you have the number 9 on your back, that is always going to be the burden.
The chances Cisse missed against Mentalist Kar-Keys luckily did not come back to haunt us this week. I know he was unfortunate to have two legitimate goals chalked off, but he missed three nailed on golden chances too.
As we continue the comparison, this week is the anniversary of the legend himself scoring a hat-trick in an impressive win against Bayer Leverkusen at the Cathedral on the hill, in the Champions League. Leverkusen had been CL finalists the previous season too. He could win games on his own, stick him in this team and you wouldn’t bet against him scoring the winner in Amsterdam would you? I am welling up again, get a grip man!
They say – Never look back only forward, and boy would I love our current number 9 to eclipse Shearer and score a goal that Shearer himself failed to do – the winner in a Cup final. Dare we dream? WE DARE!
COME ON UNITED. HTL.