THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Thursday 2 April ~

The hordes are getting ready to descend. Later today Alan Shearer will be unveiled as Newcastle manager in a ceremony choreographed by Sky Sports News. This will be attended by thousands, some of whom may even be wearing shirts. But another horde, of a very different kind, has already made its presence known in this morning's press. A motley collection of characters from Newcastle's past are trying very hard to convince us that Shearer as manager is going to be a huge success. Kevin Keegan will be ruefully poring over his legal proceedings against Mike Ashley, mindful that he is no longer a participant in the ultimate Geordie story.

Newcastle have used up potential saviours at a quicker rate than ever before this season having now made four managerial appointments. Shearer is the final option. Not that you would know it from the overwhelmingly positive reaction. Chris Waddle, never noted for incisive comment, managed to contradict himself completely. While pointing out Shearer's complete lack of managerial experience he dismissed that with the theory he sees plenty of football as a pundit and that "the biggest plus is he knows the club inside out... when not working, he watches them all the time... he knows what the punters want and has a pretty good idea of how to give it to them". But Chris, as you've just said, he doesn't know how to give it to them – he just watches a lot of football. Alan Hansen believes he has "all the attributes to make a top-class manager" and Jamie Redknapp claims "Shearer should have been Newcastle manager more than a year ago". Jamie doesn't really elaborate on quite why.

Before he had even taken a training session there were calls for Shearer to be given the job on a full-time basis. Ex-Newcastle chairmen, quick to criticise Mike Ashley despite their own dubious records, were just as eager to talk up Shearer. John Hall would "prefer him to be long-term boss" while Freddy Shepherd was typically forthright: “There’s no doubt about it, Alan Shearer is the right guy for the job. If you want someone to lead you in a relegation fight, you couldn’t pick anyone better than Alan. He’s a leader and an inspirational figure. He’s the man you want in the trenches." It is Shearer's perceived leadership qualities that have convinced many that Newcastle will avoid Championship football next year. Such as Henry Winter in the Telegraph: "Rallying calls will get Newcastle out of the relegation scrap. Such tactics may not work elsewhere but emotion has always been the fuel for the Geordie rocket."

So another new dawn has arrived over Newcastle and the "Cockney Mafia" has been vanquished from the north-east. Perhaps the final word should go to another famous Geordie, Paul Gascoigne: “To take on the manager’s job at Newcastle you’ve got to be a brave man, but Alan’s blood is black and white and he’ll be telling the players that. He’ll be loving it." This is precisely the problem that no one else seems to be mentioning. Quite why Jonas Gutierrez or Jose Enrique will care about anyone's "black and white blood" or raise their game as a response is unclear. The presence of Alan Shearer might mean Newcastle eke out enough points from a difficult last eight games to keep the club in the Premier League. On other hand it might well not be enough.

Comments (5)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-04-02 14:29:04

Do people actually get paid money for writing "Rallying calls will get Newcastle out of the relegation scrap. Such tactics may not work elsewhere but emotion has always been the fuel for the Geordie rocket"?

Comment by imp 2009-04-02 15:14:31

Look, everyone knows it's passion that fuels the Geordie game. Newcastle's jam-packed trophy cabinet speaks for itself. You don't need tactics or good players to win the league, you need pure, erm, black and white blood. Just get players who can go out there and run around believing in Newcastle and all it stands for, and results will come. Football's a religion up there, you know. Just because we sneering atheists don't have the faith, that doesn't mean Newcastle fans can't believe glory will come by appointing a callus-handed son of Geordie soil and toil (albeit one with the charisma of a croquet mallet).

Comment by Liffrok 2009-04-02 20:12:27

Madness.

Comment by CarsmileSteve 2009-04-02 23:21:48

I've been saying this for the last year, Ashley's a mackem! He only bought the club to see how much of a complete mess he could make of it...

Comment by salamander 2009-04-03 01:04:26

All the furore surrounding the appointment of Alan Shearer does not, however, disguise the fact that the current crop of Newcastle United players seems to be less than ordinary. Having watched them many times this season, yes OK, you cannot fault their determination and commitment to the cause (lost though it now may be) but this is just not enough to even survive in the Premiership these days. Unfortunately, there is such a distinct lack of real quality in the side and now when it comes to the real crunch I wonder how many of them will be really up for the fight to avoid the drop.

Related articles

Bobby Robson film offers smiles, tears and plenty of fond memories
Embed from Getty Images // Watching the elegantly put together More Than A Manager highlights why Robson was so revered by fans, players and...
Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late: My Story by Kieron Dyer
with Oliver Holt Headline, £20Reviewed by Gavin BarberFrom WSC 377, July/August 2018Buy the book Kieron Dyer comes across in these pages as...
Any Given Saturday by Shay Given
Sport Media, £20Reviewed by Jonathan O’BrienFrom WSC 376, June 2018Buy the book To most Ireland fans, Shay Given will be remembered...