Football FanCast columnist Richard Buxton pays tribute to Alan Shearer and the dignified manner in which he
“You should’ve stayed on the telly“,
crowed the Kop during Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United. This was the
finale of an in-game medley by the home supporters which comprised of a
rendition of the Match of the Day theme tune, the proclamation of a ‘football
genius’ and the ritual cry of ‘Shearer, Shearer’.
Throughout this act of spontaneity Magpies’ manager Alan Shearer sat in the
Anfield dugout and afforded himself a little chuckle before walking to his
technical area, acknowledging the Kopites’ tongue-in-cheek chants with a brief
wave en route, as he attempted to rally his relegation battlers.
This brief exchange during a game which saw the visitors’ condemnation to
The Championship move one step closer as they remained in the bottom three
highlighted just one of the things that sets Shearer aside from other Premier
Ever since his installation as caretaker manager at St James Park, the
Gallowgate legend has been a credit to the Geordie nation with his conduct.
Despite only taking two points from his first five games in charge, the
erstwhile MOTD pundit has remained calm and composed as he battles valiantly to
save his hometown club from relegation. He has not launched into a four-letter
tirade like his predecessor Joe Kinnear did shortly after taking the reins late
His straight-talking views are not confined solely to the sofa at
Broadcasting House as he showed with his condemnation of Joey Barton after he
was dismissed for a needless foul on Xabi Alonso in the late stages of the game
“I wasn’t happy, I was bitterly
disappointed at the way that happened,” Shearer told BBC Sport.
“I asked him to stay calm in the
heat of the battle but it was a stupid tackle and he deserved to be sent
Reports in yesterday’s press suggest that a dressing room row took place
between the pair after the final whistle at Anfield with Barton responding to
the interim manager’s claim that the Huyton-born midfielder had committed a
‘coward’s tackle’ by launching into a tirade during which he called Shearer a
‘s*** manager with s*** tactics’. Newcastle have announced that midfielder has
been suspended for two weeks without pay following the incident but have
refused to comment on speculation that it is related to Sunday’s alleged brawl.
Whether or not Shearer is manager at St James, it is guaranteed that the
thuggish Barton will not be donning the black and white stripes for Newcastle,
be it in the Barclays Premier League or the Coca Cola Championship.
Shearer will always be a hero in the North East just as he is in Lancashire
for firing Blackburn Rovers to Premier League glory in 1995 and England’s
former number nine will continue to be held in high esteem by his beloved
Magpies, regardless of Newcastle’s final position in the league this season.
Even if they do go down, this brief stint will not taint Shearer’s future
managerial career. He comes across as a very honest manager and it appears to
be a win-win situation for him despite him having to face up to the
heartbreaking prospect that his beloved club spending next season in the second
tier of English football.
The only criticism that can be made of Shearer is the appointment of Iain
Dowie as his assistant manager. The track record of the former Crystal Palace,
Charlton, Coventry and, more recently, QPR manager is not exactly progressive
and his presence in the Newcastle dugout as Shearer’s right-hand man will not
provide ‘bouncebackability’ as the Geordies battle against the drop.
If Shearer does keep Newcastle up he will be the local hero (pun intended)
turned into a lifetime legend for salvaging his boyhood team after a series of
botched managerial appointments by the dwindling Cockney mafia. If Newcastle
are plying their trade in The Championship next year the Geordie nation will
not circle on him like a pack of vultures. Instead they will hold the real
culprits, owner Mike Ashley and his band of merry men, responsible for the
downfall of their club.
Shearer’s managerial future may not necessarily lie with Newcastle United
but, based on current form; it most definitely does reside in the Barclays