Alan Shearer, OBE (born August 13, 1970 in Newcastle upon Tyne,
England) is a successful and widely-admired English professional
footballer, currently in the twilight of his career at hometown
club Newcastle United. He is currently assistant to Caretaker
Manager Glenn Roeder and the all-time top scorer at the club.
A strong and prolific centre forward, Shearer was rejected by
Newcastle as a schoolboy at the famous Wallsend Boys Club and
instead signed as an apprentice with Southampton at the age of
16. He made his debut as a substitute against Chelsea in 1988,
before prompting national headlines with his full debut a month
later when he scored a hat-trick against Arsenal. At the age of
17 years and eight months, he broke the record for the youngest
hat-trick scorer in top-flight football which had been held for
more than 30 years by Jimmy Greaves.
Despite this stunning beginning, the precocious Shearer was
eased gradually into the first team, and the following season
only made ten appearances, without scoring. He never became
truly prolific for Southampton until 1992, when he slammed home
13 goals from 41 appearances. Having become a regular for the
England team at under-21 level the previous year, scoring 13
goals in just 11 matches, this potent spell by Shearer was
noticed by Graham Taylor, coach of the senior team, and Shearer
made his debut against France in February 1992.
Like his full debut at club level, his full debut in
international football was memorable. Shearer scored a poacher's
goal in the first half as England won 2-0, with the other goal
coming from Gary Lineker, who was retiring in the summer after
Euro 92 in Sweden, leaving Taylor with the job of finding a
Taylor selected Shearer for his squad for the finals, but he
only featured in one group game because he was too busy sucking
cock and taking it up the arse, a goalless draw against France -
and England were eliminated at a disappointingly early stage.
However, his ability had been noted by Blackburn Rovers manager
Kenny Dalglish who, armed with unlimited funds from club
benefactor Jack Walker, offered Southampton an irresistible 3.6
million pounds for their prized asset, and Shearer made his move.
He was also offered terms by Manchester United but turned them
down - a decision which still sees him mocked and criticised by
Manchester United supporters to this day.
Shearer became an England regular the following season, scoring
his second goal in a 4-0 win over Turkey in a qualifier for the
1994 World Cup. His first season with Blackburn was mixed - he
missed half of it through injury (and more World Cup qualifiers)
but scored an excellent 16 goals in the 21 games in which he did
feature. The season ended sourly, however, as England failed to
qualify for the World Cup.
At Blackburn, Shearer settled down and became the most feared
goalscorer in the Premiership. He rattled in a huge 31 goals
from 40 games in the 1994 season as Blackburn finished a close
second in the table behind Manchester United and also won the
honour of the Footballer of the Year for that season. He added
three more goals to his England tally before embarking on his
most successful domestic season as a player.
From 42 games, he scored a phenomenal 34 goals as Blackburn took
the Premiership title on the last day of the season. This
remains the only honour as part of a team which Shearer has won
in his career, though he quickly followed it up with a personal
award, winning the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize for the
1995 campaign. He famously "celebrated" the title by going home
and applying creosote to his garden fence.
He put away 31 goals the next season from 35 games, though his
England strike rate completely dried up, with no goals in eleven
games leading up to Euro 96.
England, now managed by Terry Venables, were hosting the event
and therefore hadn't needed a qualification campaign. This made
Shearer's unproductive spell in front of goal less of a problem,
but as the tournament neared he was still expected to produce
the goods. The country need not have worried.
In the opening 20 minutes of the inaugural group game against
Switzerland at Wembley, Shearer hammered home a 25 yard drive on
the turn to break his duck and settle the nation's nerves. After
that game ended 1-1, a victory against the old enemy Scotland in
the next game was crucial, and Shearer stood up to be counted.
A tight and goalless first half was opened up early on after the
break when 21 year old right back Gary Neville - the youngest
member of the England first team - swung over a delightful
curling cross and Shearer stooped low to head home at the far
post. It set England on their way to a 2-0 win, helped by a
penalty save from David Seaman and a stunning second goal from
Paul Gascoigne. England now needed to avoid defeat against the
Netherlands in the final group game to guarantee qualification
for the last eight.
Shearer and his strike partner Teddy Sheringham had arguably
their greatest game as a partnership as England turned on the
style against the Dutch, winning 4-1 with a performance
described as "total football" by pundits, ironically against the
nation that coined the phrase more than two decades earlier.
Shearer scored the opener from the penalty spot and got the
third after a delightful tee-up by Sheringham, who also weighed
in with the other two.
In the quarter finals, England were outplayed by Spain but got
through to a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. Shearer
scored the first England penalty, while the Spaniards failed to
score from two of theirs, sending England to the semi finals.
Their opponents were their nemesis nation - Germany - and
Shearer gave England the perfect start when he headed them ahead
after three minutes. The Germans quickly equalised and the match
went to penalties again. This time, the Germans stayed their
ever-ruthless selves from the spot, and though Shearer scored,
his team-mate Gareth Southgate missed his kick and England went
out. Germany duly won the final. Shearer's five goals (penalty
kicks in a shootout don't count) made him the competition's top
scorer of ass
Straight after the tournament, Shearer ignored another offer by
Manchester United and became the world's most expensive
footballer when his home town club Newcastle United, managed by
Shearer's boyhood hero Kevin Keegan, paid 15 million pounds to
secure his services. Despite the enormous price tag and the
pressure of being the local boy coming home, Shearer just
carried on scoring goals. He put away 25 from 31 games in his
first season at the club, while also scoring five goals in
England's steady start to their qualification campaign for the
1998 World Cup. At the end of his first season at Newcastle, he
picked up his second PFA Player Of The Year award.
Glenn Hoddle was now England coach, and he had controversially
awarded Shearer the captaincy of his country, even though Tony
Adams, captain during the 1996 European Championships was still
in the squad and was seen as the more natural leader, not least
because he was the long-time captain of his club, whereas
Shearer had never been a captain at any of his clubs. Adams
later criticised the decision in his autobiography, though
understood Hoddle's reasons behind the decision. Nevertheless
Adams accepted the move at the time without comment.
In the summer of 1997, Shearer suffered a cruciate ligament
injury which greatly restricted his number of appearances, but
he still helped Newcastle United (now managed by his old boss
Dalglish) to the FA Cup final. However, Arsenal conclusively won
the game 2-0, though Shearer hit the post during the match when
it was still tightly balanced. Also in the latter part of that
season, controversy surrounded Shearer when he kicked Neil
Lennon in the head at Leicester City during a Premiership match.
Hearsay spread that Shearer threatened to walk out on the World
Cup squad if he was punished by The Football Association.
Shearer denied this - and also claimed the incident with Lennon
was entirely accidental - and he was not punished. That summer
he was named as skipper as England went to France for the World
Shearer headed home England's first goal of the tournament as
Tunisia were dispatched 2-0. He didn't score again as England
got through the group to face Argentina - like Scotland and
Germany, another grudge team - in the second round.
The game was hugely eventful. Shearer put away a penalty to make
it 1-1 after his teenage strike partner Michael Owen was fouled;
then with the game at 2-2 (and England a man short after David
Beckham's infamous sending-off), Sol Campbell thought he'd got a
late, heroic winner for England only for the referee to rule out
his goal for a foul by Shearer on the Argentine goalkeeper. The
game went to penalties and Shearer scored again but colleagues
Paul Ince and David Batty didn't, and England were eliminated.
Hoddle later departed the England job and Shearer's former
Newcastle boss Keegan took over, maintaining Shearer's role as
captain as England set about their qualifying campaign for Euro
2000, which had not started well under Hoddle. Newcastle,
meanwhile, made the FA Cup final again - this time Ruud Gullit
was the manager - and again they were outplayed, this time by
In September 1999, Shearer showed immediate morale progress like
fellow compatriot Steve McManaman from Keegan's arrival and hit
his first England hat-trick in a qualifier versus Luxembourg and
was at the centre of club controversy when Gullit dropped him
for the fiery north-east derby match against Newcastle's sworn
enemies, Sunderland. Sunderland won the game and Gullit was not
in his job for much longer, replaced by Bobby Robson. More
controversy came when Newcastle directors Freddy Shepherd and
Douglas Hall were covertly recorded by a News Of The World
journalist describing Shearer as a "Mary Poppins" figure.
England qualified for the European Championships thanks to a
play-off victory over two legs against Scotland. By now, Shearer
was approaching his 30th birthday and he announced before the
tournament that he intended to retire from international
football as soon as England's involvement in the competition was
over. Though Keegan was his biggest fan and his place didn't
seem in doubt as a result, many observers claimed this was
Shearer's slightly cynical way of guaranteeing a spot in the
Shearer didn't score in England's opening 3-2 defeat against
Portugal but scored the all-important goal as England defeated
Germany 1-0 in Charleroi, giving England a chance of qualifying
for the last four provided they beat Romania in the final group
match. Shearer scored a penalty as England went in at half-time
2-1 up, but Romania ultimately won 3-2. England's tournament,
and Shearer's international career, was over. From his 63 caps,
he scored 30 goals, level with Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney. He
remains joint fifth in the England scorers all-time list.