Was Big Al the only man who could save Newcastle United?

By Lee Ryder on Mar 31, 09 11:25 PM

Alan Shearer tonight sensationally accepted the post to take on Newcastle United and attempt to save their place in the Premier League.

The legendary number 9 and club's record scorer will be paraded to the media in due course and will spark scenes of excitement.

It is Mike Ashley's response to the intense pressure heaped upon him after making a real mess of affairs at St James's Park this season.

alan-shearer.jpgAshley backed Dennis Wise at a time when Kevin Keegan was unhappy with life on Tyneside which resulted in him quitting the club causing uproar in Newcastle.

However, how many Ashley crictics will change their tune now Shearer has agreed to join up?

Many will be more concerned with Newcastle staying up and with Chris Hughton failing to raise the much maligned Magpies, masses will feel that with KK's ties well and truly broken with the club despite Wise's imminent departure - Shearer was the only man for the job.

Without doubt Shearer will already have the respect of the dressing room and he won't take any nonsense from anybody - the whole changing room will know the score from day one.

In fact he will strike the fear of God down any player caught slacking to delight the Toon Army.

Then you have the fact that Shearer's return will keep Michael Owen on board and attract new stars in the style of Keegan, if he is handed cash to spend - and that will surely have been a condition of him coming back.

Throw into that the fact that the crowd will be re-ignited and the remaining eight games now have a totally different complexion.

Indeed suddenly beating Chelsea becomes a realistic possibility given Shearer's input, influence and drive - while the must win games over Fulham, Boro and Pompey have also become sell out matches.

For many there were always only two candidates to get Newcastle back on the map, Kevin Keegan or Big Al.

With many feeling KK's patience at SJP had been cracked all together and beyond repair, Shearer's fresh input is the best case scenario.

And even though Shearer doesn't have managerial experience - the only question for Geordies is: Who cares?

Shearer has been working quietly on his coaching badges since retirement but it looks like he has ended up with itchy feet despite the comfort of TV studios.

Shearer is the main man on Tyneside and now the hurdle of the ex-England skipper getting on with Ashley has been overcome, many now feel that staying up is suddenly no longer such a struggle.

A new manager will never come in with the club top of the table but Shearer would perhaps prefer to come in now rather than in the Championship - which is where we were heading until this evening.

With Wise on the way out, the future of Joe Kinnear is also up in the air but whether he will be retained in an upstairs role is still to be confirmed.

Either way, Shearer's dramatic return has sent shockwaves around the football world.

More importantly though his arrival should save Newcastle and while Ashley and Derek Llambias have been battered from pillar to post - where does it leave your feelings on the controverisal duo now?

Welcome back Big Al.



phil said:

Great for relegation fight and for the future but ONLY under a different owner.I can't think of a scenario where I'd be happy with MA staying.Well,I can but it involves some financial input and totally different management set-up,so that's a non-starter.

valle said:

Try logging newsnow mate, this is all over and no aprils fool.

valle said:

As for a new owner... We wont get a sugar daddy like City and im not even sure i want one... Get behing MA now and move on.

desmond said:

ok lee,first convince me this has nothing to do with april fools....

what took them so long to take action? we could have had 2weeks for shearer to gel with the team.......yet this is a 100% good news

Haroon (Singapore) said:

Lets hope its true and not an April Fool's Day joke. Shearer has associated himself with Ashley regime now, he better not mess up his chance to manage or else he'd end up like Roy Keane. Lee, you are a funny fella. With our top flight status becoming dire by the day you're talking about attracting stars in KK style. Bloody Joker...

Tad Caster said:

"However, how many Ashley crictics will change their tune now Shearer has agreed to join up?"

So we were all wrong and you were right? Ashley is a good guy after all...

I'll get behind the team, but not Ashley. Never.

Hope Shearer's got what it takes.

Don Maccy said:

I thought relegation may have been the only thing to get MA out but with AS as manager, until the end of the season anyway, there's a glimmer of hope for the club.
Wise out, Kinnear out and Alan in. The only one hanging in the balance is MA. Will he back Alan or continue to run a huge club like a corner shop?

Or is this just a way of deflecting criticism? If we stay up, everyone's happy for as while. If we go down, Alan Shearer will be the manager who took us down and MA may think that will be his protection.

If we go down it's MA to blame, 100%. Good luck Alan Shearer, get these players moving, they play like pieces on a chess board, very static for long periods.

Tardonicus said:

I'm proud of Big Al, coming back to try to save the club from relegation. I'm sure he's taken on this task because he knows the stakes. Overnight, there's hope again. Thanks Al!

tony cro said:

Well...WHAT WILL BE WILL BE...but I fill like being born today again and my believe in Newcastle and his write To have one of greatest men on helm of our great and will be something.

Go on Big AL may force be with you

Snapper said:

The Big man is putting his status on the line, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose. He will with out doubt galvanise the squad, come down hard on skivers and let perennial under performers like Viduka where to get off, (particularly) the physio's couch. Ashley dos'nt need to be even discussed he has made probably the only decision that will save our bacon, and I bet he had to eat humble pie to do it.

Nige said:

Snapper - Al has nothing to gain????
He can't lose. If he keeps up up, it increases his hero status. If he can't, well the damage was done well before he took over.

Also, if we do stay up, he's likely to get the job full time. If we go down, he may be the best we can hope for anyway.

I just hope this is the move that galvanises the club now. I don't like Ashley, but the longer we fight against him, the longer the troubles at the club will last. We need to unite now more than ever.

karl said:

I'm sorry but I ain't getting carried away with this - and Big Al must be off his trolley to take our shambles of a club on. This is a 'publicity stunt' move by MA in the same way as bringing back KK was - and I'm only suprised that Al has been drawn into it.

Relton said:

Lets hope that Big Al has done better due dilligence than KK.
Lets hope that he can sidetrack the dwarf.
Lets hope that the presence of a geordie voice in the corridors and changing rooms can inspire these players in to fulfilling thier potential on the pitch.
Lets hope that Al has at least brought his boots along - so that he can put himself on when the chokers start putting thier hands in their pockets, missing penalties, open goals and generally letting us all down.

BobbyTee said:

Darren - I am with you.
This is a sweetner to lessen the bitter pill of relegation.
And what of JFK? and what of dennis Wise? JFK was promising us he was still going to play a role at SJP (phew thats a relief!!!).
This is a populist move that will enable Ashley to feel safer in his seat when he visits White Hart Lane to support his beloved Spurs against NUFC.

ronnie lambert said:

Massive news, great news! Not as big as KK coming back for me as I really loved his style of management. With the right support from Ashley, Kev would have re-made the ' entertainers ' and done well in the premiership, I just know it. But, KK came here as a first-time manager with a love and passion for everything Geordie and he was from Scunthorp or somewhere. Shearer comes as a "GEORDIE" with a love for everything Geordie and that's a step higher than KK. The job he does here will be crucial for the club and city, therefore we will see full-house for the remaining home games, and a buzz from Newcastle to the land of Oz, to the U.S.A., To the deserts of Sudan. Every oil-worker and ex-pat the world over will be dancing in the streets or in the sand. I only hope the lads in Helmand don't break cover to celebrate though. As for Ashley's political expediency, it borders on brilliant for keeping the park full, beating the drop, and saving next season's ticket-holders. For all you cynics, and I've had my share since this cabal took over, HE WOULDN'T DARE TO GET IT WRONG AGAIN!.....or he's lost everything. He's obviously eaten humble pie to get Tyneside's favourite son back home, and Big Al, being no mug will have made some heavy demands that will be "in writing" and made public if it goes tuts ip. Howay the lads...Busker's got a song coming on.

kieran said:

Nice one to Shearer for lifting the gloom around the place. Ashley has finally taken some positive action, very surprising news no wonder everyone thinks its a joke. I agree with Nige that Shearer has nothing to lose, he`s doing a firefighter job much like Trevor Brooking did for West Ham a couple of seasons ago. If only Ashley had eaten humble pie when Keegan first left I believe he would have come back without a doubt. His ties will never be broken at this football club. If we drop down to the championship Shearer might be the best manager we can get, but if we stay up this is not a job for rookies... Shearer might be perfect to galvanise the squad and fans for these eight games, but would he be able to attract top players? Im not so sure. He will certainly increase his legendary status if we stay up tho!

Chris said:

Lee, why are using this as some sort of vindication of Ashley/Llambias and presuming it means we're safe?

"how many Ashley crictics will change their tune now Shearer has agreed to join up?"
None I would hope. Shearer is far better than Kinnear or Hughton, but they've jeopardised the future of the club with the ineptness of their appointments up until now.

"Shearer's return will keep Michael Owen on board and attract new stars"
Really? Your saying Owen will play in the Championship under Shearer, when he's a free agent?

"beating Chelsea becomes a realistic possibility"
It's a possibility, as is me winning the lottery. Not very realistic though.

"staying up is suddenly no longer such a struggle."
It's still going to be a massive struggle.

"his arrival should save Newcastle and while Ashley and Derek Llambias have been battered from pillar to post - where does it leave your feelings on the controverisal duo now?"
Unchanged. They've not saved Newcastle, they're the ones who put us on the brink. My feelings might change once we're chasing Europe.

mark said:

If we escape relegation i want ashley to be the only cockney in the club so that when he sell's it he will be the last cockney through the doors.

Jack said:

This club has had four managers in one season. I would go on but I can't be arsed.

brian thorpe said:

I hope shearer has what it takes to keep this once proud club up. It was once proud before Ashley and wise got their hands on it!!! But why appoint Shearer now?? when JFK got sick an appointment should have been made. Anyway we all have to be positive and get behind Alan, in this hour of need. We are the better club in the north east and it would be a travisty if the mackems stay up and we go down. So come on Shearer, we have faith. All we need now is ashley to sell and we will be on the right track again.

brian from durham said:

Hope and optimism are back, two things totally destroyed by Ashley, But by God , you had better not blow this one Ashley, or this club is finished and your investment is down the pan.

brian whitfield said:

Well..........I hope Alan brings a big shovel if he hopes to dig this lot out of the (you know what). No managerial or coaching experience either?Hmmm......
Still, a good healthy dose of Championship football may be just what they need.

Restless Native said:

Darren Stevens ... WHO ARE YE ... WHO ARE YE?!


AndyT said:

And Dennis Wise is officially no longer a part of NUFC! LOVE IT!!! You have everything now, Shearer!

Steve said:

Much as I am cynical of Ashley's previous dealings with Newcastle legends, Shearer is not going to take this task on without having set firm parameters. Wise leaving has to be a good sign, as both Ashley and Llambias were all about him up until recently.

Maybe the fear has set in for Ashley that he could lose a massive amount on his investment if we go down, and that having Shearer at the helm can only inspire us to move up, even if we have to go down first.

Dowie as an assistant manager looks like a shrewd move, he is beter than he gets credit for and with Calderwood and Hughton able to stick to coaching now, Shearer can just come in and be a motivator and firm manager to hopefully keep us up.

I agree that Ashley probably had to come begging without being able to just throw money at Shearer...he doesn't need it, he is doing this for his love of the club.

As an exile abroad, I get chills thinking about Saturday when the team comes out to Local Hero....!!! Howay the lads!!!

rockstar said:

Good Luck AS and suddenly I believe we may just scrap it again this year..

Ive even resigned to the thought of Championship foootball next year with AS as manager..Maybe just what we all need to start going onwards and upwards again like in the 90s with KK and The Halls!

Either way, I suddenly believe again.

Relton said:

Hats off to Big Al - due dilligence has clearly been thorough.
We are not saved yet though. Like you Rockstar - the bitter pill of Championship footy will taste a little sweeter IF Big Al is in charge.
You have to admit - MA has pulled a trick out the bag here. He will rescue season ticket sales - even if we get relegated!!!!
Bring on Chelsea. Did any of thier shoplifters/wife beaters get injured last night ?

Steve Taylor said:

The cynical side of me would like to start picking faults with all of this but right now Im just more pleased that having Shearer is incalculably more advantageous than having JFK or poor old Hughton at the helm. What next tho? If we go down no-one can predict the repercussions at this stage. If Shearer pulls off a glorious revival, what is on offer for him to stay next season and really build something. If we narrowly survive, how do we judge the best way forward?
Lambias not so long ago spoke of surviving with points to spare and persisting with the "5 year plan". Well, seemingly thats all gone now with the departure of our Director (Football) revealing just how little they have really planned. The big gamblers played a dangerous game of Russian Roulette by putting the hapless Hughton in charge, desperate and ineffective measures saw Calderwood drafted and now we have another 2-4-1 managerial option in the mix!
WTF is going on man?! And the tears will still flow at the end of the season if the unthinkable happens whether its Shearer in charge or, errrrr Dowie!
Best case scenario is we survive whether gloriously or narrowly and someone takes a punt on relieving Ashley of his toy. Whether Al is here or not next season, Ashley will somehow f*ck it all up, guaranteed!


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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