The DJ at St James’ Park must find another stadium-shaking, pulse-racing anthem. Local Hero must return to its case as Alan Shearer sheds himself of his second skin, that black-and-white No 9 shirt he wore with such distinction. As the Toon contemplate life after Shearer, the only lyrics that fully capture the Gallowgate’s emotions are “God only knows what I’d be without you.”
Just as critics sniped that Shearer had stayed on a season too long, he responded to the brickbats and the falling curtain with a fusillade of goals: clinical penalties, cool one-on-one finishes and regrets, if but a few, about the ones that got away.
Monday’s ligament trouble at Sunderland has not simply precipitated Shearer’s retirement date by three games, but deprived Newcastle United of the services of their most in-form forward. How typical of the man: he went out striking fear in a rivals’ goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis, who had just thwarted England’s present No 9, Wayne Rooney, in his previous outing against Manchester United. The verdict on Shearer’s career is simple and uplifting: he remained a goal threat until the end.
At the final reckoning, the stats scream Shearer’s class: 409 goals, including 30 for England, spread over 18 years, yet it is the words, not the impressive numbers, that truly define this special individual. Words like loyalty. In the Bosman world of constant movement, where devotion can be a dirty word, Shearer fought against the take-the-money creed.
His career began at Southampton, but the Geordie nation’s No 1 ambassador worked his way home, via title-winning Blackburn Rovers, where he was loved like a son by Kenny Dalglish and the late, much-missed Jack Walker. Manchester United fans derided Shearer for snubbing them twice, decisions he knew would cost him a cabinet full of medals, but the call of the Gallowgate meant more. Much more. You cannot put a price on being a local hero.
Newcastle United are his club, his passion. When the wonderful Angel of the North was erected overlooking the A1, enterprising Newcastle fans quickly clad it with a massive Toon shirt bearing Shearer’s name. Because Shearer is the greatest advertisement for Newcastle: hard-working, down to earth and with a real twinkle in his eye.
So respect the phenomenal goal return, but warm to the words that describe Shearer. Words like commitment. In the age of millionaires in the comfort zone, Shearer constantly put his body on the line. Twice, he fought back from knee injuries that would have defeated lesser mortals. Amid all the understandable wailing from Wallsend to Washington over Monday’s injury, it was fitting that what appears Shearer’s final act in a Newcastle strip should be an attempted tackle on a Sunderland player despite being on one leg. Competing to the last.
This is a warrior who never surrendered for Southampton, Blackburn or Newcastle, and never, ever for his country. In the nervous minutes before kick-off, England players would glance round the dressing-room, see Shearer with his eyes ablaze with determination, and belief would fill them.
Other words. Like integrity. In a profession tarnished by unpleasant creatures like Lee Bowyer, Shearer represents a breed for whom principles count. Some of his distracted peers become stars of CCTV. Not Shearer, now a BBC favourite. Value-giving and clean-living, Shearer is a model person as well as a model pro.
He has his golf, his family, his friends and the respect of everyone.
People say Shearer should focus on the Beeb, gradually articulating his interesting thoughts on the game as his distance from the dressing-room grows. Yet the former England captain has still so much to offer football. He could make a good manager, although the modest dedication levels of certain younger pros would frustrate a competitor who gave his all in every game, in every training session.
Even as the sands of time ran out on his career, Shearer gave his beloved Newcastle continued bragging rights over Sunderland. For that alone, he will always be the local hero. God only knows when Newcastle will see Shearer’s like again.
Henrik Winther – The Telegraph
Shearers karriere er desværre slut…..
En ledbåndsskade i kampen mod lokalrivalerne Sunderland, betød enden kom 3 kampe for tidligt. Jeg har desværre ikke så meget at sige idag. Jeg havde vitterligt håbet at han vil komme sig, og tage resten af sæsonen, men det er slut.
Men måden det sluttede på….. Et klinisk straffespark mod Sunderland, og en all in tackling til sidst. Vemodigt – men smukt