Alan Shearer OBE (born 13 August 1970 in Gosforth, England) is a former professional English footballer who starred for the England National Football team and three English Premiership clubs, Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. During his career he enjoyed successes at both club and international level, becoming one of the most prolific strikers of all time. In total he s
ored 422 goals for club and country, averaging 25 goals a season for each of his 17 seasons as a player. He announced his international retirement following England's exit from Euro 2000 but continued to play for Newcastle United until 2006, when after an injury plagued season he retired completely from football.
As a 16-year-old schoolboy at Wallsend Boys Club, Shearer was rejected by Newcastle, with a legendary trial as goalkeeper (he has admitted he was only in goal for a small part of a full day), and instead signed as an apprentice with Southampton. 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 player to score a hat-trick in top-flight football, held for more than thirty years by Jimmy Greaves.
Despite this auspicious beginning to his career, Shearer was only eased gradually into the first team, making 10 (goalless) appearances for the club the following season. He did not become truly prolific for Southampton until 1992, when he scored 13 goals in 41 appearances. Having earned a regular place in the England U21 team the previous year, scoring thirteen goals in just eleven matches in the process, 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 successful; Shearer scored a poacher's goal in the first half as England won 2-0. The other goal came from Gary Lineker, who was retiring in the summer after Euro 92 in Sweden, leaving Taylor with the job of finding a successor.
Blackburn and England (1992-1996)
Taylor selected Shearer for his squad for the finals, but he only featured in one group game - a goalless draw against France - and England were eliminated at an early stage. However, his ability had been noted by Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish who, with vast funds at his disposal from benefactor Jack Walker, offered Southampton ú3.6 million for Shearer, which was accepted, and the transfer to Blackburn was completed. Shearer was also offered terms by Manchester United but turned them down.
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 FIFA World Cup. His first season with Blackburn was mixed - he missed half of it (and more World Cup qualifiers) through injury, snapping his right anterior cruciate ligament against Leeds United on 26 December 1992, but scored 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, he scored an impressive 31 goals from 40 games in the 1993-94 season, as they finished a close second in the table behind Manchester United. He also won the honour of the Football Writers' Footballer of the Year for that season. Shearer added three more goals to his England tally before embarking on his most successful domestic season as a player at that time.
The arrival of Chris Sutton before the start of the 1994-95 season established a strong attacking partnership at Blackburn, with the duo acquiring the nickname "the SAS" - Shearer And Sutton. In 42 games, Shearer scored 34 goals, as Blackburn took the Premiership title on the last day of the season. This remains the only club honour that Shearer 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 1994-95 campaign. After winning the Premiership, a myth arose that Shearer "celebrated" the title by going home and applying creosote to his garden fence.
In 1995-96 he scored 31 goals from 35 games, although his England strike rate completely dried up, with no goals in the 11 matches 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 expected to score.
In the opening 20 minutes of the inaugural group game against Switzerland at Wembley, Shearer scored, to break his goal-drought. After that game ended 1-1, a victory against Scotland in the next game was crucial. After a tight and goalless first half, Gary Neville swung over a 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 second goal from Paul Gascoigne. England now needed to avoid defeat against Holland to be in the quarter-finals, and Shearer and his strike partner Teddy Sheringham helped them win 4-1 with two goals each, with a performance described as "Total Football" by pundits.
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 final against Germany. Shearer headed England into the lead after three minutes, but the Germans quickly equalised and the match went to penalties again. This time, Germany won from the spot; although Shearer scored, his team-mate Gareth Southgate missed his kick and England went out. Germany went on to win the final. Shearer's five goals made him the competition's top scorer, and together with team mates David Seaman and Steve McManaman, was listed in the official UEFA Team of the Tournament.
Newcastle and England (1996-2000)
After Euro '96, Shearer was approached by Manchester United with another offer to buy him from Blackburn. However, Shearer ignored the offer and joined Newcastle United, managed by Shearer's boyhood hero Kevin Keegan, who paid ú15 million to secure his services, making Shearer the world's most expensive footballer. Despite the pressures of the price tag, and of being the local boy playing for his hometown team, Shearer continued to score goals: 25 in 31 games in his first season at St James' Park. He also scored five times in England's steady start to their qualification campaign for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and at the end of his first season at Newcastle he picked up his second PFA Player Of The Year award.
In the summer of 1997, Shearer suffered a broken ankle in a pre-season match at Goodison Park, an injury which greatly restricted his number of appearances. He still helped Newcastle United (now managed by his old boss at Blackburn, Kenny Dalglish) to the 1997-98 FA Cup final, but Arsenal won the game 2-0, although Shearer hit the post during the match.
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. FA Chief Executive Graham Kelly later claimed in his autobiography that Shearer threatened to walk out on the World Cup squad if he was punished by the FA. Shearer denied this - and also claimed the incident with Lennon was entirely accidental - and he was not punished. That summer he was named as England captain as they went to France for the 1998 World Cup.
Shearer scored England's first goal of the tournament, in a 2-0 win over Tunisia, but that was his only goal in the three group matches. England faced Argentina in the second round: Shearer scored first-half penalty in a match that went to penalties after a 2-2 draw. Shearer scored again, but colleagues Paul Ince and David Batty missed, and England were eliminated.
England's Euro 2000 qualifying campaign did not start well, and Hoddle departed the England job, with Shearer's former Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan taking over and maintaining Shearer's role as captain as England. Newcastle, meanwhile, made the FA Cup final again in 1998-99 - this time with Ruud Gullit as manager - and again they were defeated, by Manchester United, 2-0.
In September 1999, Shearer scored his first England hat-trick in a qualifier against Luxembourg, but was at the centre of club controversy when Gullit dropped him for the 2-1 defeat to Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby. 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. Gullit soon resigned, and was replaced by Bobby Robson.
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 that he intended to retire from international football after the Euro 2000 tournament.
Shearer did not score in England's opening 3-2 defeat against Portugal, but did so as England defeated Germany 1-0 in Charleroi. To remain in the tournament England needed to beat Romania in the final group match, and Shearer scored a penalty as England went in at half-time 2-1 up, but Romania ultimately won 3-2. England's tournament was over, and so was Shearer's international career. From his 63 caps, he scored 30 goals, joint fifth in the England all-time goalscorers' list with Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney.
Later years at Newcastle (2000-2006)
Since his international retirement, Shearer resisted calls from both the England coaching staff and the media to return to the side, insisting that he would concentrate on club football for the rest of his career.
In 2002-03, Shearer and Newcastle enjoyed a return to the UEFA Champions League; Newcastle lost their first three matches in the first group stage, but then won the remaining three and managed to qualify for the second group stage (the only club ever to do this), where they were finally eliminated.
After this, Newcastle would have one more chance to enter the Champions League proper in 2003, but were eliminated on penalties by Partizan Belgrade, with Shearer missing his penalty. After this defeat, Shearer continued to score regularly for Newcastle, but the club did not win a trophy during his time there.
He was appointed an OBE for services to Association Football in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2001, and the Freedom of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne was bestowed upon him in March. He was also awarded the Barclaycard Merit Award in 2002 for scoring his landmark 200th Premiership goal, against Charlton at St James' Park on 20 April 2002.
Shearer announced that he would retire at the end of the 2004-05 season, but,
influenced by then Newcastle manager Graeme Souness, he decided to continue
playing in a player-coach role until the end of 2006. During this time, he broke
Jackie Milburn's 49-year-old record of 200 goals for Newcastle United when he
netted his 201st strike in a home Premiership fixture against Portsmouth on 4
On 17 April 2006, with three games remaining in his final season as a player, Shearer suffered a tear to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee after a collision during the 4-1 win at Sunderland in which he scored his 206th goal. The injury caused him to miss those final three games, effectively ending his career prematurely. On 22 April Shearer confirmed his retirement as a player.
On 11 May 2006, Newcastle United played against Celtic at St James' Park in Alan Shearer's testimonial match. Guest ex-Newcastle players included Steve Watson, Gary Speed, Rob Lee and Les Ferdinand. Shearer could not play in the testimonial because of injury; he initiated the kick off and scored a penalty (planned as the last kick of the match) to win the game for Newcastle, 3-2. All proceeds from the game went to North East charities, including the NSPCC (for which Shearer is a patron), and the Bobby Moore Fund.
There has been much speculation about Alan Shearer's future in the game, with many expecting to see him in a management/coaching role at Newcastle. However, he has stated that he will take some personal time off to "enjoy life" for the next couple of years.
He spent the summer of 2006 as one of the main pundits for the BBC's coverage of the World Cup. Shearer famously encouraged Wayne Rooney to "stick one on" Cristiano Ronaldo after their much publicised incident during the finals. Shearer received criticism in some quarters for the comment.
He currently works as a pundit for the BBC's Match of the Day. In July 2006 he turned down a role with England , although Shearer has expressed his desire to become a manager. He still needs to gain the required qualifications: he is currently working on the UEFA Pro Licence, required to manage a team in European competition.
Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd announced that, after Shearer finished the 2005-06 season as Newcastle's caretaker assistant manager, he would become the club's "Sporting Ambassador" for 2006-07 .
On December 4, 2006, Shearer was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree by the Northumbria University.
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