Posted tagged ‘Alan Shearer’

Light at the end of the tunnel?

August 16, 2009

No, I am not talking about a possible turning point in this recession, with Germany and France, and even the Czech Republic, apparently showing some economic growth for the first time in a while. I am not even talking about the apparently-still-on-the-tracks Metro North, though goodness knows this is a vital bit of proposed infrastructure for Dublin, and North Dublin in particular.

No, I am of course talking about Newcastle United FC and the deserved win against Reading yesterday, the first time that the hard-pressed Newcastle fans have had anything to cheer about in quite a while. Owner Mike Ashley continue to mess around with the will-he won’t-he teasing about his intentions to sell the club, there is no permanent manager in sight – though Alan Shearer is ready and willing and Ashley claims to want him (but won’t do the deal), players are leaving the club by the score; but at least the players that remain seem to have become more determined, and this performance was impressive, not just because they won but because they played with fluency and commitment.

Maybe there is still hope. But the first imperative must be for Ashley to sell. Go on, Mike, surely you want to put all those constant insults from Newcastle fans behind you. Just sell!

The Newcastle drama

March 31, 2009

I suspect that not that many readers of this blog are very interested in Newcastle United FC, but then again I haven’t written about the club for a while. And today we have some fairly dramatic news. According to the BBC and Sky Sports, the club has appointed football legend and record Newcastle goal scorer  Alan Shearer to be the manager until the end of the season. I have to confess that at first I suspected this was an April Fool’s story, but I have now seen it confirmed in several different places, so I am coming to the conclusion that it’s true (but so far unconfirmed by the club’s website).

Why does this matter? Newcastle United, having parted company last autumn in very acrimonious circumstances with the legendary Kevin Keegan, went into free fall, and right  now is in the ‘relegation zone’ of the Premier League; in other words, unless fortunes change, the club will be out of the premiership in the next season. This has happened under two separate caretaker managers, ex-Wimbledon Joe Kinnear (who actually didn’t do too badly but then had heart surgery), and stand-in Chris Hughton (who seems out of his depth). Devoted, loyal and so often disappointed Newcastle fans have not been served well by the club’s current owner, who seemed intent on giving priority to his preferred management structure over actual success on the field.

Maybe it’s all too late, and maybe it’s just a fantasy anyway, but for most Newcastle fans the news of Shearer’s return will prompt a spark of optimism and belief. He was one of the club’s best players ever, and he is a local man. Whatever happens now, at least it will be interesting.