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Alan Shearer

Birth Date: August 13 1970
Birth Place: Gosforth, Newcastle
Birth Nation: England
Height: 180cm
Weight: 79Kg
Nationality: British
Position: Forward

Shearer is the highest scorer in the history of both Newcastle United (206) and the FA Premier League (260). He is currently employed as Newcastle's 'Sporting Ambassador' after retiring at the end of the 2005/6 season.

Strangely enough Alan was originally rejected as a youngster at the Toon and instead he signed as an apprentice at Southampton at the age of 16. He made his debut, as a substitute against Chelsea in 1988, his full debut coming a month later, against Arsenal when he scored a hat-trick. He became the youngest ever scorer of a top flight hat-trick at 17 years and 8 months, breaking Jimmy Greaves record which had stood for over 30 years!

Despite this hat-trick he was eased into the first-team gradually at Southampton but becoming a regular for the England U-21s team, scoring 13 times in 11 U-21 appearances in 1991. This form was noticed by then England manager Graham Taylor and in February 1992 he made his England debut in a match against France. Shearer scored one in the first half as England eased to a 2-0 victory.

Taylor took him to the Euro 92 finals but he only managed one appearance in a goalless draw with France as England went out early. Still Alan had done enough to attract the attention of Blackburn's manager of the time Kenny Dalglish who, with Jack Walker's millions at his disposal, bought Shearer for ?3.6 million. Manchester United also agreed a fee with Southampton but Shearer chose to join Rovers - a fact the United fans never let him live down, booing him mercilessly every time he appeared against them.

The following season started off well, a second goal for England in a World Cup qualifier against Turkey, and 16 goals in 21 games for Blackburn, before an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered against Leeds United on Boxing Day ended his season prematurely. Back to business in the 1993/4 season, Shearer scored 31 goals in 40 games for Blackburn as they came runners-up to Man Utd in the English Premier League. Shearer also won the Footballer of the Year award, and scored 3 more goals for England, though they failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

Chris Sutton arrived at Rovers for the start of the 1994/5 season and the two quickly struck up a lethal partnership - nicknamed the SAS. In 42 League games for Blackburn, Alan scored 34 goals as they clinched the league title on the last day of the season, at Dalglish's old club, Liverpool.

The following season he scored 31 goals from 35 games for Rovers but failed to hit the back of the net in 11 England appearances, but, despite calls from the public for him to be dropped, England manager Terry Venables stuck by him going into Euro 96.

The PFA Players' Player of the Year repaid Venables faith in the first 20 minutes of the tournament with a long range shot which beat the Swiss 'keeper. The match finished 1-1, and left England needing a result against the Auld Enemy, Scotland. Shearer scored the first in a match memorable for a moment of brilliance from Paul Gascoigne to score the second as England ran out 2-0 winners and just needed a draw against Holland to progress. In one of England's best ever performances Shearer got 2 of the goals as they ran out 4-1 winners against a much-fancied Dutch side.

The next round saw England totally outplayed by Spain but they hung on for a penalty shoot out victory, with Shearer converting his penalty. But, despite Alan netting in less than 5 minutes against Germany, penalties saw them crash out in the next round, despite him scoring his pen. He did finish the tournament as top scorer with 5 goals and was named in the official UEFA Team of the Tournament.

After the tournament Shearer was again approached to join Manchester United but the lure of his beloved home town club Newcastle United was too much. His boyhood hero, Kevin Keegan paid ?15 million to take him 'home'. The pressure of the enormous price tag seemed to have no effect on Alan as he went on to score 25 goals in 31 appearances, and also scored 5 goals for England in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup.

He picked up the PFA Players' Player of the Year award again, and also was made England captain by new coach Glenn Hoddle. This was despite the previous captain, Tony Adams, still being a regular, and Shearer never having captained a side and Adams being Arsenal captain.

He broke his ankle in a pre-season tournament but came back and helped the Toon to the FA Cup Final. But the season was surrounded with controversy after he kicked Neil Lennon (then of Leicester) in the head during a Premiership match. Shearer always maintained it was accidental and he was never punished (FA Chief Executive Graham Kelly claiming that it was due to his threat to pull out of the England squad if he was punished though Alan has always denied this).

He went to France in 1998 as England captain and scored twice as England went out against rivals Argentina. 1999 saw Newcastle as losing FA Cup finalists, again. But the following season there was more controversy, despite his first England hat-trick in a September World Cup qualifier against lowly Luxembourg. He was dropped by Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit after a behind the scenes power struggle. Local rivals Sunderland beat them in a derby match and Gullit was replaced with Bobby Robson.

A News of the World journalist covertly recorded Newcastle directors, Douglas Hall and Freddy Shepherd (who went on to become Chairman), calling Shearer a 'Mary Poppins' figure, amongst insults directed at the Toon fans.

He retired from international football following Euro 2000, where he scored 2 goals taking his total to 30 goals in 63 caps, joint fifth on England's all time list. He resisted all calls to return to the national side, instead preferring to concentrate on playing for Newcastle.

While the club failed to win a single honour with him as player he did receive a number of individual honours including: an OBE for services to Association Football in June 2001, Freedom of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in March 2001 and the Barclaycard Merit Award in 2002 for scoring 200 Premier League goals. His 200th goal coming in front of his home fans against Charlton Athletic on 20th April 2002.

He originally announced his intention to resign at the end of the 2004/5 season but was persuaded to play on for one more season by his then manager Graeme Souness. He stayed on as a player-coach and broke Jackie Milburn's scoring record for the club when he scored his 201st goal for the Toon in a home match against Portsmouth on 4th February 2006. Though Milburn did score a lot of goals for the club during the Second World War that aren't included in official records.

On April 17 2006 with just 3 games remaining in his playing career he collided with Julio Arca from local rivals Sunderland and tore his medial ligaments, putting a premature end to his career. But he had managed to score a penalty (his 206th goal for Newcastle) in the match.

Shearer was awarded a testimonial which was played against Celtic in May 2006 while he was unable to play. All the tickets sold out in a matter of days.

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