November 29, 2005


Where are the Gooners? Where are the Villa fans? Where is the Toon Army? Where are you? Where are you?! Come on then, let's be having you!!!

Come one, come all! If you reckon you can pass the football fanatic fan test, give a shout to Eyeris or Vincent. Gooners, Villans and Local Geordies are especially sought, if only to add more spice to the curry known as Petaling Street Hooligans.

Go on then, step onto the pitch. Be as biased as you wish, as rude as you feel is necessary. Feel free to knock the ref and whack the linesmen, have a go at other clubs in all leagues; the Disciplinary Committees of FIFA, UEFA, English FA and FAM have no jurisdiction in this part of town. So what are you waiting for?


p.s. I'm not sure if Delia Smith meant to pick her nose while that particular photo was being taken.


AlanShearer said...

From whatever perspective, near or far, it did not seem possible that Alan Shearer could be a more influential presence at Newcastle United than he is already.
Bigger than the chairman Freddy Shepherd and the manager Graeme Souness, Shearer's status as an old-fashioned yet here-and-now hero is incontestable. Yesterday, however, Shearer became even more significant.

As Souness said yesterday morning: "Michael met Alan Shearer and that clearly helped our cause. He has obviously been phoning Michael a lot and he has been able to paint a very attractive picture of Newcastle United for Michael."

In being the key figure in persuading Michael Owen to spurn Liverpool and join Newcastle from Real Madrid, Shearer has flexed managerial muscles for the second time this summer and the ripples will be felt every time Owen finds the back of the net.
On the second weekend in June while on holiday in Portugal, Shearer met Scott Parker over a drink to sell him the idea of leaving Chelsea for Tyneside.

Parker, already softened up by Shearer's friend and predecessor as captain Robert Lee, heard what Shearer had to say and on June 14 he joined Newcastle. Tottenham, the club Parker and his father supported, also wanted him but a combination of money and Shearer means that Parker is now Newcastle's No17.

Now Shearer has done it again with Owen, who will be given the No10 shirt that was worn by a certain Craig Bellamy not so long ago.

Last Friday Shearer admitted to endless telephone calls to Madrid telling Owen not only what great potential the club has but about the city's fascination with it and also the Northumberland countryside. Owen likes his rural idyll in Flintshire and it was no coincidence that when he arrived for talks on Monday he was taken to near Morpeth rather than St James' Park.

Owen and Shearer share more than an agent in Tony Stephens: they own horseflesh, play golf at the drop of a tee and have a common-sense approach to their lives and careers. Both players also know their market worth and it will not have gone unnoticed by Owen that Newcastle's salary trumped the provisional one Liverpool had to offer.

Now Shearer and Owen must not disappoint each other, though given Owen's liking for St James' - 14 goals in 11 appearances there for Liverpool - that is unlikely. His first appearance in a black and white shirt will be at home to Fulham on Saturday week.

After that it is Manchester City, Sunderland and Birmingham City at home, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Wigan and West Brom away. Newcastle will now be viewing those fixtures with a different sense of anticipation.

Owen is joining a club yet to score a Premiership goal this season but then at Newcastle United feast often follows famine. Only for another famine to come along. Jog back to last season and Newcastle went from January 1 to April 2 losing only one of 17 matches. An FA Cup semi-final had been reached, a Uefa Cup quarter-final too. Then on the afternoon of April 2 Lee Bowyer punched Kieron Dyer and Newcastle won only two of their remaining 12 games to finish 14th, their worst Premiership placing.

Shearer looked distraught and proclaimed the Uefa Cup exit at Sporting Lisbon to be the worst night of his professional life. He had retracted his decision to play on for another season and felt the Uefa Cup finally had offered him an opportunity to win silverware with Newcastle.

Given that and the way he has been starved of chances this season, it would be entirely understandable if Shearer was regretting that change of mind.

Yesterday's developments should give him more to ponder, such as Jackie Milburn's record of 200 Newcastle goals but also the question of him becoming Newcastle's next manager.

A theory has arisen that Shearer wants to take a couple of years off from full-time dedication to football and play golf and work for Match of the Day. But the signings of Owen and Parker, though not solely down to Shearer, must make him and others realise the calibre of players Newcastle could attract with him as manager.

It was being said last night that Nolberto Solano was on his way back to Newcastle to supply the crosses for Shearer and Owen. It was also being said that the man calling Solano was Alan Shearer.

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