Alan Shearer

Full Name: Alan Shearer
Date of Birth: 13/8/1970


Introduction

Alan Shearer excelled for an incredible seventeen seasons in the English top-flight. A prolific striker, Shearer netted 422 goals for his country and his clubs – Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, and Newcastle United. The widely respected striker was nicknamed Big Al on account of both his physical stature and his enormous role in English football. Shearer is perhaps best loved in the North East, where he was born and where he played his final ten seasons of professional football until his retirement in 2006.


A precocious talent

Born in Gosforth on the 17th August 1970, Shearer was playing football as soon as he was old enough to walk! A dedicated Newcastle United fan, his ambition in life was to become a professional footballer like his idol, Kevin Keegan, who signed for Newcastle in 1982. The young Shearer excelled on the pitch, initially with the Gosforth School team, which he captained. The school soon recognised his talent and urged him to try for Wallsend Boys. He became the side’s star player and went on to play for Cramlington Juniors, where the staff were impressed not only with his evident natural talent, but also his maturity and drive. A prolific striker, and a real work horse, Shearer caught the eye of talent scout Jack Hixon at the age of 13. He secured a place with the Newcastle Boys’ team and had a trial for the professional side soon after. On that occasion Newcastle turned Shearer down, and let him go to Southampton where he signed his first professional contract at the age of 15. This was a decision that Newcastle perhaps later regretted – in 1996 they paid £15 million to get him back!


Early professional career

Shearer spent his first two seasons at Southampton playing for the youth and reserve teams. He scored plenty of goals and seemed to have the maturity to play in the first team. The Saints’ youth coach, David Merrington, urged the staff to find a place for the youngster in the main squad after only a year. In 1988 Shearer finally got the call-up, standing in for Southampton striker Danny Wallace, who had failed a fitness test, in a league game against Arsenal. Shearer made the most of his debut, scoring his first Senior goal five minutes into the game and following up with two further strikes.

He became the youngest player ever to score a hat trick in top-flight football. It was 9th April 1988 and Shearer was still 125 days short of his 18th birthday. Shearer’s impressive performance made national headlines and he was soon invited to sign for the first team. He made relatively few appearances in subsequent seasons before establishing himself in the 1990/91 season, scoring 14 goals and making more than 45 appearances for Southampton.

Solid performances for his club caught the attention of England national coaching staff, and Shearer was selected for the England Under 21 side to play in the 1991 Toulon tournament. He scored seven goals in four games and scored against France in the final, which England won. Shearer was named best player of the tournament and, in 1992, was picked for the England A Team.


Fame and fortune

In the summer of 1992, newly promoted Blackburn Rovers bought Shearer in a deal which cost the club £3.3 million and the services of David Speedie, who joined Southampton. Shearer was at the height of his game, and manager Kenny Dalglish knew how to make the most of his star signing. Sadly a nasty challenge on Boxing Day of 1992 left Shearer with a severely damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The injury immobilised him and he was unable to play for the remainder of the season. Nonetheless, Shearer’s influence early in the season helped Blackburn on the way to a good finish in the league.

In the 1993/94 season, Shearer was back and Blackburn improved on this standing, finishing as runners-up to Manchester United. Shearer was instrumental that season, earning a reputation as a prolific goalscorer, with 31 goals from 40 games for Blackburn, and another three in an England shirt. He became Footballer of the Year for that season.

The 1994/95 season would prove to be the breakthrough year for Blackburn and Shearer. The club was on top from November onwards and, despite an attack of nerves late in the season, a Premier League title was secured. Shearer scored 34 goals – without him, Blackburn would never have secured first place. Although Blackburn could not sustain the winning form in 1995/96, Shearer continued to hit the back of the net. Big Al scored four hat-tricks and notched up a tally of 31 goals that season. He became the first English footballer to score more than 30 goals in three consecutive seasons.


Euro 96 and the move to Newcastle

Despite the disappointments at Blackburn, Shearer had something to look forward to at the end of the 1995/96 season. The 1996 European Championships were to be played on home soil and Shearer had teamed up with Sheringham to form a formidable duo up front for England. Shearer scored four goals in three games, which established him as a national hero. Shearer was the top scorer in Euro 96, with five goals in total, although England crashed out following a semi-final defeat at the hands of old rivals, Germany.

His performance in the competition attracted international interest. In late summer 1996, offers flooded in from all over Europe. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle United, Inter Milan, Juventus and Barcelona all wanted Shearer to join them. But it was the Toon which most appealed to Shearer. Ruling out the glamour of Italy and Spain, Shearer signed a contract with Newcastle, fulfilling his boyhood dream. The transfer fee was £15 million, a world record at the time. But the whole of Tyneside rejoiced at the news and the fee seemed justified as Shearer went on to score 25 goals in his first season.

Things were not always rosy at St James Park, however, and late in the 1996/97 season, Shearer was involved in a controversial incident with Leicester City’s Neil Lennon. Shearer appeared to kick his opponent in the head during a Premiership match. Shearer, however, denied any intentional infringement of the rules and the FA found him innocent. In the 1997/98 season, the star striker managed just two goals in the League and eyebrows were raised. But the following season saw a return to form, although Shearer would not score more than 20 goals until the season after that – in 1999/2000 he netted 23 goals in 37 League appearances.

Meanwhile, England’s fortunes were often tied to Shearer’s scoring abilities during the late 1990s. In the autumn of 1999, in a qualifier against Luxembourg, he scored a hat-trick which helped the national side qualify for Euro 2000. But Shearer could do nothing to prevent his team-mates missing penalties in the Euro 1996, 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 competitions, which stopped England progressing in these tournaments. In fact, Shearer’s performance was the only positive aspect of England’s early exit from Euro 2000. He scored the only goal in a significant victory over Germany, the first time England had beaten the side since the 1966 World Cup Final. Shearer scored again in the match against Romania, but his goal was not enough to keep England in the tournament as Romania went on to win 3-2. It was a subdued end to Shearer’s international career, during which he had been capped 63 times and scored 30 goals.


Towards retirement with the Toon

Despite retiring from international football at the age of thirty, Shearer continued to play at the highest level of domestic football until shortly before his 36th birthday. Once he had achieved his lifelong dream of playing for Newcastle, he didn’t seem to want to leave the North-East. Playing in black and white stripes was, for Shearer, the ultimate goal and he continued to score prolifically for Newcastle, racking up almost eighty league goals between 2001 and 2006. On 4 February 2006 he scored his 201st goal at St James Park, in a game against Portsmouth. It assured him a place in the football hall of fame and, after retirement, a regular spot as a pundit on the BBC’s Match of the Day.


Goal-scoring record

Southampton
Season League games League goals Total games Total goals
1987/88 5 3 5 3
1988/89 10 0 10 0
1989/90 26 3 35 5
1990/91 36 4 48 14
1991/92 41 13 60 21
Total 118 23 158 43
Blackburn
Season League games League goals Total games Total goals
1992/93 21 16 26 22
1993/94 40 31 48 34
1994/95 42 34 49 37
1995/96 35 31 48 37
Total 138 112 171 130
Newcastle
Season League games League goals Total games Total goals
1996/97 31 25 40 28
1997/98 17 2 23 7
1998/99 30 14 40 21
1999/00 37 23 50 30
2000/01 19 5 23 7
2001/02 37 23 46 27
2002/03 35 17 48 25
2003/04 37 22 52 28
2004/05 26 7 42 19
2005/06 32 10 41 14
Total 301 148 405 206


Honours

  • Premier League Winner (1994/95, Blackburn Rovers)
  • Premier League Runner up (1993/94, Blackburn Rovers & 1996/97, Newcastle United)
  • FA Cup Runner up (1998 & 1999, Newcastle United)
  • Intertoto Cup Runner up (2001, Newcastle United)
  • Le Tournoi Winner (1997, England)
  • Euro 96 Golden Boot Winner (5 goals)
  • Highest-ever Premiership goalscorer (260 goals)
  • Top scorer for club (1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06)


Individual Honours

  • PFA Players’ Player of the Year: 1995, 1997
  • Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year: 1994
  • Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame: 2004.
  • Named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers
  • In the 2003 awards list to mark ten seasons of the English Premier League, Shearer was named Overall Player of the Decade, Domestic Player of the Decade, Player to have made an Outstanding Contribution to the Premier League and Top Goalscorer.

In the awards to mark ten seasons of the Premier League, Shearer was named as Overall Player of the Decade, Domestic Player of the Decade, Outstanding Contribution to the Premier League and Top Goalscorer. To recognise Shearer’s contribution to the domestic and national game, he was admitted to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004. Shearer is included in the FIFA 100 list of "greatest living footballers".

In June 2001 Shearer was awarded the OBE for services to Association Football in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


Player Statistics

Senior Club and National Team Statistics
Period Team Appearances (Goals)
1988–1992 Southampton 118 (23)
1992–1996 Blackburn Rovers 138 (112)
1996–2006 Newcastle United 303 (148)
1992–2000 England 63 (30)