Monday, July 30, 2012

30 July 1996 - Shearer Comes Home

On 30 July 1996, Newcastle signed 25-year old striker Alan Shearer from Blackburn for a world record fee of £15M.

Shearer, who was born in Newcastle, started his career with Southampton, where he scored 43 goals in 158 appearances across all competitions from 1987 to 1992. But he blossomed at Blackburn, claiming the Premier League Golden Boot in the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, with Rovers winning the league in 1995. He scored over thirty league goals in his last three years there, for a four-season total of 130 in 170 appearances. His scoring prowess attracted the attention of several clubs, including Manchester United. But shortly before he was set to move to Old Trafford, Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan persuaded him to join Newcastle.

He maintained his form at St. James's Park, collecting another Golden Boot for the 1996-97 season with 25 league goals. But injuries and a succession of managerial changes hampered his effectiveness, resulting in uneven production from him over the next several years (he crossed the 20-goal barrier in the league only three more times in his ten seasons at Newcastle) and he retired in 2006. Still, his Newcastle total of 206 remains the most of any player in club history.

Shearer returned to Newcastle as manager in 2009, taking over from Chris Hughton for the last eight games of the season in a bid to save the club from relegation. He was unable to prevent the drop, however, and left at the end of the season.

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