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Monday, May 15, 2006

Alan Shearer: English legend of football

Last month, Alan Shearer ended his 18 year striking career. His final game was away at Sunderland, and it was fitting that he scored the crucial second goal from the penalty-spot in a 4-1 win before picking up a knee ligament injury that prematurely bought his retirement forward a month early.

I definitely consider Alan Shearer to be one of the best English strikers of all-time, and perhaps the best I've seen in my time watching football. These stats go some way to explaining why:

43 goals in 158 games for Southampton
130 goals in 171 games for Blackburn (and a Premiership medal in 1994-95 season)
206 goals in 404 games for Newcastle (club record goalscorer)
260 goals in 441 Premiership games (Premiership record goalscorer)
30 goals in 63 games for England (national captain from 1996-2000)
409 goals in 796 games (total career goals)

What I especially like about Shearer is that he was a master at scoring a variety of different goals. He was a specialist at hammering them in from 25 yards; power-heading them in from 10 yards; drilling them in from 4 yards… and before picking up a terrible cruciate knee-injury in 1997 he also had explosive pace that would see him surge past defences onto passes from midfield. He really was an all-round great striker.

Although he will be best remembered as Newcastle's prolific all-time record goalscorer and captain, I feel his absolute peak was at Blackburn Rovers where he won a Premiership medal. At that time I thought he was the most complete striker in Europe, and he finished as top scorer at the 1996 European Championships.

At the start of the season we at EFT put his picture on the site so to mark his final season as a player. And now with the close of his final season, check out this video tribute of some of Shearer's best goals in the Newcastle shirt (plus a couple for England). It features excellent multiple camera angles of those great goals against Everton and Chelsea, plus what I consider to be a classy celebration following a fantastic volleyed finished against Villa.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many goals were scored in open play?

5/16/2006 8:02 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

While I have to admit that as a striker he’s a class act I have to confess to harbouring a vehement loathing for Shearer as a footballer. As you’d expect of an English striker he wasn’t afraid to put himself about. However, I thought he was as dirty as they come. Particularly since he lost his pace after the knee injury.

His constant use of the elbow was routinely ignored by the just about every ref as he was the untouchable golden boy of the premiership. I’ve lost count of the games where he should have received two yellows or strait reds yet walked away unpunished. Let’s not forgot his getting away with his kicking Lennon in the head shortly before Euro ‘96.

We also reserve contempt for players who wave their hand in the air asking for yellow cards to be dished out yet Shearer has always hassled refs and has got players booked in less demonstrative ways and the press never pulled him up once on this.

To cap it all his reaction to getting a fat lip from an elbow earlier this year in the FA cup was disgraceful. Not only was it hypocrisy of the highest order but in a live interview to bang on about how he wanted to deck the offending player was undignified and not the sort of attitude we want young players to emulate.

Yes he was a great scorer of great goals but he was a consummate pro who would use what ever means available to gain advantage. He’s not alone in this characteristic, in fact he part of a vast majority, but let’s not polish up his halo just yet.

5/16/2006 9:39 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

I agree with you, blindjak. he has scored some fantastic goals, I always will remember that volley against Everton when Newcastle had pulled back previously to 1-1, and a freekick for England against (I believe) Bulgaria in Sofia, where the Bulgarians had parked almost everyone in goal to block but to no avail. There was the other side to him, which I think BJ has stated very well. How he got away with the Lennon incident is beyond reasoning. But the press, or indeed the media in whole, are very suspect at prettying up or dumming down a celebrity, footballers included. I find the current coverage over Gerrard like a one-man army over the top and sense they will be crying out the Liverpool captain will win the WC for England next. For Shearer, he was quite a darling for the English media that any discrepancy would be lightly mentioned and therefore no one can complain the media missed it, and like a small 10x10cm apology in most tabloids, it is instantly forgotten.

I remember the elbow incident and stated the Grimbsy captain was at fault, but I agree Shearer's words afterwards were not dignified enough from someone of his stature. Be that as it is, he will be forever remembered in Newcastle folklore, and his achievements for club and country outweigh any spates of negativity displayed.

Freekicks at times when Shearer took them made it nigh impossible to put up a suitable wall. He had touch and a bang of a shot on him, and given time and space could score more times than not. Strikers of today are not like Shearer, other than Rooney.

T, I like the footage along with the background music.


5/16/2006 10:53 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks BJ and Redsman. It has taken me some time to catch up with your comments.

Not sure if I was trying to polish his halo BJ(:)), although I admit I only concentrated on the many positives of Shearer.

I remember the discussion on EFT at the time of the Grimsby incident and that a lot of commentators expressed a dislike for Shearer's gamesmanship. I also remember a game against Arsenal at St James' last December when Shearer put in some disgraceful tackles on our defenders.

Yet, for me it his fantastic goalscoring ability and loyalty to the Newcastle cause that weighs more in my mind when I consider Shearer. It's also my view that he took as much punishment as he gave out - and that most of the time his play could be described as hard but fair rather than hard and illegal. I guess it comes down to a difference of perspective.

Thanks Redsman for your comment about the footage and background music... I thought they combined well together too.

5/20/2006 4:34 pm

Blogger BlindJak said...

Fair point T, but Henry gets almost as much abuse yet doesn’t feel the need to give any back. Well done on retaining his services btw. Ala Jose, although it makes you a stronger competitor to us, it’s good for the prem that he stayed and for that I’m pleased.

5/22/2006 8:32 am

Blogger T said...

Thanks BJ... I thought it was great (although also came as somewhat of a surprise!) to hear Jose Mourinho say some nice things about us last week... hopefully this breaking of the ice will be maintained by both Wenger and Mourinho because its good to see for the image and spirit of football.

5/22/2006 1:58 pm


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