With 8 games to go in the 2008-2009 season and the club firmly entrenched in a relegation battle, Alan Shearer – a club legend in his playing days, but without any experience in football management, was appointed Newcastle United’s fourth manager of the season. This, with the club 18th and two points from safety was one final last-ditch attempt to save the club from relegation. Unfortunately, Shearer didn’t manage to achieve this objective, despite his best efforts and was replaced by Chris Hughton under dubious circumstances once more.
Alan Shearer stated upon being appointed Newcastle United manager that he was there to stave off the threat of relegation (1 April 2009):
“It’s a club I love and I don’t want them to go down. I’ll do everything I can to stop that.
“I feel deeply for this football club. I believe I can help it along with the players.”
Managing director Derek Llambias said about the decision to appoint Shearer (1 April 2009):
“Everyone at Newcastle United is absolutely delighted that Alan has taken on this challenge.
“Already there is a buzz around the club and the city. The news has given everyone a massive boost.”
On 24 May 2009, Newcastle United under Alan Shearer were disastrously relegated by a single point, losing to Aston Villa on the last day of the season via a Damien Duff own goal. Alan Shearer reflected on the causes of relegation in his post match interview (24 May 2009):
“I’m raw, angry, frustrated, disappointed and I am hurting – you can put all those words together and that still doesn’t sum it up.
“We’ve been relegated, but it has been a huge problem from the first game. I know Manchester United away was a good result, but things have gone from bad to worse. The simple fact is that over 38 games, Newcastle United have not been good enough and deserve to go down – and it hurts for me to say that.
“I’ve said to them in the dressing room that you can make all the excuses you want. I wasn’t good enough, Mike Ashley wasn’t good enough and Chris Hughton, Joe Kinnear and Kevin Keegan before that weren’t good enough. But it’s what is in the dressing room that has got us relegated. It has been a problem all season.
“There are huge problems at the club – I think that’s clear for everyone to see. Relegation isn’t about today – it’s about what’s gone on this season, last season and the season before. It’s a culmination of everything. In the end, the three worst teams go down and, unfortunately, Newcastle are one of them.
“I’ll sit down with the owner and the chairman this week and give my opinions. Big decisions need to be made.
I know you won’t believe me, but I honestly haven’t had time to sit down and think about what my future will be. I haven’t thought about what would be the right thing for the club.
“But I’m hurting. I take my share of responsibility for what’s happened, and feel sorry that I’ve let those wonderful supporters down. I have a tremendous relationship with the supporters, for whatever reason, and I’ve worked very, very hard to try to rectify the situation.
“It hasn’t worked for a variety of reasons, and I regret that. I’m raw inside, as are a lot of people involved in the club. but the simple fact of the matter is that big mistakes have been made and we’re paying the price for that now.”
Even after relegation was confirmed, Derek Llambias explained that the board considered Alan Shearer to be their perfect appointment for the permanent manager position going forward (26 May 2009):
“We want him to be the manager 110%. He’s very good at what he does and he’s a straight-talking guy – we like that. He’d be the perfect appointment.
“Talks will start today and we are going to review the situation. We are trying to sort something and we’ll give the public some information as soon as possible. Alan has put a lot of work into the job at Newcastle and we’re talking to him now.”
Source: The Guardian
Mike Ashley looked back very favourably on the decision to bring in Alan Shearer as interim manager, even with the benefit of hindsight, and confirmed that talks were ongoing (27 May 2009):
“Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made.
“Alan and his staff did all they could to try and keep us up in the short space of time they had. Talks are now ongoing between us about how we can take this club forward again.”
Source: The Guardian
In the summer in which the club prepared itself for a Championship campaign, Alan Shearer had been in talks for the Newcastle United manager job. However, despite everything apparently being all but agreed, Shearer was then turned down without even being properly informed of this decision (16 September 2010):
“I thought I had the job at Newcastle. We had got relegated and I had sat down with the appropriate guys and we had agreed everything. Then two days later [Chris Hughton was appointed caretaker manager].
“I have not spoken to them since. I rang someone up and he didn’t know what was going on, and I never got a phone call after that.
“I absolutely loved my time at Newcastle, despite what happened. I have never, ever worked so hard in my life and my kids have never seen so little of me, but I loved the challenges that it brought and yes, if the right one came along, then I would seriously look at it.”
Source: The Guardian and Youtube talk-in registration
Half a season later, after Shearer had criticised Newcastle United’s decision to sell their new Geordie number 9, Andy Carroll, despite numerous assurances that he was not for sale, Managing Director Derek Llambias reflected on Alan Shearer’s tenure with typical class and dignity (2 February 2011):
“Do I care what Alan Shearer has to say? When he ran this football club [in 2009] we were relegated after picking up just five points from his eight games in charge.”
Source: Daily Mail
Once again, later in the same year Derek Llambias went on another rant to dishonour the club legend who to his credit tried, but failed, to rescue the club in its time of need (12 November 2011):
“Shearer was my choice and I have to hold up my hands — the wrong choice.
“Shearer, for this, destroys us. He gave all the responsibility to Dowie. Rubbish!
“It would never be the right time. Shearer? There would never be a right time in football.”