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Throwback: Rugby AM meets Alan Shearer

Interviews

In a career that spanned two decades, Shearer was regarded as one of the best striker's in world football as he continued to break goal scoring records season after season. Not only is he Newcastle's all-time top goal scorer, but he is also still the Premier League's record scorer with 260 goals. He won the PFA Player of the Year twice, the Premier League Golden Boot three times and is inducted into the FA and English Football Hall of Fame.

As well as captaining Newcastle for seven years, Shearer also captained England 34 times and was the top scorer at Euro 96. In March 2002 he was given the freedom of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and in 2009 was awarded an OBE for services to football. It would be fair to say that Alan is quite a cult figure and is worshiped by most in the North East, so there was no better man to speak to about Newcastle and the Magic Weekend.

Alex Simmons meets Alan Shearer

Simmons: For years as a young lad growing up in Leeds I would run across the weather pitch pointing towards Skelton Woods shouting SHEARER! Like many I pretended to be you and you were one of my idols growing up, but who was your idol growing up?

Shearer: Well my first question for you is I'm not that old am I? (laughing to himself). My idol was Kevin Keegan. I was 12 or 13 when he signed for Newcastle as a player and I used to go along and watch him. He also went on to be the manager of Newcastle and the manager of England so yeah he was my hero.

Simmons: Rugby League has come together with your home town Newcastle for the Magic Weekend this year. Newcastle and Rugby League has already come together with the fantastic Bobby Robson Foundation shirt by the Widnes Viking. You knew Bobby Robson better than most people so what did Bobby Robson mean to Newcastle as a city and what kind of a bloke was he?

Shearer: Well he saved Newcastle when he took over the club. They were at the bottom of the Premier League and then within two or three years he took us from the bottom into the Champions League. He was a fantastic guy and a genius at man management, everyone loved him whether you were a 16-year-old kid or a 35-year-old bloke who's very experienced, he knew how to handle you and get the best out of you, he was an incredible guy.

Simmons: The Bobby Robson Foundation does a lot of great work alongside your own foundation up North giving a lot of opportunities to young people. One thing I do love is the advert on TV at the moment when you visit a young man giving him your first scarf and tickets to a game. It says how you stepped out onto the Gallowgate for the first time and it was magical. I wanted to ask you as a player what was your magic moment in front of the St James's Park crowd?

Shearer: There was a few as you can imagine, but the best and the proudest moment was when I was lucky enough to break Jackie Milburn's record at home to Portsmouth, ironically it was in front of the Gallowgate end. I waited a few months for it to come along so to stand there and hear the crowd, it was one of those moments that I will never ever forget and it made me very proud.

Simmons: We've got about 100,000 fans hopefully coming up to St James's Park. I have been a DJ for many years, dJing in some of the finest establishments, from the Tuxedo Royale right the way through to Tup Tup Palace. What can the rugby league community expect from St James's Park as a venue and also from the local Newcastle fans?

Shearer: First and foremost I'm sure they will turn up in their thousands because as you know not only do they love football but they love their sport. As it is at St James's Park I'm pretty sure that they will all turn out and support it. They are very passionate, very committed and as you rightly say they love a good time and they love a party. They work hard all week but they love the weekend and they love to party all weekend as well.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan meets Alan Shearer

JJB: Alan like Alex I'm overwhelmed to come and met you, it's a pleasure to be here. I have got a little bit of a different outlook to Alex, I like to learn about youth development and one of the things that stood out for me when I was reading up about you was that you were born on the 13th August. All your old coaches say that you were very mature for your age and I find that when I go back coaching young kids, those that were born later in the year get a little bit disillusioned and are a little bit slower to develop. I just wondered for you, somebody who has reached the top of their game internationally and domestically, what advice would you give to young people about persevering and living for your dreams?

Shearer: Yeah you're right, obviously I was born 13th August but I never felt I was one of the youngest ones in my year for some reason. I think it was probably because of my up-bringing and the way my parents brought me up, as an example when the Southampton scout looked at me as a 14-year-old kid they went to my parents and asked if I could go down on trial, their response was "ask him, he's old enough to make his own mind up." That's the way they brought me up, they threw me out there to make my own decisions and it was tough at times but I think it stood me in good stead for who I was going to become. I never had any issues been born at that particular time, it was down to where I was from and how they brought me up.

JJB: You seem to have a lot of tenacity and a big physical presence, people talk about you been a very powerful player and you seem to have that determination as well. I don't know if you have ever watched rugby league but have you ever wondered to yourself what it would be like playing that game, have you ever fancied a physical sport like that?

Shearer: It's far too rough for me (he laughs). I'm alright with football and the tackles in that but the thought of some 20 stone guy running towards me trying to take me out, no I wouldn't fancy that at all, so I'm not that brave.

JJB: I think one of the reasons we ended up playing rugby league was because we weren't good enough to play football. Alex has always fancied himself as Les Ferdinand, I'm Andy Cole and you can be Alan Shearer, obviously. I know your first Junior club was Wallsend and Chris Thorman is probably the most famous Geordie rugby league player, he played in the NRL, internationally and at Huddersfield, who he now coaches. He's a massive supporter of having the Magic Weekend at St James's Park. He's trying to encourage some of the lads who maybe don't want to play football in Wallsend to have a go at our game. Would you encourage them to come watch us play rugby league and have the Magic Weekend experience at St James's Park?

Shearer: Absolutely, as I said earlier I don't think they will need any encouragement to come and watch. It's at St James's Park which they love anyway and they love and are passionate about any sport in the North East. You're right that Wallsend was my first club as it was with many other players like Steve Bruce, Michael Carrick, Lee Clark, Steve Watson and Alan Thompson, so it was a hot bed for bringing young kids through. I used to love going there, training on a Thursday evening and playing on a Sunday; it was a great education for me. Whether it is football, rugby, tennis, golf or whatever, in the North East they will come out and support it, I'm absolutely sure of that.

JJB: Some of the stats that stick in my mind from your career are 260 goals, highest ever in the Premiership, 11 hat-tricks, you scored on every debut including three in your first Southampton game, but one stat stuck out for me. As I'm a bit of a car fan, if you would have kept the 3300 escort you bought back in the day it would have been worth more now than what you paid for it.

Shearer: I think so yeah. That was my very first car after signing my very first pro contact when I was 17, nearly 18. I thought I was a multi-millionaire because I was on decent wages and my first car was a red escort yeah. I still remember the registration plate to this day so I thought it was a great car, it worked for me anyway.

JJB: I'm 33 and I'm driving a four and a half grand Volkswagen transporter so I'm not far off your starting point (laughing). I'm really impressed with the philanthropy you're giving back; you're providing opportunities with the Alan Shearer Foundation for people of all ages and abilities to be all that they can be. Certainly in the North East there is a great enthusiasm, how is that going and is it giving young people a chance to fulfil their potential?

Shearer: It's going fantastically well. To get the funding we need is difficult but again I go back to the people of the North East who are very generous. It's just my way of trying to give something back, I was the lucky lad out of Newcastle, I got what I wanted and achieved my dream to be a footballer so to give that back to some of the disabled people of Newcastle means a lot to me. It's going incredibly well, we have a golf day, we have a ball every year which we raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for, but yeah it's a great centre to be involved in.

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