I mean, all you have to do is watch a Shearer clip of more than five minutes to find out about this. But let me break it down for you …
Alan Shearer was an almighty striker in his time in the Premier League. After all, and with the greatest respect towards his previous employers, he remains the competition’s highest-ever goal-scorer having only won the championship on one occasion.
But that’s where things could really have gone different.
There have been a number of ‘fork-in-the-road’ moments in Shearer’s career (hehe, that kinda rhymed), but of them all, the greatest divergence came in 1996. At which point, Alan Shearer was by far the most coveted striker in the division – perhaps even the world. With very few able to live up to his consistency and scoring record.
And as such, there were a number of suitors who came on the scene after his all-conquering season with Blackburn Rovers to earn their solitary Premier League title. All of whom were in the upper echelons of our game.
Among them, there was talk that Real Madrid were interested in taking him to the epicentre of European football, but in reality, more concrete interest came from those pesky Catalans round t’ corner. Having been managed by Sir Bobby Robson at the time of Barcelona’s interest, there was a very real possibility that Shearer’s prime years (or at least a portion of it) would have been spent on holiday in Spain.
But after having the door slammed firmly in their face, and believing that a deal for Shearer was closed to anybody leave alone him, Robson turned his attention to some Brazilian cooking up a storm in PSV Eindhoven.
A gold star if you can guess who it was.
After which, it seemed as though Jack Walker (Rovers’ money-rich chairman) was hell-bent on keeping his marksman at Ewood Park … but then United came on the scene. Two of them actually: Manchester and Newcastle.
Regarding the first, let’s just say that Walker wasn’t a fan of those red-Mancs. In fact, part of his mission statement at the helm of Rovers was to knock them off their perch to claim the prize spot for himself. So when they came asking about buying Alan Shearer, he set the price at an exorbitant £15 million – a world-record fee at the time and an amount which the publicly-liable Manchester United would find difficult to raise quickly.
But you see, Newcastle didn’t have that problem with that …
Once Newcastle came on the scene and satisfied his employer, Alan Shearer was only ever going to wear one type of shirt for the rest of his career. And even though a part of him has maintained that his glory-hungry wish back at this point was to win what Manchester United went on to win, the fairytale of playing for his boyhood club was a reality that he will take as a more than welcome alternative.
“ Of course I was tempted to join Manchester United, but I do not regret either decision. I had a magical time at Blackburn, winning the league. And I completed my own dream of playing for my home town club of Newcastle. I have memories I will hold forever and a goalscoring record that makes me extremely proud. ”Alan Shearer
on his move to Newcastle United
But put all this to one side for a moment, and there is a very real chance that Alan Shearer could have played for Manchester United by 1996 – right up until his career ended about a decade later. Now, I understand that the ‘butterfly effect’ would engage at that moment and perhaps affect the eventual moves for Dwight Yorke and maybe even Ruud van Nistelrooy by the turn of the millennium …
… but it’s a mental thought isn’t it!
In case it wasn’t obvious, Alan Shearer should almost be in his own class at Ultra United – but ‘icon‘ status is very fair. Also, Are you a Manchester United or Newcastle fan? Well, if so … I have to ask you to share this post by clicking the Twitter or Linkedin icon and address the following question: