Turning down Manchester United at the peak of their powers? Now that’s one ballsy call.
While in the current climate that could easily be filed under the ‘lack of ambition’ category, you have to admire someone who chose to join his boyhood club and earn legendary status instead of seeking the riches and glamour that the world’s biggest club could offer – especially after a phone call from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Alan Shearer talking about his 1996 decision has caused a divide among the neutral onlookers, who are torn between whether he was right or wrong to do so. But let’s be honest, who cares. Shearer did what Shearer thought was right, and he went on to become the Premier League‘s all-time leading scorer with 260 goals. His choice, fair play.
However, in an alternate universe where the striker opted to head to Old Trafford, there could have been a totally different picture painted with countless humorous outcomes. Well, that’s the way we’re going to look at it anyway, since this is all entirely hypothetical.
Daily Run-Ins With Roy Keane
There is no love lost between these two, Going back to 2001, some five years after Shearer’s non-move to United, the pair’s first public dispute saw Roy Keane see red – in more ways than one.
A piss-poor attempt at a punch failed to land – or an equally nimble dodge prevented it – as the Irishman was given his marching orders. Shearer returned the favour 18 months later with an elbow that did connect, and the duo would go on to hate each other’s guts forever.
So, how would have this relationship transpired if they were teammates? Probably in exactly the same manner. Keane can pick a fight with his shadow, and the Geordie is not one to mince his words. They’d set the house on fire, not get along like one.
Would they have needed separate training sessions and separate changing rooms? Or would they have sorted out some kind of direct debit with the local dentist for their constant check ups? Both, you’d expect, and no doubt they’d have put
Shearer’s Bar Getting Renamed
It speaks volumes of how admired you are in your hometown when a bar attached to the club’s stadium is named after you. Opened in 2004, it houses the bi-weekly swathes of Toon fans who come to sink a few before kick off and herald their local hero. It’s since been renamed, but let’s pretend that’s not the case.
But…if he didn’t play there, it’d need a different name, right? So, who else could be bestowed with that honour? What other Geordie legend is earning of that right? Shola Ameobi, of course.
Born in Nigeria but raised on Tyneside, he’s adored by the locals. Sure, his scoring rate isn’t quite Shearer’s (79 in 397 compared to 206 in 405), but sod it, he’s the next best thing.
Not to mention, you could call it ‘Ameobar’, which has a nicer ring to it.
Breaking the 1000-Goal Mark in the Premier League
Maybe just a slight exaggeration, but there is doubting that Shearer would’ve scored a shed-load more goals had he made the move to Old Trafford. Playing alongside Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Andy Cole might just have made hitting the back of the net a tad easier.
Sure, he had David Ginola, Peter Beardsley and Les Ferdinand at St James’ Park, but further down the line, the quality of squad just doesn’t compare. Jean-Alain Boumsong and ageing pair Ian Rush and John Barnes being just a few that spring to mind.
Meanwhile, United kept their squad mainly intact for the rest of Shearer’s career, and just kept adding further quality to it.
Being Hated in Newcastle
Imagine the vitriol around St James’ Park every time Shearer played there for United, undoubtedly scored, and then proceeded to run to the corner flag with his right arm aloft.
He’d be detested throughout the city, in every trebles bar and Greggs there is. Grey’s Monument in the city centre would be transformed into a giant ever-burning effigy of the man, and both Northumbria and Newcastle universities would run a ‘biggest traitor’ course that receives nine times more applicants each year than it has space for.
Road blocks would be set up at every road leading in or out of the city, just to check there are no hidden Premier League strikers cowering in a car boot, and there would be a city-wide ban on naming children ‘Alan’.
We can assume as such, anyway, which is why it’s a good thing he joined them isn’t it?
Adopting a Bizarre Mancunian-Geordie Accent
If his voice comes on the radio, you know immediately its Shearer’s. The subtle, yet distinctly Geordie tones of his voice are unmistakable, and living in the city and playing for Newcastle for all those years made sure it never waned.
So what if he was surrounded by Scholes, Phil and Gary Neville each day? What sort of weird hybrid accent would he have adopted? An amalgamation of two completely different sounding local dialects would have been fascinating (OK, that’s a bit excessive) to hear.
Can you imagine ‘Ha’
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