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Newcastle brings in Shearer

NEWCASTLE fans awaited confirmation yesterday that former star striker Alan Shearer would take over as manager until the end of the season, while former chairman John Hall called on the Premier League club to make the appointment a long term one.

With temporary manager Joe Kinnear still recovering from heart surgery, media reports emerged on Tuesday that Shearer, who has no coaching experience but is lauded by Magpies fans for his 206 goals in 395 appearances, had been offered the job. There was no confirmation or denial from Newcastle or Shearer early yesterday.

Newcastle is in the Premier League relegation zone and has only eight games to get out of trouble starting with Saturday's tough home match against Chelsea.

Fans gathered outside the club's St. James' Park headquarters hoping to hear confirmation of the appointment and Hall, who brought Shearer to the club as a player, welcomed news that the former England captain might be taking over.

"I'm delighted at the news, but it's not the circumstances I would have wanted him to come back," Hall said. "I would have preferred him to come back as long-term manager because I've always felt he was the only man at this moment in time who could manage Newcastle.

"He's the most dedicated professional I've ever known in my time in the game. Desperate measures, desperate times. There's a gap opening up at the bottom of the table and he'll galvanize all the fans. Let's hope he galvanizes the players."

Without a league title since 1927 or an FA Cup triumph for 54 years, Newcastle has been in disarray both on and off the field.

After years after years of failure, the club recalled former England coach Kevin Keegan as manager for the second time to revive its hopes. But he departed less than a month into this season after a dispute with owner Mike Ashley over transfers and interference from other officials at the club.

Unpopular with the fans, Ashley tried to sell the club but failed to get the price he wanted.

Kinnear took over as temporary manager but his health problems returned and, with assistant Chris Hughton in charge, the club slipped into the relegation zone.

Shearer scored 206 goals in 395 games for Newcastle after joining from Blackburn for a then-world record 15 million pounds in 1996.


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