|UK News||Electronic Telegraph|
Tuesday July 30 1996
Shearer is going home for �m
By Colin Randall
ALAN SHEARER became the world's most expensive footballer yesterday when he agreed to join his home town club, Newcastle United, for � million.
After mounting speculation about the Blackburn Rovers striker's future, news of the record transfer was announced by Newcastle during a pre-season Far East tour.
"This is a signing for the people of Newcastle," said the club manager, Kevin Keegan, who returned to Britain from Bangkok at the weekend to complete negotiations.
Shearer, 25, whose value on the international transfer market soared when he finished top scorer with five goals in the Euro 96 tournament, is expected to undergo a medical examination today before flying to join his new team-mates.
The transfer, sweeping aside the previous British record of �5m paid by Liverpool for Stan Collymore a year ago, takes him back to St James's Park, where, as an ardent boyhood supporter of the "Magpies", Keegan was his hero.
Shearer attended Gosforth High School, about two miles from the ground, but his early footballing promise was not fulfilled until he was lured to Southampton at 17.
In a game where loutish antics on and off the field are as likely as sporting excellence to bring players to public attention, Shearer has earned a reputation as a model professional.
Alex Ferguson, the Manchester manager, had hoped to buy Shearer to strengthen his team as he prepares its Premiership title defenceHe is married with two young daughters. He met his wife, Lainya, also 25, while a �-a-week apprentice at Southampton. Their relationship prospered despite her lack of interest in football and the player's Geordie accent which she at first found impenetrable.
Shearer has little love for nightclubs and discos, preferring to spend free time with his family, playing golf or listening to Rod Stewart.
His return to Tyneside - a move expected to boost his pay to at least �,000 a week on top of a substantial signing-on fee - leaves fans of Manchester United and Blackburn disappointed.
Alex Ferguson, the Manchester manager, had hoped to buy Shearer to strengthen his team as he prepares its Premiership title defence.
Despite the player's opt-out clause with Blackburn, giving him the right to a transfer, Rovers officials and fans hoped he would remain at Ewood Park. Robert Coar, the Blackburn chairman, said the club - which repeatedly insisted Shearer was not for sale - had "fought tooth and nail" to keep him.
"The supporters are obviously surprised, but we must reiterate Alan asked to leave and that made events inevitable," Mr Coar said. Shearer had made clear his wish to play for his home town club.
Shearer said his four years at Blackburn had been "magnificent". He praised the multi-millionaire businessman Jack Walker, whose investments enabled the club to win the Premiership after years without success.
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