Supported by Signed Collectables, Newcastle
Profile by Robert Galvin, the author of Football's Greatest Heroes, the official book of the National Football Museum Hall of Fame:
Alan Shearer earned the distinction of being the most prolific goalscorer in the history of the Premier League, justifying the exalted status he once enjoyed as the world's most expensive footballer.
Shearer netted 30 times in the top division in three successive seasons – and no-one had done that since the 1930s, the heyday of the bustling, robust English centre-forward.
‘Alan is a player in a class of his own,' Kenny Dalglish, his manager at Blackburn Rovers, said. ‘He lifts the whole team and turns draws into victories. In a word: priceless.'
The leading scorer at Euro '96, Shearer made 63 appearances for his country, scoring 30 goals. ‘For me, he's indispensable,' said Terry Venables, the England coach.
After starting his career at Southampton , Shearer was playing for Blackburn Rovers in 1992-93, the inaugural season of the Premiership. When he retired, as a Newcastle United player at the age of 35 in 2006, Shearer had a record 260 goals to his name.
‘Alan has been the best striker in the history of the Premier League,' said Alan Hansen. ‘He's strong, great in the air, boasts great technique and power in his shooting and, in his prime, he had real pace.'
His tally of 34 goals in 1994-95, the middle season of his outstanding run in front of goal, helped Blackburn win the championship title for the first time in 81 years.
The following year, Shearer scored five times as England reached the semi-final of the European Championships – most memorably an emphatic finish at the end of a flowing move in the 4-1 hammering of Holland .
Over a period of four years, his value in the transfer market had risen almost five fold – from the £3.6 million Dalglish paid Southampton in 1992 [a British record] to the £15.6 million fee Newcastle United shelved out for him in 1996 [a world record].
(It was widely reported that Blackburn refused to sell Shearer to Manchester United, for fear that his presence at Old Trafford would make them unbeatable.)
Jack Walker, the millionaire benefactor at Ewood Park, had offered to make Shearer the player-manager of Rovers, at the age of just 25, in a last-ditch effort to keep him understandably so, given his record of 112 goals in 138 appearances in a Rovers shirt.
But the lure of Newcastle United proved too strong for a player who supported the club as a boy; on the day of his signing, 15,000 fellow Geordies stood in the rain outside St James' Park simply to witness the great homecoming.
Fully aware of Newcastle history, he made one demand before signing: Shearer wanted the number nine shirt – following in the tradition of Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Wyn Davies and Malcolm Macdonald. ‘As a supporter, I knew what it meant,' he said.
In the end, he eclipsed them all – scoring 206 goals in all competitions, a club record. It wasn't enough to bring a championship title to St James' Park. Twice he played for Newcastle in the FA Cup Final – and twice he finished on the losing side.
Despite those frustrations, Shearer had no regrets about coming home. As he said, after announcing his retirement: ‘When I was a boy I wanted to wear the number nine shirt and score goals at St James' Park – I've lived my dream.'