x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Shearer denies return

The former Newcastle captain denies reports he will return to the North-East in a management role alongside Kevin Keegan.

Newcastle United's caretaker manager Joe Kinnear had to watch the 2-1 loss to Blackburn from the stands.
Newcastle United's caretaker manager Joe Kinnear had to watch the 2-1 loss to Blackburn from the stands.

The former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer has denied reports that he will return to the North-East in a management capacity alongside Kevin Keegan. Joe Kinnear, the caretaker manager, has suggested Shearer was in line for a future role at the club, but the Mapgies legend put the record straight on a BBC television football programme. "There is no truth in that whatsoever. I don't know where that's come from at all," Shearer said.

He also expressed shock at Kinnear's appointment, adding the former-Forest manager looked "embarrassed" to be in the job. "I was as surprised as anyone was that Joe was appointed," said the 38-year-old former England captain. "He looks embarrassed a little bit himself, but it's a great opportunity for him. They can't get any worse, it's a no-lose situation." Shearer, 38, has constantly been linked with a return to Newcastle, where he scored 148 goals in 303 appearances to earn legendary status at St James' Park.

But, so far, he has played down talk of venturing into management with his former club. Meanwhile, Terry Venables has told the BBC he turned down Newcastle because taking temporary charge was "not right" for him. "I got the gist of the position, they laid it out quite clearly, and I don't think it was right for me," he said. "If you do five or six weeks, it goes quite well, and then you leave, you'd think what was the point?"

The 65-year-old former England coach admitted it was a "shock" to be offered the job, but said the right candidate had to be prepared to scrap at the bottom of the Premier League. "When you're involved you have to be for the right reasons, you have to feel it as well," he said. "If you haven't got that, then you haven't got the inner strength to do it." Venables added that owner Mike Ashley believed a buyer could be found for the club within five or six weeks. "They said 'could be', and that's no good for me," said the former Barcelona, Tottenham and Middlesbrough manager.

Venables also told Newcastle players to suppress any doubts about the appointment of Kinnear. "Joe might not be known by some of the players but the people running the club know Joe is a fighter and he'll give his best," he said. The Football Association have confirmed that Kinnear is serving a touchline ban handed down almost four years ago. Kinnear incurred the ban for comments made to the referee after Forest's clash with Gillingham in Nov 2004, when he described the official as "Coco the clown".

He still has a two-game suspension to serve from his time at Nottingham Forest and Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Blackburn counted as the first and the 61-year-old will complete his punishment with next Sunday's trip to Everton. Ashley has appointed Kinnear until the end of October, by which time he hopes to have sold the club. Former Newcastle owner Sir John Hall has admitted he feels sorry for his beleaguered successor, and fears the possibility of big-money foreign investors buying the club.

Hall insists Ashley, who has become a target of some abuse from fans since Keegan's departure from the club, arrived on Tyneside with the best of intentions. "When I met Mike Ashley and his advisors they had the best intentions for the club," Hall BBC radio. "He wanted to stay there and develop it so I feel sad for him and sad for the club. When he bought the shares I had lots of talks with him and his team. He was coming in to build for the long run and he is a football fan."