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39 To Go Alan, Not 1


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Michael Walker at St James' Park

Monday January 9, 2006

The Guardian

 

At the Gallowgate End, in the FA Cup, a winning goal: Mansfield Town may have been lowly opposition for Alan Shearer to register his 200th Newcastle United goal but in the three warming aspects above, and one other, this was the perfect way for Shearer to join Jackie Milburn on the St James' Park podium of all-time goalscoring greats.

 

Eighty minutes into an otherwise forlorn Newcastle effort Shearer drilled a seven-yard shot into the bottom corner and wheeled away across the ground over which Milburn's ashes were scattered lovingly after his death in 1988. Shearer's right arm was aloft, as ever; beneath the Milburn Stand he was engulfed by his team-mates and in that smiling moment of celebration Shearer stared down the turbulence once again tearing at his beloved hometown club.

 

Shearer's stare carries formidable menace. He had the opportunity to practise it again on Saturday and that was the other reason why this was an appropriate occasion for his record-equalling goal. From around his fifth month at Newcastle, December 1996, Shearer has had to apply his phenomenal, fearless talent at a club that seems to have self-destructing drama as well as football as its raison d'être.

 

Nostalgia says it was different in Milburn's day, though Shearer could see the resonance in the fact that Milburn was not originally included in the 1955 Cup final side. When the boardroom discovered this, Milburn was re-instated and the "manager", Duggie Livingstone, soon left. But it was the goals people remembered Milburn for and some still argue the 38 in wartime should be included in his tally. On Saturday Shearer focused on another Milburn attribute. Milburn, a miner from Ashington, worked in the local Woodhorn and Hazlerigg collieries until he was 25 to supplement his Newcastle income.

 

"I was brought up being told how great Jackie Milburn was," Shearer said. "I never had the pleasure of meeting him but I have met some of his family. From what I know, what impresses me most is that he was a man of the people, and that is very, very important. I know that nobody has a bad word to say about him.

 

"I never dreamed of something like this when I signed, never in a million years did I think I would be sat up there with Jackie. I might have one or two tonight . . ."

 

Shearer has earned them over the years and again on Saturday: one chance, one goal. The 200th came towards the end of a grim Newcastle performance against a Mansfield side 20th in the old fourth division. Milburn, a heavy smoker, would have been through a packet of Craven A watching this.

 

Nil-nil, which would have been a fair result, would have left Graeme Souness staring too, at early retirement - enforced. That remains in the air: there is still no public support from chairman Freddy Shepherd. What did Shepherd think of a team that cost £45m against one that cost nothing? For all Souness's complaining about injuries Newcastle were missing only four certain starters: Michael Owen, Scott Parker, Emre Belozoglu and Steven Taylor. The visitors were without their best attacker, Simon Brown.

 

Newcastle were booed off at half-time; for those first 45 minutes this was Mansfield's park. Players such as Giles Coke, Adam Rundle and Alex Baptiste looked more composed than most of their hosts. The defender Jake Buxton missed a forward's chance just before the interval and Shay Given made a smart save from Rundle two minutes after it. Mansfield had shape, style and pattern, three things Newcastle lacked. It was the 75th minute before Kevin Pressman had a "proper" save to make. Five minutes later came Shearer. The goal in its own way prolongs the agony for Souness.

 

For one night at least Shearer could forget about that. He was off in Northumberland sharing his historic strike with his mother Anne's 60th birthday. If there was a quiet moment Shearer may have reflected on goal No1, scored on his home debut in August 1996. Those were still days of promise for Shearer and Newcastle. Wimbledon lost 2-0, Shearer powering in an 88th-minute free-kick. Kevin Keegan was the Newcastle manager.

 

Keegan had been fundamental to Shearer spurning Manchester United and joining Newcastle, though the world record £15m transfer fee paid to Blackburn Rovers helped. So did the input of Alastair Wilson, then of Newcastle Breweries, the club's main sponsor. Wilson died last week. Alfie McMichael, who won the 1952 FA Cup with Newcastle and a favourite player of Sir John Hall, also died last week.

 

It is a changing world and for much of Shearer's time at St James' it has felt like flux rather than order. His first Christmas at the club was when Keegan began to pale. Soon Keegan was gone. In came Kenny Dalglish, who had bought Shearer at Blackburn. Dalglish started well, then was suddenly gone and Shearer was dealing with Ruud Gullit. That was one of Shearer's lowest times at the club, when the fuss regarding Thierry Henry's future at Arsenal was attached daily to Shearer.

 

Like Livingstone before him, Gullit dropped the No9 one day and paid for it. So to Sir Bobby Robson. Shearer scored five - past Pressman - in Robson's first home game and only the blinkered fail to see Shearer's brilliance week after week. As Given said on Saturday: "Alan's carried this club for a number of years, not only with his goals, but with his personality."

 

Strangely Robson was one of those who stopped noticing Shearer's immense contributions. He fancied Emile Mpenza. That was partly why Robson went and Souness arrived. Now it seems Souness will depart and Shearer will again outlast a manager. That would be No6 and there have been two serious injuries as well. And yet the goals just keep on coming. That will be Shearer's epitaph. Jackie Milburn would surely approve.

 

Man of the match Adam Rundle (Mansfield Town)

 

Well, well, well, I never knew that. Seen as Milburn actually won honours while he was at the club I think it was the least that could have been done.

 

Just make sure Shearer doesn't get wind of this or he will be playing until he is 40.

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How many has Shearer scored in friendlies?

 

Well war-time has to be considered as non-competitive matches as do friendlies. Fucking Guardian reporters, hell bent on knocking the club in its present form...

 

Bet they were wanking furiously when Henry beat Wright's record! :rolleyes:

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How many has Shearer scored in friendlies?

 

Well war-time has to be considered as non-competitive matches as do friendlies. Fucking Guardian reporters, hell bent on knocking the club in its present form...

 

Bet they were wanking furiously when Henry beat Wright's record! :rolleyes:

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tbf Michael Walker's reports are excellent.

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Nobody gives a shit about friendlies or goals scored in friendlies.

 

This is also one of the reasons why pele's goalscoring record is such a joke as many of the goals were scored in totally meaningless games. God forbid that anybody should mention this of course and cast doubt on the supposed " great man " who never played where it really counted...in Europe.

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Nobody gives a shit about friendlies or goals scored in friendlies.

 

This is also one of the reasons why pele's goalscoring record is such a joke as many of the goals were scored in totally meaningless games. God forbid that anybody should mention this of course and cast doubt on the supposed " great man " who never played where it really counted...in Europe.

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Although quite rightly, no-one gives a shit, I make it 22.

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Milburn never classed his war-time goals as counting towards his final total. He did however count his Charity Shield goal which makes his total 201.

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Therefore, Alan has two to go to beat the record, and not one? :rolleyes:

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By Milburn's reckoning yes although the media generally seem to have accepted that 200 is the record discounting the Charity Shield goal. Let's hope Big Al can bag a few more and make it a moot point.

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Plus, during the war you'd get a fair few 'guest' players making one off appearences for teams. It was all about boosting morale. Anyway, they reckon Albert Stubbins scored a bucket load for NUFC during the war so if you count Milburns 38 then you have to count Stubbins goals which allegedly would put him quite near the top of the all time list.

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Plus, during the war you'd get a fair few 'guest' players making one off appearences for teams.

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:rolleyes:

 

Tom Finney no less played for us during the war...

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Albert Stubbins NUFC record;

 

237 goals in  218 games

231 in 188 War-time games

 

Jesus wept!

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Lived round the corner from my mate Paul, went to my Uncle John's wedding (knew him from going to Newcastle Racecourse) and appeared on the cover of Srgt. Peppers.

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Wartime games don't and shouldn't count.

 

Wartime League titles and Wartime Cup winners aren't included in official records, so goals shouldn't be either.

 

The Football League couldn't carry on in its usual format during the war. Players were away fighting, games couldn't be played as regularly and there were travel restrictions.

 

But the government was very aware that Football had to continue in some form, for the morale of the nation. Therefore the Wartime League was established in a regionalised format.

 

In reality they were little more than friendlies. Because players were away fighting, a guesting system was introduced which saw players turning out all sorts of times (Jackie Milburn even played for Sunderland on a few occassions).

 

It was there simply for the morale of the people.

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Is it true that boxer Joe Louis once turned out for Liverpool during a wartime game?

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Dunno, but I have a good Wartime fact concerning NUFC.

 

During the war, the New York Yankees Baseball team toured Britain mainly for the morale of American troops stationed in Britain. They played fixtures against US Army teams, and also as there weren't any British Baseball Teams they played games against various Football and Cricket Clubs.

 

On one occasion they played Newcastle at St James' Park in a double-header. One game of Baseball, one game of Football. Newcastle won both.

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True Milburn didn't play in Europe.

 

But Shearer didn't play for 2 seasons in Division Two so those could balance each other out.

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I think Shearer's goals to games ratio is similar too and defences are definitely better organised now. Of course Jackie won 3 FA Cups.

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Is it true that boxer Joe Louis once turned out for Liverpool during a wartime game?

77224[/snapback]

 

Dunno, but I have a good Wartime fact concerning NUFC.

 

During the war, the New York Yankees Baseball team toured Britain mainly for the morale of American troops stationed in Britain. They played fixtures against US Army teams, and also as there weren't any British Baseball Teams they played games against various Football and Cricket Clubs.

 

On one occasion they played Newcastle at St James' Park in a double-header. One game of Baseball, one game of Football. Newcastle won both.

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How do you play Baseball on a footy pitch like?

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No idea, although back in the 60s and 70s a lot of the American teams in the NASL played on Baseball pitches.

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And if SJP could hold Athletics meetings (which it did until the 1950s) then I suppose it could cope with a game of Baseball.

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