Alan Shearer, Newcastle
manager - it was only a question of when, and now we have the answer; at the
worst possible moment.
The Geordie Messiah MK II has no coaching experience
whatsoever and has only ever voiced his tactical blueprint from the comfort of
a well-lit studio. Now he has eight games to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
Owner Mike Ashley has made life even harder by waiting until
three days before the end of a two-week break to make the switch, giving
Shearer just enough time to introduce himself to his players before picking the team to play
Chelsea on Saturday.
At least he won't
have to waste time moving a bulky collection of medals into his new office.
While the change has been described as 'panic',
ED wonders why it was not made earlier.
Chris Hughton may or may not be an excellent coach, but it
has long been clear that his tenure as caretaker was going nowhere - the team
have not won since Fabruary's game at
West Brom, before which Joe Kinnear was taken
ED is no medical expert, but it has long seemed clear that
Kinnear would not return to the hot seat. Major heart surgery does not sound
like the kind of thing you just bounce back from.
In another masterpiece of timing, the news became public
just before midnight on March 31, giving everyone the opportunity to write it
off as a joke.
Sensational it might be, but when people's first reaction on hearing the news is to enquire
whether this is an April Fool, you cannot really consider that a good sign.
maverick style and the tribulations he has put the Newcastle faithful through, ED wouldn't entirely write off the prank idea just yet.
At the time of writing, there was still no official word
from the club, leaving open the possibility that this is one of the biggest
hoaxes since the Hitler Diaries, the moon landing or even the legendary 'made-up'
ED hopes Newcastle
go the whole hog and pack 25,000 Geordies into St James'
Park for Shearer's presentation,
only for some insufferable Sky Sports News presenter to inform them that they
have been had.
At that precise moment, a sky-writer plane will soar over
the ground spelling out 'YOU MUGS' while the fans spontaneously throw their replica
shirts at the presenter in disgust, causing him to choke to death on a
combination of sweat, tattoo ink and body hair.
- - -
While the Shearer news could yet turn out to be a colossal
pack of lies, here is something that is definitely true. We all know Fabio
Capello does not like Peter Crouch, but now it becomes apparent how much.
Whether or not the England
boss has really called up a middle-aged man to play against Ukraine,
Capello was far from shy in making it very clear how reluctant he is to pick
the gangly, robotic striker.
"My first idea was to have a
forward who is fast and has movement," he said.
"Now it's another style with Crouch. He is not (Darren)
Bent, he is not (Emile) Heskey, but we have to play with Crouch because he's now the best we have who can play."
So Crouch is England's fifth-choice striker behind Wayne Rooney, Heskey,
Cole and Bent.
Although he is
still ahead Gabriel Agbonlahor (one goal in 17 games), Michael Owen (about to
be broken up and his parts sold for scrap) and Kevin Davies (just plain not
very good), so that's some reason to
England's visitors have been almost completely
ignored, with what little attention they have garnered going the way of Andriy
Shevchenko who is apparently dangerous again now he has left Chelsea.
The question is -
dangerous to whom? Certainly not opposition goalkeepers if this season's statistics are anything to go by.
Back at his
spiritual home in Milan,
Shevchenko has scored... oh, that's
right, he hasn't scored a single
league goal, and 11 of his 13 appearances have been from the bench.
No, the man in
form is porn-haired Emmanuel Petit lookalike Andriy Voronin, who is so hot that
any bodily contact with him would result in third-degree burns, the former
Liverpool man having rattled in eight goals in his last seven games for Hertha Berlin.
- - -
Scotland take on Iceland in a
game they must win if they are not to stuff up their comically easy group.
The Dutch are
long gone, but if George Burley's
men cannot top a mini-group against Iceland,
Macedonia and Norway to take
a play-off place - well, they probably don't
deserve to go to the World Cup.
Their task has
not been made any easier by Allan McGregor and Barry Ferguson, who have both
been dropped following a boozing session at the squad's
Loch Lomond base in the aftermath of the 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"The great philosopher said that there are three certainties. You live,
you die, you change. I change." Giovanni Trapattoni. You can't imagine Steve McClaren coming up with that, can
FOREIGN VIEW: 'Look out for the Trap'
is a rough translation of Gazzetta dello Sport's
headline ahead of Ireland's visit to play Italy. The Azzurri will feature a
three-man strike force comprising Giampaolo Pazzini, Simone Pepe and Giuseppe
YOUR VIEW: ED
forgot to ask a question yesterday, and consequently most of yesterday's reader contributions were something to do with
being 'top of the page'. Kids...
about Alan Shearer then? Leave your comments below.
COMING UP: Full
coverage of all tonight's
internationals, with minute-by-minute text commentary on England, Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
(easier just to spell them out than risk some kind of political faux pas).