If I was a betting man, and I might just be, I'd call his move desperate and expect him not to be in charge next season. As Newcastle bring in their 4th manager of the 2008/09 season, and arguably their most folkloric hero and footballing icon, one wonders just how long the novelty and magic will lock in place.
With Shearer, an uninteresting, media-friendly pundit with no managerial experience, now in charge, the "New Manager Effect" faces its strongest challenge to date.
First, to lay out the terms:
- He's back for 8 games aka until the end of the season
- His wage? 100k per game
- 2m incentive bonus should Newcastle United avoid the drop
Not a bad deal really, although if Joe Kinnear was taking a gamble on his reputation when he turned up, Alan certainly is now.
The hero factor is unquestionable; he's their prolific scorer, an England hero, an all-round likeable guy, and now he's being asked to rescue his club from the grim reality of relegation. Dennis Wise, their rather awful Director of Football, has left the club, and Shearer has no plans of bringing in another middleman to replace him. If this ship is going down, Alan wants no buffer between him and the skittish Mike Ashley.
He did bring in Iain Dowie, who presumably brings all the managerial experience that Shearer will need to do his job. It looks, at face value, as a savvy move; Shearer is the good luck charm, the talisman, the fountain of positivity, whereas Dowie will do the bulk of the dirty work considering he knows that side of the game.
And, like Bryan Gunn at Norwich, the same situation exists: if he succeeds, it's another feather in the cap of his already-epic image with the fans. If he fails, then at least they did it the right way with their hometown boy in charge.
Being cynical, I'd say that Ashley doesn't exactly feel optimistic about their chances, and sought to buffer himself from the pitchforked masses in the summertime by pulling a glorious PR move right before the Grim Reaper turns up with Colaship parachute money.
Let's hope Alan is aware of how quickly idol worship can fade when the results don't come.
So... the big question: will it succeed? Will Newcastle avoid the plunge with their Golden Boy in charge, or is this another PR disaster for a club in dire straits?
[Already, Michael Owen has said he'll re-sign with the Magpies if Shearer stays on. I'll leave that as a separate discussion topic.]