Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has launched a public
attack on former team-mate Craig Bellamy after hearing he was linked with a
move back to his old club.
Shearer, then under manager Graeme Souness, was allegedly
given some verbal abuse by Bellamy after Newcastle had crashed out of the FA
Cup 4-1 to Manchester United in the semi-final in 2005. Bellamy was alleged to
have shouted to Shearer: "Your legs have gone, you're too old, and you're too
slow." No doubt all said in the heat of the moment, but Shearer wasn't happy,
allegedly responding with threats to "knock his block off". Shearer was of
course the Geordie idol at the time, and no matter what really happened he was
never going to stand for Bellamy staying at the club. Souness sent Bellamy out
on loan initially before selling him. There were also claims that Shearer got
abusive text messages from Bellamy after he'd been sold.
It's been some time since Shearer left the Newcastle set-up,
and the first he knew of a possible return by Bellamy was when he was on
holiday and he read it in the paper: "I was having a few days away in France
with Gary Speed and Steve Harper and the wives and I picked up a newspaper. I
was having a fantastic day but when I read Bellamy for Newcastle, I thought I
would definitely have to have another drink, so I had several. Has no one
learned their lesson about signing him? If only Rafa Benítez had rung me, I
would've told him exactly what he was like. I hope there isn't anything in it."
Shearer pointed out that one of the members of the Newcastle
coaching staff would be uncomfortable with a Bellamy return: "It would be
interesting, especially with Terry McDermott still here, because there was a
scuffle at Anfield when Craig and Terry were coming down the tunnel."
The fact is that Newcastle are now managed by Sam Allardyce,
and are in the midst of a takeover by billionaire Mike Ashley. The regime that
Shearer was familiar with is on its way out – and Allardyce won't take kindly
to the idea a former player is telling him what he can and can't do!
Bellamy has also been linked with moves to West Ham and
Blackburn in the Premiership, plus Italian sides Roma and Juventus. A move to Newcastle
could be helped, in theory, by any Liverpool interest in bringing Michael Owen
back to Anfield. Owen at Anfield is a controversial subject, but Rafa Benítez will
certainly have him on a list of possibilities if the reported £9m release fee
Shearer also has a view on Owen's future. He told local press
in Newcastle that he thought other clubs would see Owen as over-priced: "I am
sure there are lots of people who want to ask me whether I think Michael Owen
will be at Newcastle next season. To be honest, I don't think anyone would be
prepared to pay £10m or £11m for him until they have seen him play for five or
six months. So if anyone says to me ‘will he be here next season' I would have
to say ‘yes, I think he will be'. And I also think him playing up front with
Mark Viduka will be a great partnership for United. Viduka is great at holding
the ball up and we all know how great Michael is at scoring goals."
Anything but Bellamy: "I don't think there will be many
better partnerships out there in the Premiership next season than the one at St
Shearer still seems to assume he's a guaranteed job as
Newcastle boss when he feels like taking the task on: "I have just finished my
badges so I could go into management now if I wanted to, but why should I?
There is only one place I am going to go when I do it, so I just wanted to
enjoy some time out. My wife says, 'We see less of you now than the previous 10
years,' so I'm going to take a bit of time to spend with the family, but I will
do it one day. If I get to 50 or 55 and I look back and I haven't done it, I
will regret it, but I don't know when I will do it."
Shearer never won a medal at Newcastle, but it was believed
he was offered the manager's job after Glen Roeder was sacked.
Liverpool's only trophy last season was the Community Shield
won at the start of the season but Bellamy played an important part in getting
the Reds all the way to the Champions League final. His Anfield career suffered
almost certainly irreparable damage when he was involved in incidents in
Portugal during a team break prior to the Barcelona tie.
Meanwhile, reports in France say Marseilles are unwilling to
spend any of their transfer budget on Djibril Cissé this season, instead
expecting Liverpool to allow them another 12-month loan of the striker before
they pay any fees.