Alan Shearer’s debut as manager of Newcastle United ended unhappily earlier today with a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea. In the mind of the Guardian’s Barney Ronay, we’re already a few hours late in calling for the Geordie striker’s “sudden and emotional depature”.
For a start, this is the perfect moment. Shearer’s stock, already dizzyingly high, will reach its apex before today’s game against Chelsea, in between the new manager’s fevered double-fisted wave to the crowd and the moment the BBC commentator says “he’ll be kicking every ball down there”, accompanied by a shot of an empurpled Shearer miming nodding the ball into the opposition net and then doubling up with anguish as Shola Ameobi decides he’d rather fall over and look cross instead.
The other main issue here is that this is all frankly a bit much. Shearer’s return is just what Newcastle fans have always wanted. And we know that kind of thing never really works out. This must be how it feels, for example, to have successfully persuaded the elegant, slim woman from the Special K adverts to be your girlfriend, despite the fact that you resemble Martin Clunes’ tired and hunchbacked non-famous cousin. For the first five minutes or so it’s a dream come true. After which it quickly becomes apparent you haven’t thought this through at all. There are awkward silences. Her insistence on wearing a tiny red string bikini at all times quickly becomes an irritant, as does the obsession with varieties of grain-based breakfast flake. Before you know it you’re visualising Chris Hughton’s head on her shoulders or asking her to dress up like Joe Kinnear and whisper something filthy in your ear. In time she leaves you for the Gillette razor bloke and they move to a town full of tiny floating coloured balls and find happiness consolidating all their debts into one low, low monthly payment.
Perhaps the best reason for Shearer’s instant departure would be no reason at all: an inexplicable flit, a bewildering shemozzle. Ideally this would only happen after he’s wrestled the team to safety, bankrupted his chairman and done a great deal more waving and hugging. And then at least we can get on with talking about when he might come back.