Alan Shearer has saved Newcastle as a player so many times, but in 2009 he couldn’t save the Magpies from relegation from the Premier League during his tenure as temporary manager.
It was a bumpy season that saw managers come and go, but Shearer was brought on with eight games left in the campaign to steady the ship and keep the right side.
He was unable to do so, winning just one of his eight dugout matches, which dropped his beloved Magpies to the Championship.
A final 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at Villa Park cemented Newcastle’s fate, but who did Shearer select from his rather unconventional 3-4-3 line-up for this fixture?
Here’s what the starting XI and substitutes used are so far.
GK: Steve Harper
Harper was a good servant to Newcastle, on the club’s books for 20 years from 1993 to 2013.
Only a few of them were spent as a first-choice goalkeeper, but when Shay Given left in January 2009, he took over as the outgoing goalkeeper.
Now Harper is the club’s academy manager, but he has a lot on his plate given his son and some pals have fallen out with the Under-23s he manages.
It must have been an awkward family dinner.
DC: Fabricio Coloccini
Coloccini was a mainstay at the back for Newcastle for eight seasons, racking up a mammoth 275 appearances in the North East.
Towards the end of his time at the club he began to suffer more and more injuries and was increasingly absent, despite being captain, often staying with his family in Argentina – but he still loved the club .
“You adopted me here and made me feel so welcome and so happy,” he wrote in an open letter to fans when he announced he was officially returning to Argentina in 2016.
“This list of lifelong friends could go on and on, but I can sum it up – this post is for all those people who have black and white blood in their veins.
“I have always felt embraced by this club and by this beautiful city.”
He only retired last year at the age of 39, for the last time Aldosivi in Argentina and is now the U20 coach in Venezuela.
It’s good to see that Fabricio Coloccini, 37, is still going strong..
— NUFCblog.co.uk (@NUFCblogcouk) July 25, 2019
DC: Steven Taylor
It’s perhaps no surprise that Shearer, of all people, has selected homegrown players for his Newcastle side.
Taylor, like Harper, spent many seasons at Newcastle, where he played 268 times for his boyhood club and played in every tournament from the Europa League to the Championship.
He left the club in 2016 and went on a world tour. Portland Timbers, Wellington Phoenix and Indian side Odisha have all been ticked off the list. He even made stints in Ipswich and Peterborough for good measure.
Taylor only retired in 2021 after his second stint at Phoenix, and he continued his “Around the World in 80 Football Clubs” journey by taking over as coach of Dubai side Gulf United FC – which has played at Newcastle in a friendly match in March 2022.
They lost 5-0.
DC: David Edgar
There haven’t been many Canadian footballers in the Premier League. In Edgar’s four seasons at St James’ Park, he made just 19 league appearances.
He was one of them, and it was a bit of a disaster as he picked up a red card for a second yellow right to the death. In a crucial relegation game. Oh dear.
His father also played for Newcastle as a goalkeeper, although the brilliantly named Eddie Edgar never made a league appearance for the club.
He retired in 2020 from Canadian Premier League side Forge FC, where he is now an assistant manager.
MD: Kevin Nolan (Michael Owen, 1967)
Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham look like what an old man sitting in the corner of a pub nursing his pint of Best Bitter would call a ‘real footballing career’.
That was the career of Nolan, who spent a year and a half with Newcastle after joining in January 2009 to save them from relegation.
He couldn’t, but scored 17 times the following season to bring them straight back and is now West Ham manager.
Michael Owen, meanwhile, had no intention of coming close to the championship. As you can imagine, this hasn’t gone over very well with Newcastle fans.
Now a pundit, Owen felt so unsafe watching Newcastle that he was asked not to play games at St James’ Park.
“I was supposed to play the Norwich game last month. I phoned Amazon and said, ‘I don’t really want to go, I’m scared for my safety’ so they changed my game. “, he said in 2021.
“I would like it to be different. I would like to ask the fans, ‘Why don’t you like me?’, and have the chance to give my opinion.”
Not sure the conversation would go very far mate. Maybe don’t mention the helicopter either.
This time Michael Owen trained in Newcastle on Christmas Day in a helicopter? ! 🚁 pic.twitter.com/IY6t4SXST1
— COPA90 (@Copa90) December 28, 2018
CM: Danny Guthrie
At 34, Danny Guthrie still plays football. Maybe for a lower league English club? Or a team that hasn’t started in the championship?
No, he plays for Fram in Iceland. No idea why, especially considering when he joined they were in the second division.
We also don’t know why he spent a season in the Indonesian second flight a few years ago. Of course, though.
CM: Nicky Butt
From a three-time winner in 1999 to being relegated with Newcastle, Newcastle’s relegation in 2009 was not Butt’s finest hour.
He, however, remained with them in the championship and won the captaincy.
After that, he continued that Newcastle team’s love of playing in obscure places for obscure teams by joining Hong Kong side South China FC for a season before retiring.
He recently left Manchester United U23s where he coached.
GM: Damien Duff
If it wasn’t Butt’s finest hour, it certainly wasn’t Duff’s. The former Republic of Ireland international scored the own goal that relegated Newcastle, but he didn’t blame himself.
“Newcastle went down because they deserved to go down,” he has since said. “All around the place, even as a group of players, you just felt like half of them didn’t care.
“Newcastle paid good wages and there were some big names up there, but half of them didn’t care about the team.”
He hopes to avoid further relegation this season as manager of Irish side Shelbourne FC.
AD: Obafemi Martins
Martins had no interest in hanging around in the English second tier and left for Wolfsburg in the summer of 2009.
He once returned to England, on a six-month loan with Birmingham City in 2011, where he did absolutely nothing… except score the winning goal against Arsenal in the League Cup final .
Now retired, he hasn’t done much with Newcastle. Scored that wonderful goal, though. I mean, look at it.
Happy Birthday Obafemi Martins! 🥳🎁🎉
– Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 28, 2020
ST: Mark Viduka (Shola Ameobi, ’75)
Two names that scream “Barclays Premier League”.
It was the last game in Viduka’s history, with the veteran goalscorer retiring following relegation from Newcastle. What is Australia’s top scorer in Champions League history doing now (four goals, you don’t know)?
Well, he owns a cafe outside of Zagreb and plays guitar in a band with his son. Of course he does.
Ameobi was a true cult hero on Tyneside and played almost 400 times for the Magpies. He eventually retired in 2018 to Notts County, but returned to St James’ Park as loan manager.
“Newcastle is in my blood,” he said. “We want to see Newcastle United players come from this area, and I really want to help the next group of players.”
All around good healthy stuff.
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 7, 2019
LW: Peter Lovenkrands (Jose Enrique, ’57)
Lovenkrands left Newcastle at the end of the season… only to return in September 2009 anyway.
He’s now the manager of second-flight Danish team Fremad Amager, but it’s not going too well considering they finished the regular season second from bottom.
Enrique was Newcastle’s Player of the Season in 2009-10, his impressive performances helping them return to the Premier League.
He is now retired and had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2018, which luckily went well.
He now posts regularly on TikTok, mainly mocking United and Sunderland fans. At some point, he just uploaded Real Madrid v PSG highlights for no apparent reason.
By Patrick Ryan
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