There is no MOTD in Australia. Ergo, there is no Alan Shearer. Yes, I could get a UK ISP address and watch it on iPlayer. But really, who can be bothered when accompanying the potted highlights are smug golf club musings from ex-Pros on the failings of current players, with the strong inference that things were better in their day. Besides, for a meagre fee Aussie-based EPL (urgh) fans can get live coverage and unadulterated 45 minute long highlights packages from Fox.
Almost mockingly, there is a fading 1995-era (I think) poster of Shearer hanging on the wall of the local futsal court. Right arm aloft as he wheels away in celebration, the title-winning striker is reminding us that he used to be a respected adornment in the lives of football fans. Now he seems to be most remembered for managing Newcastle in the final months of their previous Premier League tenure – garnering 5 points from a possible 24 – and not knowing who Hatem Ben Arfa was upon his signing for the Toon a couple of years back. Oh, and the stuff with Joey Barton. That was fun.
Now Shearer is castigated for not being vogue enough to know that passing sideways is the new forwards. Brendan Rodgers’ defence of Joe Allen after the callous, vitriolic attack delivered from the plush MOTD sofa by the man in the tight trousers was given the shortest of shrift. Sure, Shearer may not “know the dynamics of a team and how it functions”, but can we expect anything more from a man who thrived off the insightful punts of Rob Lee, David Batty et al?
Even Shearer’s playing days are now increasingly seen through the shrinking prism of stamping on Neil Lennon‘s head and getting away with it. You know your career has lost some of its lustre when paragon of virtue Ashley Cole feels able to attack you for hypocrisy.
But, being the knowledgeable football connoisseurs that they are, the finger-lickin’ owners of Blackburn are reportedly willing to look past the contemporary image of Mr Shearer, tap into the tactical nous that lurks in his football brain, and make him their head cock. This’ll be the same footballing brain that repeatedly got him on the shoulder of the last defender, before elbowing him in the back of the cranium and lashing the ball past some helpless foreign goalie type.
Except there still hasn’t been a call to Shearer HQ. Surely leaking the name of a club legend to the press wasn’t a cynical ploy to get some positive publicity after making their former manager’s position ‘untenable’ because he only got 14 of the 16 points deemed a satisfactory return at the start of this season? To answer that convoluted question one need only ask whether the mooted deals for Ronaldinho, Beckham and Kaka ever got anywhere.
It all sounds suspiciously like MOTD-viewers will have to persist with the entertaining banter of Shearer and his mates for a while longer, as he blabbers himself out of further managerial opportunities. For once, I am thankful for Rupert Murdoch.