Belfast Telegraph

Shearer to be honoured with statue

Newcastle's record goalscorer Alan Shearer is to be recognised by a statue in his home city.

Former Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd has resurrected plans to establish a permanent tribute to the now 44-year-old, who scored 206 goals for the club during a glittering 10-year career on Tyneside.

Northumberland artist Tom Maley, who was initially commissioned eight years ago, will now complete the 9'6" statue, which will take four months to cast, with Shepherd's family business, Shepherd Offshore, covering the cost.

The former Newcastle supremo told Press Association Sport: "It's been resurrected. We have commissioned Tom Maley to finish it off - the family thought it was the right thing to do.

"We, along with the Halls, signed him and he was a great servant to Newcastle, so that's why we are doing it.

"The idea was to put it in the Exhibition Park Museum, but we have had so many enquiries from the city about where to put it, so what we are doing is getting it finished first and then we will worry about where it's going to go."

Newcastle paid a then world record £15million to lure Geordie Shearer from Blackburn to St James' Park, but the investment paid off handsomely as he surpassed Jackie Milburn as the club's most prolific marksman.

He remains a hero with the Toon Army and was briefly handed the managerial reins by current owner Mike Ashley, who bought out the Shepherd and Hall families in 2007, although even he could not prevent the club slipping from the Barclays Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Shepherd for one is in no doubt as to the place Shearer holds in Tyneside folklore, alongside former manager Sir Bobby Robson, whose own statue - also created by Maley - stands outside the Gallowgate End at St James'.

He said: "He's the best buy ever for Newcastle, nobody would ever contradict that.

"It was important that he was recognised, certainly by his own city, for his years of service. He certainly deserves it, in my opinion. Some people might disagree, but I think he deserves it and the family is pleased to do it."

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