The year is 1996. Alan Shearer stands at a crossroads. He has banged in 130 goals in four seasons for Blackburn Rovers, and is now at the cusp of two alternate universes. The crossroads are metaphorical and point to different timelines. One reads: ‘Sign for Newcastle United (WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED)’ and the other reads: ‘Sign for Manchester United (WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN).’
If the legendary Geordie striker had bottled signing for his boyhood club, raised his iconic hand in the air and hailed a taxi to Old Trafford, just think what might have been. His 206 goals for the Magpies might’ve been netted in red rather than black and white. United wouldn’t have signed Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer instead, so may have never won the treble in 1999. Shearer might never have been subsequently hired as Newcastle’s temporary manager and got them relegated in 2009. This weird statute that makes him look like a chocolate boy that’s late for a meeting would never have been commissioned. Time might also have ripped apart due to this butterfly effect decision and we could all be dead. So thank heavens he made the right decision.
That being said, an interview with former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd, recalls how it was never in doubt.
Aghast that Sir Alex Ferguson was sniffing around his star striker and knowing the offers were too good to turn down, then-Blackburn chairman Jack Walker spoke to Shepherd and told him, '”it's £20 million to anybody else, but you can have him for £15 million” because “he didn’t want him going to Manchester United.”
Though the £15 million the Toon stumped up was enough to make Shearer the then-world’s most expensive striker, Newcastle fans will concur he was a bargain for the joy he brought them in the following decade, and fans of living will concur he was a bargain for not breaking the space-time continuum and killing everyone.
[Via: Manchester Evening News]