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Apr 1, 2009

Newcastle turn to saviour Shearer

Newcastle's new manager Alan Shearer has admitted he could not turn down his former club when he got the call asking him to save them from relegation.

The Magpies are currently 18th in the Barclays Premier League, two points from safety with eight matches of the campaign remaining.

Shearer has been brought in, initially until the end of the season, to secure their top-flight future and it is a challenge he could not say refuse.

"I got a call over the weekend off Derek Llambias (managing director) and Mike Ashley (owner) and I went round for a chat,'' said Newcastle's record goalscorer, who has no managerial experience.

"They kindly asked if I would take charge for the remaining eight games and I asked for a little time to think and spoke to a few people.

"It's a club I love and I, just like many thousands of people, desperately don't want the club to go down and I will do everything I can to try to prevent that.

"It's a tough situation Newcastle are in and I feel deeply for this club.

"I believe I can help it along with the players, there is a nucleus here that can get this club out of trouble.

"They are very good players lacking confidence and it's up to me and the staff to get the best out of them.''

The 38-year-old, who has completed all but one of his coaching badges and is still to gain his FIFA Pro Licence, has brought in former Southampton team-mate and ex-QPR manager Iain Dowie to assist him and will hold his first training session with the squad tomorrow morning.

He takes over from caretaker boss Chris Hughton, who himself was standing in for Joe Kinnear who is recovering from heart bypass surgery.

Kinnear was brought in after Kevin Keegan resigned just eight months into his second spell at the club.

"This is for an eight-game spell, I'm looking no further than that,'' Shearer told Radio 5 Live.

"Joe Kinnear is in the job at the moment and recovering well from his operation. I'm here for eight games and eight games only and [I aim] to try to keep this team in the Premier League.''

The news all Tyneside had been waiting for was finally confirmed at 10pm.

"Everyone at Newcastle United is absolutely delighted that Alan has taken on this challenge,'' said managing director Derek Llambias.

"Already there is a buzz around the club and the city. The news has given everyone a massive boost.''

After taking training Shearer will be officially unveiled at a press conference at St James' Park tomorrow afternoon.

Shearer's arrival coincides with the departure of executive director (football) Dennis Wise.

The former Leeds boss was recruited by owner Ashley in January 2008 as part of an overhaul of the management structure with a brief to focus on transfers, scouting and youth development.

However, it was an appointment which proved unpopular with fans and was not one welcomed by former manager Kevin Keegan, who was brought in around the same time but resigned in September last year.

Shearer, who rejected the chance to join Keegan's coaching staff, was also critical of the structure at the club and Wise's exit was confirmed less than an hour before Shearer was announced as the club's fourth different manager of a difficult season.

"The club would like to take this opportunity to wish Dennis well for the future. There are no plans to appoint a replacement in this role,'' said a club statement.

Shearer's job now is to galvanise a squad low on confidence and get them ready for Saturday's visit of Chelsea.

The 38-year-old is a legend on Tyneside, having scored 206 goals in 404 appearances during a 10-year spell at his home-town club, and Ashley will hope the former England captain can inspire the players the way he has the fans.

It is a difficult task as the club have won just one of their last 12 league matches, with that victory coming over rock-bottom West Brom.

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