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Apr 1, 2009

Former chairman Hall calls for full-time Shearer job

Former Newcastle chairman Sir John Hall has called on Alan Shearer to be appointed Newcastle manager for the long term.

The former England captain is expected to be placed in charge for the remaining eight games of the Premier League season, with the Magpies third from bottom and two points from safety.

''I'm delighted at the news, but it's not the circumstances I would have wanted him to come back,'' Hall told BBC Radio Five Live. ''I would have preferred him to come back as long-term manager because I've always felt he was the only man at this moment in time who could manage Newcastle.

''He's the most dedicated professional I've ever known in my time in the game.

''Desperate measures, desperate times. There's a gap opening up at the bottom of the table and he'll galvanise all the fans - let's hope he galvanises the players.

''It's got to happen on the park. If it doesn't happen on the park we'll go down.''

Hall brought Shearer, a boyhood Newcastle fan, to the club as a player - and he was also involved in bringing Kevin Keegan to the club as manager first time around.

''When we took Keegan back 20 years ago he always had the knowledge of the game and the players and he had that magic touch,'' said Hall. ''I think Alan's got the same. He's been out of the game for a while but he knows the game.

''I think he'll be great. I'm absolutely delighted at the news - not at the circumstances, I don't think he should be judged on these eight games.''

Shearer would take over from Chris Hughton, who has been in caretaker charge as Joe Kinnear recovers from heart surgery.

Shearer has been out of the game since his retirement as a player three years ago, but Hall believes he will have one eye on keeping the job beyond the end of the season should things go well.

''I never thought he'd come back into the game,'' he said. ''Keegan had been out of the game for eight years and he never lost his touch.

''Alan's been out of it, he's coming back for eight games but I would think now that he's got it in his mind that if he succeeds probably to discuss long-term managership.''

With Newcastle in such a precarious position, Hall does not believe the fans will turn against Shearer should the team be relegated.

''They have too high regard for Alan Shearer and they know he's coming in in very, very difficult circumstances,'' he said. ''I'm certain no-one would judge him on these eight games. Let's just hope and pray that he can save us. That's what we're all hoping for.''

Shearer has previously questioned owner Mike Ashley's running of the club, but Hall does not feel that will cause tension between them.

He said: ''Mike came in with the best of intentions and I think he had it in mind when he brought Keegan in that he was going to look at the Tottenham system of a director of football.

''We discussed the two ways of having a manager with absolute responsibility or having a director of football. It was said at the time they wanted to go the way of a director of football.

''Things didn't work out between him and Kevin unfortunately. He made a few mistakes but I think he's had a lot of bad publicity he didn't deserve.''

Another former chairman, Freddy Shepherd, also welcomed the prospective appointment.

''I think it's great news,'' he told BBC Radio Five Live. ''Newcastle are in a fight now, they're in the trenches, and Alan is the man to carry on the fight.''

Shepherd also insisted Newcastle deserve to be seen as one of the country's big clubs, despite a major trophy drought which stretches back to 1969.

''It's more of an institution than a club,'' said Shepherd. ''Everybody knows about Newcastle.

''It doesn't matter where you go in the world, they all want to know about Newcastle United.

''There's been a lot of controversy in the past, it's well known for the managers it's had, and it's a famous club, end of story.''

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