Anderson: Shearer in a 'win-win' situation
Former Newcastle defender John Anderson is convinced Alan Shearer can only win as he prepares to take over as manager of his home-town club.
The 38-year-old is expected to be confirmed as the Magpies' boss until the end of the season on Wednesday, with present incumbent Joe Kinnear recovering from heart surgery.
Shearer will return to St James' Park almost three years after his retirement as a player, with just eight games in which to stave off relegation from the Premier League.
However, Anderson believes the man who achieved legendary status during his 10 years as a player on Tyneside cannot lose whatever happens during the remainder of the season.
He said: ''I think it's a win-win situation. If he keeps them up, he will be put on an even higher pedestal than he's already on.
''If he doesn't keep them up, the supporters will say it wasn't his fault because they were in this predicament long before he took over and he had only eight games to turn it around.''
Newcastle head into Saturday's clash with Chelsea in 18th place and two points adrift of safety, and they are in desperate need of a lift after yet another chaotic season.
Anderson admitted his surprise at the timing of Shearer's impending return, but claims the former England striker is only one of two men - the other being Kevin Keegan - who could placate the club's fans in the current climate.
He said: ''It's a huge, huge surprise at this time in the season, but if anybody is going to get them out of the predicament they are in, it's only going to be one of two people.
''The first one was never going to come back, and the second one is Alan.
''He's got a huge job on his hands, but he knows what's expected, he knows the club and the one thing you would say is that the players will look up to him, respect him and will listen to him because he's been there and done it.
''It's not as if he's come in and they are saying, 'Who are you?'. He has done everything that has to be done, so he will have the respect of the players, which is a big plus point.''
Shearer has been touted as a future Newcastle manager since long before his retirement from playing - indeed, he had to rule himself out of the race to succeed Graeme Souness back in early 2006.
He has made no secret of his desire to go into management one day and has been working on his coaching badges for some time.
However, with Keegan still in dispute with owner Mike Ashley's regime over the way the club was run during his second spell in charge, the timing does seem strange.
Anderson said: ''He has obviously been given some guarantees, I would imagine. The only way he would take the job would be if he was given guarantees that things would be done his way and there would be no interference.
''It is interesting it is only to the end of the season, but if he was to keep them up, by public demand, they would have to give him the job. It's very, very interesting indeed.
''We all knew he was always going to get the job one day and that it would be his when he felt the time was right. But until now, it never seemed to be the right time. Now doesn't seem to be the right time either.
''But it's the club he loves, he's a local lad and he obviously feels it's a situation in which he can help.''
Former Newcastle winger Chris Waddle said: ''Management's not like playing and Alan will find that out. They will have to do a lot of hard work in training and he's got to get the confidence and belief in the squad.
''It's a good bit of public relations for Mike Ashley because they have been getting criticised the last few weeks.
''We all knew when Kevin Keegan got the job it was him or Shearer. It didn't work for Kevin for whatever reason but if Alan can keep them up that'll be enough for the fans.''
However, Waddle - who won 62 caps for England - believes the 38-year-old has the ability to keep the Magpies in the Premier League.
He added on Setanta Sports News: ''They've got a good opportunity to get three or four results from their eight games, then it'll be a case of where do we go form here?
''For now though it's a case of just focusing on getting the results and keeping them up - but I said last weekend Newcastle would finish fifth or sixth bottom.
''They have enough games at home to pick the points up. I think they'll get 41-42 points and that'll be enough.''
The striker's former England team-mate Paul Gascoigne believes his fellow Geordie could galvanise the struggling Magpies and rejected suggestions Shearer would be in a no-lose situation given their current plight.
Gascoigne told Setanta Sports News: "Alan's blood is black and white and he'll be telling the players that.
"He's got eight games to keep them up and I don't think it'll be too difficult a task. All they've got to know is that they're playing for Alan Shearer, Newcastle United and the fans.
"It's going to get the fans behind the players and give them a lift.
"People say he's got nothing to lose, that if they stay up he's a hero and if they go down it wasn't his fault. But Al won't be thinking of it that way; if the team did go down, he'd take the blame.
"I knew Alan was going to get this job 15 years ago. It's a great job for him, a great opportunity.
"But to take on the managers' job at Newcastle you've got to be a brave man.''
The 41-year-old admitted he has not been present at St James' Park for some time but would be eager to welcome Shearer if he was appointed.
"I haven't been to a Newcastle game in ages but I'll be there on Saturday (against Chelsea),'' said Gascoigne.
"Hopefully he'll give me a couple of tickets for free! I'll be somewhere on that terrace. I really want him to do well.''