116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

All Good Things (Part 2)...

I was at Nevada Smith's not too long ago, having a pint with Father Ted, who was telling me a story about an England shirt he had purchased. "I bought this England shirt, it was beautiful. So I came in here with it on, and Jack (the bartender) says to me, he says, 'What are you doing?' So I said, 'What?' Jack looks at me and he says, 'That shirt, it has a signature!' Well, I didn't know! Jack says, 'It's Alan Shearer!' Gasp! I took it right off!"
Alan Shearer commands a lot of respect in England, and deservedly so, although he never really captured my imagination very much. He was definitely from the English school of alpha-male footballers (Wayne Rooney, anyone?), but, as a striker, did not leave a trail of injured players from devastating tackles like my man Keano, nor was he humorously psychotic in the manner of Lee Bowyer. In fact, for a tough guy, Shearer always seemed a bit jovial, a Bruce Willis-type figure in the Premier League.
So while Shearer may have never been flashy or crazy, he did have a thing for scoring goals, and he scored more than any other player in the history of the Premier League. Even now, at age 35, it remained no surprise to see Shearer's marker lose him mysteriously, only to turn around and see the captain of the Toon Army one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Monday, with three games left in his playing career, and with his 206th goal for Newcastle United already tallied, Shearer suffered an apparent tear to his MCL. If the scans go as expected, the injury means the end to his illustrious career. Shearer didn't play with the flair or elegance of his contemporary superstars Giggs or Bergkamp, but he did play with a passion rivaled by no one (well, almost no one). Some may say that this is a sad end to the career of a player who deserved better, and they may be right. But in my mind, Alan Shearer played until he was physically unable to do so any longer, which, for him, sounds just right.


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