I snubbed Manchester United twice in five years – I can’t stand them now

The strange rivalry between Man United and Newcastle is centered on the biggest transfer snub of the early Premier League era.

I snubbed Manchester United twice in five years - I can't stand them now

Shearer didn’t win a trophy with Newcastle (Image: Gary M Prior /Allsport)

The reaction to Alan Shearer’s tweet was very appetizing for a Manchester United supporter like me. A famous TV quote from Bullseye, which goes, “Look at what you would have won,” is placed next to a picture of Sir Alex Ferguson holding the FA Cup, Premier League, and Champions League trophies with pride.

It makes sense that Shearer still feels strongly about it, as evidenced by the fact that questions about it still come up.

“Never! Both then and now, I am unable to tolerate them! That was his tweet regarding his career regrets and whether or not turning down United (twice) still hurt.

In 1992, Shearer had the chance to join Old Trafford, but United selected Eric Cantona, and Shearer went with Blackburn. The latter would quickly assist United in winning the FA Cup and multiple league titles.

But Ferguson’s greatest move, for the striker everyone wanted, would come in 1996, when football (almost) came home. Shearer belonged to that generation; consider Harry Kane or Erling Haaland. Fergie’s United would have advanced greatly under his leadership.

Former United chairman Martin Edwards said, “I’d actually done a deal as far as Alan Shearer’s contract was concerned, we’d come to a settlement.” “Shearer had visited Ferguson at his home, chatted with him, and told him he was eager to come. The issue, I believe, stemmed from Blackburn’s chairman, Jack Walker, who had a dislike for Manchester United, the local rivals who are both Lancashire clubs.

“He opposed Alan Shearer joining Manchester United.” Shearer had a close relationship with Walker, who served as a father figure to him, so I doubt Alan intended to offend him by joining United. Furthermore, I don’t think Jack would have allowed him to go anyhow; on the other hand, he was content for Alan to go to Newcastle and didn’t see it as a threat.”

The next bit is known to all. Furthermore, the public believed that Shearer had been snubbed by Blackburn rather than that Blackburn had secretly acquired Shearer from United. It was actually both.

What made United supporters laugh was that he picked Newcastle, a team he would go on to become a club legend with but would never win anything with. Instead, they signed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as the song goes.

After joining the team in the summer of 1996, Solskjaer spent more than ten years there, winning six league titles, two FA Cups, and the Champions League in 1999—the year his iconic toe-poke dramaticlly sealed the treble. Newcastle finished 13th in the Premier League that year, and United easily defeated them 2-0 in the FA Cup final.

Shearer recently emphasized, “Of course, I was tempted to join Manchester United, but I do not regret either decision.” “I won the league at Blackburn, and I had a fantastic time there. And I fulfilled my personal ambition of playing for the Newcastle club in my hometown. I am incredibly proud of my goalscoring record and have memories that I will cherish forever.”

Ferguson didn’t lose much sleep over it in the end, despite his initial outrage that Shearer wasn’t persuaded to come to Old Trafford despite assurances that he could have the No. 9 shirt (but that he wouldn’t be taking penalties, given Cantona’s 100% record from the spot).

“I believed that we would have our man if those were the only things weighing on his mind,” he stated. “Time will tell if he made the right decision in selecting Newcastle over us.”

Whether Shearer is genuinely content with his choice is something only he knows in his heart. During that time in history, United undoubtedly had few regrets, but they weren’t accustomed to being passed over.

Thus, keep this story and that Ferguson quote in mind the next time you hear “Cheer up Alan Shearer,” set to the tune of “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees, or the well-known Solskjaer song playing around Old Trafford. For more than 20 years, United supporters have taken pleasure in provoking Shearer. That won’t be changing very soon.

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