Ex-Newcastle skipper Lee urges Ashley to keep Shearer in Toon
Former Newcastle captain Rob Lee believes owner Mike Ashley must keep Alan Shearer at St James' Park to oversee the club's bid to return to the Barclays Premier League. Lee was in the stands on Sunday as Newcastle's 16-year spell in the top flight came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa as Shearer's eight-game mission to keep the Magpies among the elite ended in failure. But despite that Lee, who was part of the Newcastle side which won promotion to the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1993, insists Shearer is the only man who can ensure they spend just one season in the Championship. 'I certainly think Alan should stay, I think it is the only appointment Mike Ashley can make with the club going down. It reminds me of the situation when I joined in 1992 under Kevin Keegan when we were in the old first division,' Lee said. 'The club needs rebuilding, it has needed rebuilding for many years. Mike Ashley takes a lot of the blame, but it has been coming for a long time. 'It's disappointing for the club, but in the long term it might be a blessing in disguise, to take one step back to get two steps forward. I hope Alan stays in charge with a long-term contract because it is a long-term thing.' After Ashley called the move to bring Shearer, who scored 206 goals for Newcastle, back to St James' Park on a short-term deal which expired on Monday 'the best decision I have ever made,' talks are still ongoing over a permanent contract for the 38- year-old former England and Blackburn Rovers striker. 'I think there is going to be a major overhaul if Alan stays in charge, everything from the tea lady to the players,' added Lee, who is in Hong Kong to take part in the IP Global International Soccer Sevens tournament this weekend. Newcastle won just six games last season under Keegan, Joe Kinnear and caretaker managers Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood before Shearer helped engineer a 3-1 win over local rivals Middlesbrough. But it proved not to be enough as their 18th defeat of the season and sixth under Shearer at Villa Park finally sealed relegation. 'The players should take responsibility, I have been relegated myself and you have to accept responsibility and take the blame as the manager can only put the players on the pitch and it is up to you to win games,' said Lee. 'And Newcastle should be winning more games then they won last season. 'On Sunday against Villa the second half was very disappointing. The problem is that they don't have pace, you need pace in any team now, you need people who can get around the pitch. 'And when you need only one goal to get one point it's disappointing not being able to do that.'
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