Sir Bobby pleads for Shearer to return to Newcastle as manager
More than 40,000 Newcastle fans will pack into St James' Park today to see Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley come out of retirement in honourof another local hero, Sir Bobby Robson. The three Geordie icons will take part in an England v Germany Legends game for the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation, reminding Newcastle fans how far their hometown club have fallen in recent years. Shearer is able to play only because Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has been unable to give him the manager's job while he is still trying to sell the club. And Sir Bobby is hoping his former No 9 and captain will return this season as manager, despite failing to save them from relegation from the Premier League last season. 'It's great that Alan can play but I'd have preferred to have him involved at Newcastle United because I believe we need a strong manager for the next five years,' said Sir Bobby. 'But Newcastle's loss at the moment is my gain and I'm thrilled he is with the England Legends team. I tried to sign Alan for Barcelona, but he came back home to Newcastle instead. 'Thankfully, I was able to be his manager later on at St James' Park and he was a model professional, as well as a great captain and centre-forward. Next, I expect him to be a great manager, and I hope it's with our club, Newcastle.' Other England players to take part in today's game, which will be screened live on ITV4, include Sir Bobby's Italia 90 stars Peter Shilton, Des Walker, Mark Wright and David Platt, as well as former internationals Steve Hodge, Teddy Sheringham, John Barnes, Les Ferdinand and Gary Pallister. Germany will be captained by Lothar Matthaus, their skipper in the famous semi-final in Turin, which Germany won on penalties. A number of celebrities, including Jimmy Nail, Angus Deayton, Paddy McGuinness and Simon Webbe, will also figure. Beardsley said: 'It's going to be a magnificent occasion. Alan, Gazza and myself haven't played together since we were all in the same England squad under Terry Venables nearly 15 years ago. 'It's tempting to think how Newcastle would have done if we'd all played for them together in our prime, particularly if Sir Bobby had been manager. Maybe that elusive league championship would have been ours.' Sir Bobby has raised more than £1.5million to fund a cancer research unit in Newcastle since being diagnosed for a fifth time. Beardsley added: 'If he hadn't already been knighted, he'd get one just for the work he's done for that. The number of events he has attended despite his health situation is a mark of the man. He is a national hero. 'I'm looking forward to the game. Whenever there is a big tournament on, I think back to that World Cup semi-final and think what might have been.' The match kicks off at 6.15pm, with tickets available on the gate. Sir Bobby said: 'It will be such a special day for me personally. My cancer foundation has been a phenomenal success, helped by the generosity of so many people. 'And, of course, although it is my name on the foundation, there are so many good people who work tirelessly behind the scenes.' Sir Bobby was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago after successfully fighting the disease on four previous occasions. His own appearance at the match will be dependent on how he feels today.
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