Shearer lifts lid on feud with Gullit that almost led to Newcastle exit

Shearer was benched by then-Newcastle manager Gullit for a derby match against Sunderland, which the Magpies lost to ultimately cost the Dutchman his job at the Premier League club

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Alan Shearer has lifted the lid on his feud with Ruud Guillt and admitted that it almost saw him leave Newcastle United.

The striker had been at the Magpies for two years when Gullit arrived at St James Park, having already proven to be one of the Premier League ’s deadliest forwards.

After a promising first season together, which saw Shearer score 14 goals and Gullit lead Newcastle to the FA Cup final, their relationship quickly broke down.

The then-Newcastle boss believed that Shearer was not pulling his weight in the side and began to pick a fight with the club legend.

Alan Shearer has lifted the lid on his feud with Ruud Gullit at Newcastle


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It was a fight that Gullit had no chance of winning, but he did all he could to force Shearer out of the club.

Matters came to a head five games into the 1999/2000 season when Gullit left Shearer on the bench for the first Tyne-Wear derby of the season against Sunderland.

The Magpies lost the game 2-1, with the unknown Paul Robinson selected ahead of Shearer and Gullit resigned three days later.

But Shearer has now admitted that had Newcastle won that game against their bitter rivals, it would have been him heading out the St James Park exit.

“I don’t have any doubt about what would have happened if Newcastle, not Sunderland, had been victorious on August 25, 1999,” he wrote in an interview with Robinson for The Athletic.

“It was all laden with symbolism: Paul, a young, promising, boyhood Sunderland fan replacing me for one of our biggest games of the season, in parochial terms at least.

“We took the lead but Sunderland won and Gullit was toast. If it had gone the other way, Gullit would have stayed and I would have left; God knows where to.

“I would not be Newcastle’s record goalscorer today and I would not have a statue, right arm raised to the sky, on Barrack Road beside the stadium.”

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Shearer and Gullit struggled to see eye-to-eye



Robinson also blasted Gullit for his decision to bench Shearer, feeling that he made the wrong decision by selecting him for the derby.

“It’s that stupid question people still ask now more than 20 years later: ‘Do you think you should have played instead of Alan?’ F****** no!” Robinson told Shearer.

“Looking back, I was a pawn in a much bigger game and I can see that Ruud probably used me. I was the young kid, the scapegoat, and it was easy to put me against you.

“For you, Mr Newcastle, and Dunc to be on the bench for a derby of that magnitude so early in the season. Gullit should have used his head. If he’d played you and we’d got beat, he would have had the power.”

Gullit resigned as Newcastle boss three days after the defeat

Shearer insists he does not blame Robinson for what unfolded that night, but admitted that it was a “good result” despite seeing his beloved Newcastle be defeated by their rivals.

“I never resented him [Robinson] because of Ruud or Sunderland, but that game was a big, personal turning point,” Shearer wrote.

“The honest and obvious truth is that it was a good result for me, but it wasn’t a result I wanted, even though it was clear what was at stake.

“In football, you’re always fighting to take someone’s spot in the team or to hold the others off, but I would never want Newcastle to be beaten and I would never have wanted Paul to do badly.”

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