Former Newcastle defender John Anderson is convinced Alan Shearer can only win as he prepares to take over as manager of his home-town club.
The 38-year-old is expected to be confirmed as the Magpies’ boss until the end of the season later today, with present incumbent Joe Kinnear recovering from heart surgery.
Shearer will return to St James’ Park almost three years after his retirement as a player, with just eight games in which to stave off relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
However, Anderson believes the man who achieved legendary status during his 10 years as a player on Tyneside cannot lose whatever happens during the remainder of the season.
He said: “I think it’s a win-win situation. If he keeps them up, he will be put on an even higher pedestal than he’s already on.
“If he doesn’t keep them up, the supporters will say it wasn’t his fault because they were in this predicament long before he took over and he had only eight games to turn it around.”
Newcastle head into Saturday’s clash with Chelsea in 18th place and two points adrift of safety, and they are in desperate need of a lift after yet another chaotic season.
Anderson admitted his surprise at the timing of Shearer’s impending return, but claims the former England striker is only one of two men – the other being Kevin Keegan – who could placate the club’s fans in the current climate.
He said: “It’s a huge, huge surprise at this time in the season, but if anybody is going to get them out of the predicament they are in, it’s only going to be one of two people.
“The first one was never going to come back, and the second one is Alan.
“He’s got a huge job on his hands, but he knows what’s expected, he knows the club and the one thing you would say is that the players will look up to him, respect him and will listen to him because he’s been there and done it.
“It’s not as if he’s come in and they are saying: ’Who are you?’
“He has done everything that has to be done, so he will have the respect of the players, which is a big plus point.”
Shearer has been touted as a future Newcastle manager since long before his retirement from playing – indeed, he had to rule himself out of the race to succeed Graeme Souness back in early 2006.
He has made no secret of his desire to go into management one day and has been working on his coaching badges for some time.
However, with Keegan still in dispute with owner Mike Ashley’s regime over the way the club was run during his second spell in charge, the timing does seem strange.
Anderson said: “He has obviously been given some guarantees, I would imagine.
“The only way he would take the job would be if he was given guarantees that things would be done his way and there would be no interference.
“It is interesting it is only to the end of the season, but if he was to keep them up, by public demand, they would have to give him the job.
“It’s very, very interesting indeed.
“We all knew he was always going to get the job one day and that it would be his when he felt the time was right.
“But until now, it never seemed to be the right time. Now doesn’t seem to be the right time either.
“But it’s the club he loves, he’s a local lad and he obviously feels it’s a situation in which he can help.”