Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer is to donate the anticipated £1m (€1.46m) proceeds from his testimonial game to charity and other good causes.
It was confirmed today that the 35-year-old will mark 10 years with his home-town club with a showcase game against Scottish giants Celtic at St James’ Park on May 11.
Shearer, who broke Jackie Milburn’s club record of 200 goals in the 2-0 league victory over Portsmouth earlier this month and is the Barclays Premiership’s leading scorer on 255, had pledged to help those less fortunate than himself by handing over the cash to worthy causes, just as former Sunderland legend Niall Quinn did back in 2002.
“I’ve lived my boyhood dream,” he said. “I’ve played in front of the most loyal fans in the world, captained my country, played for the home team I supported as a boy and broken the goalscoring record of an absolute Tyneside legend and now I have my final opportunity to say farewell to the fans who have supported me so well throughout my career.
“I never dreamt that I would break the late, great Jackie Milburn’s goalscoring record. No way in a million years did I think I would be sitting up there with such a magnificent Tyneside hero.
“I have enjoyed every minute of my football career and time at NUFC and still do, and I would also like to thank my family and friends who have supported me throughout the years. Their support has been truly incredible and second to none.
“It is a great honour and privilege to have a testimonial game at this wonderful club. I hope that by pledging the money from my testimonial game to charity and worthy causes that people less fortunate than myself will also benefit in some way from my football career.”
Shearer, who joined his home-town club in a then world-record £15million move from Blackburn in the summer of 1996, guaranteed himself legendary status when he eclipsed Milburn’s record, and has repeatedly insisted he does not want to be considered for the vacant manager’s job at St James’.
However, chairman Freddy Shepherd has little doubt as to his legacy.
“Alan Shearer is a true professional and is the epitome of all that is good about this terrific game,” he said. “Breaking Jackie Milburn’s goalscoring record is a truly incredible achievement.
“Alan was brought to this club to score goals in the number nine shirt and the new record speaks for itself. His loyalty, commitment and total dedication over the years has provided, and continues to provide football supporters with superb entertainment.
“He will be remembered by today’s generation as the greatest player to play for Newcastle United and one of England’s and the world’s most celebrated players.
“We are delighted that St James’ Park will play host to Alan’s testimonial game to celebrate his unparalleled career both at club and international level.
“It will also be a fantastic night to witness the two greatest sets of supporters in Britain under the same roof for 90 minutes. I am sure the atmosphere will match the occasion and Alan will be given the perfect send-off.”
Celtic chairman Brian Quinn added: “Celtic FC is delighted to be invited by Alan Shearer to provide the opposition for his testimonial game at St James’ Park.
“There is a long-standing history of association and mutual respect between both clubs and sets of supporters and the game will mark the end of the playing career of arguably one of the world’s greatest ever football players.
“Alan’s goalscoring record at Newcastle and throughout his career at club and international level is a phenomenal achievement. We are sure that a number of our supporters will make their way to Newcastle to play their part in football history and to pay tribute to a true footballing legend.”
Shearer will also launch the Alan Shearer Academy Scholarship, which will benefit one of the most promising under-16 players in the region each year.