Date:Friday May 12 2006
The Geordie public gathered at St James' Park to say goodbye to the man who will always remain a legend on Tyneside. How often have we heard this week 'he won nothing', but when he says 'I lived the dream and I couldn't care less about medals' you know it comes from the heart.
Others, like Gazza and Peter Beardsley, told of their pride of wearing the Toon shirt. I'm sure they did. But they didn't know how quick to get away from the club in search of stardom - Shearer turned down the biggest clubs in the world to come to Newcastle. THAT'S the difference - and THAT is what we should always remember.
The 35-year-old striker, whose playing days were ended three weeks prematurely by a knee injury, started and finished his testimonial game against Celtic - scoring the winner from the penalty spot after returning to the pitch as a substitute in injury time.
He walked out before kick-off at St James' Park with his wife Lainya and children Chloe, Hollie and Will, a capacity crowd on three sides of the stadium held up black, white and gold cards depicting his name and his famous number nine shirt amid a torrent of noise.
For the record, £9.5million signing Albert Luque volleyed the Magpies in front on 70 minutes - but a Shaun Maloney penalty and a John Hartson header put Celtic ahead before Paul Lawson's own goal and Shearer's spot-kick won it.
Newcastle old boys Steve Watson and Gary Speed each played part of a first half in which the home side - with all the players wearing number nine on their shorts - enjoyed the better of the chances.
Goalkeeper David Marshall had to tip away a deflected Michael Chopra shot on 21 minutes, and defender Stephen McManus diverted an Emre corner just wide of his own goal two minutes later. McManus denied Chopra once again a minute before the break, but Marshall had to push a Charles N'Zogbia pile-driver on to the bar seconds later.
Caretaker boss Glenn Roeder made six changes at the break, one of them handing Steven Taylor his first football since Boxing Day. But it was the Scottish champions who created the first chance of the second half, former Sunderland defender Stanislav Varga heading wide from a Paul Telfer corner.
Marshall had to save from Matty Pattison on 61 minutes after Chopra had played him in, with the crowd building towards a crescendo as thousands of black-and-white scarves swirled in the air with Shearer looking on from the dug-out.
The noise was not quelled by the arrival of Rob Lee as a 67th-minute substitute, and it grew further when Luque volleyed home Peter Ramage's 70th-minute cross to open the scoring.
Les Ferdinand - the man Shearer regards as his best partner at the club - entered the fray seconds later. But Celtic were level on 79 minutes when Maloney was tripped by Ramage, and the midfielder converted the resulting penalty.
Hartson looked to have won the game for the visitors with a trademark header eight minutes from time. But after Lawson had deflected Ferdinand's cross into his own net, the ending the script demanded duly arrived. Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a 'diplomatic' penalty after Ferdinand went down in the box in injury-time, and Shearer returned to the pitch to score from the spot - just as he had done in his final competitive game at Sunderland.
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|15. Hull City||30||6||10||14||-12||28|
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