Good Interview with Football's Mr Charisma

Alan Shearer

The England legend spills the beans on Newcastle, peas and why Small Talk’s questions are a joke

Hello Alan. How are you? Good.

Fine thanks. Say, who do you think will win the World Cup this summer? Think and hope are two different things. I hope England can win it obviously. If they keep Wayne Rooney fit they’ll have a very good chance but I think my favourites for the tournament will be Spain.

Should Fabio Capello take David Beckham? I would take him for his experience, I think he has something to offer. Certainly not in the starting 11 to begin with, but for experience, for someone who can go on and help England win a game, or save a game, I would take him.

Which strikers should go? It depends whether he takes four or five strikers. Wayne will go, I think Defoe will go, I think Heskey will go. The other spot, or the other two spots, are open to debate. There’s plenty to choose from. Carlton Cole, Crouch, Agbonlahor …

Yes, yes, but which of them should he choose?
[A bit miffed at being pressed] Probably Crouch and Agbonlahor.

Why Agbonlahor? Because he’s had a fantastic season. He’s got lightning pace. He’s scored goals and looks a threat.

We must talk about Newcastle, Alan. They’re top of the Championship this season – is that because they are a much better team than last year or because they’re in a much worse league? They’re in a worse league, there’s no doubt about that. There’s a huge difference between the Premier League and the Championship. But having said that, Chris Hughton deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s settled things down and got them playing some decent stuff. He’s got them to the top of the league, and it looks as if they’ll have enough to go up. Once, or if, that happens, that poses a different question.

The question that poses is: will they be good enough to stay there? So will they? Now you know why so many teams go up from the Championship and then struggle and go straight back down because of the vast difference in the leagues. It depends how much they spend. If they spend pretty big they’ll be able to stay up, yeah,

What did you learn from your experience of managing Newcastle? I learned that’s a very, very tough job, but I also learned that I really enjoyed it despite what happened at the end of it. I loved the everyday questions that were posed of you, the adrenaline rush, and obviously the games. I really, really enjoyed it, despite what happened.

So you’re looking to get back into management?
If the right one comes along then I’d be interested.

What do you mean by the right one? I don’t know what the right one is. I don’t think you can be too picky or choosy. Certainly I can’t be.

Tell us this, Alan, who is the football pundit you most admire, apart from yourself? He won’t thank for me saying it, but I suppose I’ll have to say Alan. He’s been there for so many years. He’s well respected, and he does talk a lot of sense. Not that I’d tell him that anyway.

Who are you talking about? Alan Green?
Alan Hansen.

Oh right. Did he give you any tips when you were a novice pundit?
[Miffed again] No, he didn’t.

Are there any pundits you don’t like?
There were plenty who I didn’t like when I was playing. Now I think I have a decent relationship with all of them.

Have any current players come up to you to complain about something you’ve said on Match of the Day?
No, they haven’t.

What’s the last piece of music you bought?
Lionel Richie, when I went to his concert at the Newcastle Arena about six months ago. Fantastic.

Who’s your favourite TV detective? I don’t watch a lot of TV, to be honest. With three kids I have my hands full.

What about when you were a youngster? What was your favourite cartoon? [Nonplussed] Cartoons!?

Cartoons. I didn’t watch cartoons, I was too busy playing football.

Apart from a football, did you have a favourite toy when you were a child? [Triumphantly] Yes, a goalpost.

Apart from football paraphernalia, did you have a favourite toy when you were a child? No, like I told you I was too busy playing football.

Now that you have retired, can you catch up on playing with the toys that you didn’t play with when you were a youngster? Have you, for instance, discovered the joys of action men or maybe Lego?
[With mounting anger] No, I don’t play with toys. And I’m not into the PSPs or anything like that. Whenever I have any spare time I have a game of golf.

Assuming you have time to eat, what is your favourite vegetable? Goodness me. What type of questions are these? [Exasperated] I should say peas, should I?

There’s no right or wrong answer, Alan, that’s the beauty of it.
OK, peas.

Not Brussel sprouts? [Annoyed] Peas.

Just a big bowl of peas? [Palpably hoping chat will conclude very soon] With a bit of mash, sausage and gravy.

What about fruit? An apple.

That’s quite emphatic. You wouldn’t have any time for an orange or a banana?
[Firmly] You asked for my favourite fruit, I said an apple.

That is accurate. By the way, what superpowers would you like to have? [Impatiently] What do you mean?

The ability to fly? X-ray vision? Elbows of pure iron? I’d probably be invisible, so I could go and listen to some of Fergie’s team talks.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done when drunk? I don’t get drunk.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you? To sign her chest.

Was there an Alan Shearer tattoo on it?
No, because I never saw, because I refused to sign it.

So there might have been? I don’t know.

We can’t rule it out, Alan. Now, on an unrelated matter, have you ever seen a ghost?

Do you believe in the existence of ghosts?

Do you believe in life beyond earth? [Impatiently] I don’t know what I believe in. I try not to think about it. I don’t want to think about it.

Alan, can you tell us a joke? Yeah, your questions.

Bye Alan, it’s been bliss. Bye.

Love me pre-match meal. Chicken and beans. Always chicken and beans.

Won the league. Went home. Painted me fence. Creosoted it actually.

Prick had 2 chances to do that without being invisible.

It’s hilarious how angry the droll cunt gets at even slightly off the wall questions. A big bowl of peas Alan?

Sid Waddell’s (the real one) Small Talk interview is legendary. You can find them all through that link.