Newcastle fans have spent years, unsuccessfully, trying to convince the rest of the footballing nation that their expectations aren't unrealistic, their demands aren't astronomical, and their grasp on reality is firmly intact. However, the names "Kevin Keegan" or "Alan Shearer" knock them sidewards. Just at the mention of the names, a little fire is lit briefly inside a Geordie's stomach, that is immediately doused when the current league table is remembered.
Shearer and Keegan are revered because they offered so much more than the average Newcastle fan had any right to expect. They offered the very real threat of bringing success to the club. In the main, the Toon Army expects passion and commitment, with a bit of flair to liven things up, but in reality, success isn't at the top of their season expectations.
So what can Shearer do? He can bring the boost any new manager gets from his players for the first few games. He can bring belief back to the Gallowgate and fans back to the ground. But the $64,000 question is, can he bring points? Points are, after all, critical right now to the Geordies. He'll hopefully bring unity for a bit, but with Joe Kinnear's reaction believed to begin with "F...." that remains to be seen.
Shearer cant lose. Its nigh' on being an impossible situation, and the fact he's taking it on, is credit to his love for the club. As a manager, he'll learn from it, and as a pundit, his reputation wont be diminished, no matter the outcome.
This season looks like it will begin with Keegan and end with Shearer. Ironically, escaping relegation from this position would definitely count as success. The last few months could make this Newcastle's best season of recent times. There's only one Alan Shearer, but maybe two messiahs?