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Alan Shearer


Shearer met Paul Gascoigne at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre before one of Gazza’s solo talkshows
Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home
Date: Sunday, 7 June Time: 22:30-23:30 BST, BBC One and BBC iPlayer

This article was originally published in June 2016 to coincide with the first screening of Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home. The programme is being shown again on Sunday, 7 June on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 22:30 BST as part of BBC Sport’s Euros Rewind programming throughout June.

I listened to the ‘Three Lions’ song quite a few times while I was making my documentary about Euro 96, but not as often as I did during the tournament itself.

Paul Gascoigne used to wake us all up every morning at England’s team hotel by opening his bedroom window and playing it on his CD player at full blast.

I am not sure the other guests appreciated it as much as we did, but we could always rely on Gazza to keep us entertained.

He is not just my old team-mate; he is my friend and he was the first player I went to meet when I began putting the programme together at the end of November 2015.

It was great to see him in such good form, looking well and laughing and joking.

As I expected, he had some classic stories about Euro 96, including some other tales of what he got up to at the hotel and also how he did not let some of the Scotland players forget the spectacular goal he scored against them at Wembley.

Paul Gascoigne’s sublime Euro ’96 goal against Scotland

That moment – and our famous “dentist’s chair” celebration when I squirted water down his throat – was one of the three things that came up with everyone I met up with to talk about the tournament’s 20th anniversary.

The others were our 4-1 win over the Netherlands and the “Three Lions” song, which seemed to have been the soundtrack to everyone’s summer, not just us England players.

‘We were under pressure at the start’

The England team that faced Switzerland in their opening match of Euro ’96 – back row: Paul Ince, Darren Anderton, Gareth Southgate, Steve McManaman, Teddy Sheringham, David Seaman, Alan Shearer. Front row: Paul Gascoigne, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Stuart Pearce

Euro 96 does not feel like 20 years ago, but it has been great to look back at it all and remember how the momentum built and built until it felt like the whole country was behind us.

Things were very different when the tournament started. There had been some incidents during our Far East tour a couple of weeks earlier that saw us heavily criticised by the media – including the original “dentist’s chair” escapade in a Hong Kong nightclub.

So we were under pressure because of that, and also because of the expectation on us to perform well on our own patch.

Personally, I had something to prove. I ended up as top scorer at Euro 96 and it was the defining moment in my England career but I had not scored an international goal in 12 matches over 21 months before the tournament started.

However, the manager, Terry Venables, did not stop believing in me, and he was the same with every player in his squad.

People remember the great team spirit that England side had, and Terry’s man-management skills were a big reason for that.

From manager to hotelier – Venables was England boss from 1994 to 1996 but now owns a hotel on the edge of the Font Roja National Park in Spain

I went over to Spain to speak to him for the documentary – he and his wife run a little boutique hotel near Alicante so he spends half the year over there.

It was great to catch up. He looks back at Euro 96 as the best time of his managerial career – which says a lot when you consider his time at Barcelona and everything he achieved.

‘Beating the Dutch was when the euphoria kicked in’

We did not actually begin the tournament very well, drawing 1-1 with Switzerland, although I did ease some of the pressure that was on me by scoring.

Things started to go our way when we beat Scotland 2-0 but it was only after our final group game, against the Netherlands, that the euphoria really kicked in.

That night we beat the Dutch 4-1 at Wembley is probably my favourite memory of Euro 96.

It was the biggest and best atmosphere I experienced in an England shirt and it was also the most complete team performance I was part of for my country – everyone was a 10/10 that night.

I had not watched that game for a long time until I started putting the documentary together and what I did not remember was that myself and my strike partner Teddy Sheringham were both substituted with about 15 minutes to go.

We had both already scored two apiece so I reckon we could have had a hat-trick if we had been left on.

Along with Paul Ince, David Seaman and Gazza, Teddy was one of the players I met up with to reminisce – in his case over a round of golf.

Euro 96: Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham hit the golf course

But I also spoke to people who I did not encounter at the time – for example David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, who were behind the “Three Lions” song, and the BBC commentators John Motson and Barry Davies.

Motson and Davies are another reason why those England games are so fondly remembered by millions of people, not just the ones who were lucky enough to be at Wembley to see them.

But while their commentaries are part of the memory of that summer for everyone who was watching on TV, they were all new to me.

Even the videos we were shown after the matches to go through things did not have a commentary on them so I had never heard them until earlier this year. Listening to them, you realise these guys are fantastic at their job.

Comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel co-wrote ‘Three Lions’ with Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds. It topped the charts for two weeks in May and June 1996

‘No regrets – just great memories’

It was after the Netherlands match that things really went crazy, and not just because we thought we could go on and win the tournament.

I remember popping out of the team hotel the next day, and going into Burnham town centre to get my hair cut – yes, believe it or not I did have hair back then.

When I got out of the taxi, there was a kind of street party going on. I had been reading about it in the newspapers but it was different to see it for myself – that was one of the times I realised what the atmosphere was like around the entire country.

We got past Spain in the quarter-finals on penalties but, of course, our shootout defeat by Germany in the semi-finals meant the tournament did not end the way we all wanted it to.

Yes, we could have won it, and obviously I wish we had won it, but there are no regrets – there can’t be – just great memories.

Everyone I spoke to said “look, we gave it everything”. When that happens, you cannot ask for any more. It was just not meant to be.

We had a lot of fun along the way, and the whole country did too, which I think is important.

Lots of things made Euro 96 special but the overriding reason it is remembered so fondly by so many people in England is that it kind of brought football and the nation together again.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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Transfer statement signings: Robinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Shearer among top 10


When a club gets taken over by a new owner, they want to make an immediate statement of intent to their rivals. Sometimes that can be hiring a different manager, but more often than not it means splashing some cash on a star player. Here’s 10 of those signings from recent history, for better or worse.

10) Santi Cazorla, Villarreal to Malaga, 2011

In 2011, Villarreal forward Cazorla was one of the most sought-after talents in Europe, expected to join one of the established powers, and looked close to signing for Arsenal. But Malaga, having been taken over by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani the previous year, swooped instead, spending €21m on the diminutive Spaniard to make him one of 10 signings that summer, alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy, Joaquin and Julio Baptista. Cazorla only stayed for one season, in which Malaga qualified for Champions League under coach Manuel Pellegrini, before eventually joining Arsenal, but this was Malaga’s way of announcing themselves.

9) Samuel Eto’o, Inter Milan to Anzhi Makhachkala, 2011

These days, the whole Anzhi Makhachkala thing feels like a weird fever dream, but back in 2011 it was very real as Suleyman Kerimov took the Russian club over and spent money like it was going to run out. The first few big signings were pretty impressive — an ageing Roberto Carlos, Yuri Zhirkov, Anderlecht winger Mbark Boussoufa — but in August 2011 they managed a genuinely jaw-dropping coup. Eto’o was only a year removed from winning his second Treble in two years with Barcelona, then Inter, but when a contract with ‘€20m a year’ written on it was put in front of him, the Cameroon striker understandably signed it. It was a statement, but one that didn’t last too long: by 2013 budgets had been slashed, Eto’o had gone and Anzhi went back to being a modest club not in Europe’s elite.

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8) Ronaldinho, PSG to Barcelona, 2003

Joan Laporta’s Barcelona presidential campaign in 2003 was actually centred around a promise to sign David Beckham from Manchester United. Beckham headed to Real Madrid instead, but their second choice didn’t turn out too badly either. Ronaldinho, who had burned his bridges at PSG, looked like he would sign for United that summer, but Barca gazumped them with a €30m move and he went on to be the man Lionel Messi credits as the catalyst behind the club’s revival. He won two FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a Ballon d’Or during his time there.

7) Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan to PSG, 2012

You could argue that Qatar Sports Investment’s big statement signing was actually in 2011 as they paid Palermo north of €45m for Javier Pastore, one of Europe’s most in demand players, in their first year as PSG owners. But the second year was when the big stuff really happened: in one summer they recruited Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti and Ezequiel Lavezzi, but most importantly for the headlines was Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede was the sign they were serious and he went on to play four seasons and score 156 goals in Paris.

6) Claude Makelele, Real Madrid to Chelsea, 2003

When Roman Abramovich arrived from virtually nowhere and bought Chelsea in the summer of 2003, they sprayed cash all over the place, recruiting young English talent (Joe Cole, Glen Johnson), young European talent (Adrian Mutu) and a couple of big names that other clubs wanted rid of (Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron). But the one that really signalled they were serious players was Claude Makelele, the defensive midfielder who had knitted together the Galacticos of Real Madrid for the previous few years. He didn’t have a superstar’s profile, but he certainly had a superstar’s talent and set the platform for the great success that followed.

5) Robinho, Real Madrid to Manchester City, 2008

Like many statements, this one wasn’t especially well thought out. When Sheikh Mansour and what was then known as the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City in late August 2008, the transfer window was closing. But to go with their big takeover, they needed a big player, so they spent a day or two frantically dashing around trying to find a global name they could sign. They tried to hijack Manchester United’s move for Dimitar Berbatov, made offers for Valencia‘s David Villa and Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez, but eventually settled on Robinho, who was so desperate to leave Real Madrid he would have gone pretty much anywhere. He actually thought he was going to Chelsea, but City produced a British transfer record of £32.5m and he ended up there, if only for two years.

4) Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, Man United/Milan to Real Madrid, 2009

Manchester United Foundation Participant Poppy To Be Mascot For United V Liverpool
Real Madrid broke the world transfer record twice in 2009.

When Florentino Perez resigned his first term as Real Madrid president in 2006, he said the club needed a new direction. But going by his approach when he returned in 2009, he didn’t mean it. Within weeks of his return he had broken the world transfer record twice, first for Kaka (€68.5m) then Cristiano Ronaldo (€94m), later throwing in talent like Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol and Alvaro Arbeloa just for the sake of it. As ever, Perez wasn’t so much making a statement, as he was bellowing one.

3) Alan Shearer, Southampton to Blackburn Rovers, 1992

When Jack Walker took full control of Blackburn in 1991, his biggest statement was recruiting Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish as manager. But after promotion to the Premier League in 1992, breaking the British transfer record to sign Alan Shearer for £3.6m wasn’t too far behind. It was all so simple really: hire the most successful manager of the previous decade, then sign the best young striker in the country, spend a bunch more money, break the transfer record again to bring in Chris Sutton for £5m, and four years later you’re champions.

2) Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, PSV/Ajax to Milan, 1987

Silvio Berlusconi’s first season in charge of Milan was relatively low key: they finished fifth, and no big splashes were made in the transfer market. The following summer though, that all changed: Berlusconi went to the Netherlands and recruited two of the biggest talents in Europe: Marco van Basten, fresh from scoring 43 goals in a season for Ajax, and Ruud Gullit, who a year later would lift the European Championship as Dutch captain. Milan hadn’t won a trophy for nearly a decade, but this showed Berlusconi meant to change that and, along with the tactical genius of Arrigo Sacchi, they landed the 1987-88 Serie A title before claiming four more Scudetti in eight years and back-to-back European Cups.

1) Luis Figo, Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000

The biggest statement signing of them all. In fact, this was all statement. The recruitment of Figo by Perez wasn’t so much a football move as the headline of a manifesto, a €62m transfer that, like many of his others down the years, featured almost no thought as to how the player would actually fit into the team. But that barely mattered: Figo wasn’t just a huge talent, he was a symbol of Barcelona, so this move was the equivalent of taking a rival king’s flag in battle.

Perez was essentially elected as Real president on the back of an ambitious scheme to not just buy a brilliant player and make a splash in its own right, but also make his club’s most hated rivals look like idiots. In that respect at least, it worked brilliantly.

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Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast – Shearer and Wright reveal their choice of best goals


Will Ryan Giggs or Tony Yeboah make your list?

The first time volley, the overhead kick, the classic team move – these are the goals that standout in the memory, but who has scored the greatest goal of the Premier League era?

That was the subject discussed by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright on the new Match of The Day: Top 10 podcast.

Shearer and Wright each made their own lists of the top 10 goals scored in the Premier League or FA Cup since the 1992-93 season – there’s plenty of crossover on both lists and you can see all 14 goals selected by the pair below.

To hear which 10 goals Shearer and Wright both chose for their final selections, make sure you listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds. And you can make your own ranked list at the bottom of the page.

Dennis Bergkamp: Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal (Premier League)

2 March 2002

As Robert Pires fired in the pass into Dennis Bergkamp, the Dutchman spun the ball around defender Nikos Dabizas and ran around the opposite side of the defender with a pirouette before beating Shay Given.

Shearer: “No-one has ever scored a goal like that and I don’t think anyone will ever score it again. He absolutely meant it, the touch, the technique and the finish was exceptional.”

Wright: “The pass was behind him and he has to improvise, and because he was such a great technician, he scored one of the greatest goals I have ever seen. If he had a bad touch in training, everybody noticed, because he was so good.”

Paolo Di Canio: West Ham 2-1 Wimbledon (Premier League)

26 March 2000

In a London derby between West Ham and Wimbledon, the Hammers’ Trevor Sinclair floats a long ball into the box, which is acrobatically met by Paolo Di Canio. The talismanic Italian pulls off a spectacular volley with both feet off the ground.

Shearer: “We talk about watching the ball and he has hit it with his right foot with the left off the ground. To get that connection, it was was an unbelievable volley.”

Wright: “It was a goal we haven’t seen before and we have not seen it since. That is why he has to be recognised for the audacity of the goal. With the right foot you could easily get it wrong, but he adjusted himself in the air.”

Ryan Giggs: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United (FA Cup)

14 April 1999

With the semi-final poised at 1-1, and just 11 minutes of extra time remaining, Ryan Giggs took on the entire Arsenal defence, jinking past four defenders before smashing the ball past a helpless David Seaman to send his side through.

Shearer: “It is such an iconic goal with his ability and the way he runs off and celebrates.”

Wright: “It was the significance of it, and how that team refused to be beaten. Ryan Giggs came off the bench and Patrick Vieira gave the ball away, but I thought it was fine because he was still in his own half. Then he starts running and no one engages with him, and once he gets going he just gets through them. He had to go high to beat David Seaman and that is what he did. It’s arguably one of the best goals in FA Cup history.”

Thierry Henry: Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United (Premier League)

1 October 2000

With half an hour gone at Highbury, the French striker flicked the ball up on the edge of the area, swivelled and unleashed a fierce volley over Manchester United keeper Fabien Barthez.

Shearer: “You have got a split second to decide what you are going to do with the ball. You might already have a picture in your head of players to the left and the right but he flicked it up to perfection and then to get the accuracy on the swivel, it was stunning.”

Wright: “The beauty of this goal was that Gary Neville was so tight and he had to improvise like he did. It is why he is so great and why people pay their money to see him. He flicked it up and volleyed it in the corner. Magnificent.”

Vincent Kompany: Manchester City 1-0 Leicester (Premier League)

6 May 2019

With 20 minutes remaining, the score goalless and nerves jangling at Etihad Stadium, Manchester City’s inspiration came from their long-serving captain Vincent Kompany, who strode forward and let fly from 25 yards to hand the defending champions the advantage going into the final weekend of the title race with Liverpool.

Shearer: “This was about the timing of it and how they needed that piece of magic from their captain. He delivered it with a stinging shot in the top corner.”

Matt Le Tissier: Southampton 2-1 Newcastle United (Premier League)

24 October 1993

With the ball headed just behind him, Southampton’s Matt le Tissier had to improvise by flicking the ball up with his left foot, before lifting the ball over a second defender with his right and calmly slotting the ball past Mike Hooper.

Shearer: “He flicked it over one defender with his left foot and then flicked it over another defender with his right. Then to have the balance, the composure and the ability to pick his spot in the corner and slot it as coolly as he did, was sensational. There were so many things with that goal that could have gone wrong.”

Matt Le Tissier: Blackburn Rovers 3-2 Southampton (Premier League)

10 December 1994

Although Southampton lost at Ewood Park, Matt Le Tissier was at his scintillating best as he jinked one way, and then the other, before drilling the ball into the top corner from long range for his second goal of the game.

Shearer: “Whenever he scored goals like this in games, I was never surprised because I saw him do it day in day out in training while we were together at Southampton.”

Wright: “He picked the ball up in and around the centre circle. He went around two defenders so elegantly and he put it in the top corner. It was just effortless.”

Wayne Rooney: Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle (Premier League)

24 April 2005

With Man Utd behind in the game, Wayne Rooney had endured a frustrating afternoon, until he met Peter Ramage’s clearing header with a fierce volley with the outside of his right foot to beat Shay Given from 35 yards.

Shearer: “I was playing in that game. I was about 10 or 15 yards behind Wayne. I remember him shouting at the referee as he wasn’t having a great game and that ball just fell to him. It was a decent clearing header but if there was one person you didn’t want it to fall to, it was Rooney. It was an incredible goal.”

Trevor Sinclair: QPR 3-2 Barnsley (FA Cup)

25 January 1997

There seemed little danger as David Bardsley’s cross floated towards the edge of the Barnsley box in their 1997 fourth-round FA Cup tie away to QPR, but Trevor Sinclair’s 20-yard bicycle kick – audacious, acrobatic and accurate – left the Tykes’ defence in a state of disbelief.

Shearer: “He was outside the box. It was the best ever overhead kick I have seen.”

Wright: “He was on the edge of the area, in around the D, and he caught it so clean. I think it is the best overhead kick I have ever seen.”

Luis Suarez: Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United (Premier League)

4 November 2012

Liverpool were held by Newcastle, but Luis Suarez’s equaliser was a touch of class as he brilliantly controlled a long ball from Jose Enrique on his shoulder before rounding keeper Tim Krul and scoring with his third touch.

Wright: “This ball has come from 60 yards and he has controlled it on his shoulder, and in the space of two yards, he has taken it around the keeper and scored. That for me was technically superb. We are talking about a player that went on to improve Barcelona.”

Andros Townsend: Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace (Premier League)

22 December 2018

Andros Townsend smashed home a sublime 30-yard volley to help Crystal Palace cause a shock by claiming their first win at Manchester City for exactly 28 years.

Shearer: “You try these things in training and every now and then you catch one sweet. That volley from Andros was as sweet as you’re going to see. It was just the middle of the foot. Perfect.”

Wright: “The trajectory at which the ball came, for him to hit it so clean, it was perfect. It was the sweetest strike I think you will ever see. He cleansed the ball.”

Robin van Persie: Manchester United 3-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)

22 April 2013

Manchester United wrapped up a 20th league title in style as Robin van Persie scored a first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa, The pick of the three was an unstoppable left-footed volley as the Dutchman ran onto Wayne Rooney’s pip-point cross.

Shearer: “The pass from Rooney inside his own half and then the ball came over his shoulder. He was having to watch it all the way but he has also timed his run to stay onside to perfection. He has caught that volley coming over his shoulder and pinged it past the goalkeeper without bouncing.”

Wright: “For him to catch it like he did, it is exceptional technique.”

Jack Wilshere: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich City (Premier League)

19 October 2013

Jack Wilshere was the architect of a delicious opening goal against Norwich as he played a neat one-two with Santi Cazorla after picking up the ball deep inside his own half, before cleverly combining with Olivier Giroud and volleying in from close range.

Shearer: “It was a great team goal. Jack started the move inside his own half and then the passing, the movement and the way he finished it off was fantastic.”

Wright: “Arsenal have been synonymous with that kind of goal through the years. It was the type of goal I know Arsene Wenger was all about. It was beautiful to watch and I was so pleased it was Arsenal that scored that.”

Tony Yeboah: Leeds United 1-0 Liverpool (Premier League)

21 August 1995

With the second-half at Elland Road just five minutes old, Leeds took the lead through Tony Yeboah, who thundered a right-footed volley in off the crossbar, with a strike that tested the frame of the goal to its fullest.

Wright: “Leeds were an exciting team at the time. It was live on television, and the ball was coming down to him but he hit it so powerfully it went over David James and it was a beautiful strike of the foot ball.”

So you have heard what the pundits think, but what about you? Rank your top 10 goals below:

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Alan Shearer: ‘Let Premier League players decide the best way to help’


English football has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak

Not many Premier League players will need to be told to play their part in the fight against the financial effects of coronavirus.

A lot of them are high earners who should definitely contribute, but I am sure the vast majority have always been willing to help, if they haven’t already.

The biggest question for them will be ‘how?’

Their options include taking a pay cut, deferring their wages or gifting their money – but they probably don’t know which option will have the most impact in the way they want, whether that be looking after the staff at their own clubs, helping to fund the NHS or making donations to charities.

It is an incredibly complicated situation, so I think it is only right that top-flight players get advice and take their time to decide what happens next.

Players are right to ask questions

The Premier League has proposed a universal 30% pay-cut for all players, but where would that money go, exactly? Would it harm the NHS by reducing the Government’s tax income, as the Professional Footballers’ Association claims?

Of course the players are entitled to ask these kind of questions, because not only will they want to do the right thing, but they will also want their money to be used in the best possible way.

You also have to remember their wages will vary hugely, in the top flight alone.

Jordan Henderson has set up a fund for the NHS along with fellow Premier League captains

Not all Premier League players are multi-millionaires, yet they are being generalised – and, in some places, criticised – as a single group whether they are superstars or not.

From my own experiences, however, everyone will want to do their bit, whatever their circumstances.

I am sure that over the coming days and weeks we will see Premier League players donating millions of pounds to where they feel is necessary.

We have seen several of them do that already, of course – Marcus Rashford and David de Gea have got involved with charities here and abroad, and Jordan Henderson has set up a fund for the NHS.

But just because you have not read about it on social media does not mean that more individuals are not doing similar things.

Furloughing right for some clubs, but not for others

Josh Murphy: Cardiff City winger joins delivery volunteers

This is a challenging time for everyone – but across the country, and in all leagues at every level, I am proud to see that football is playing its part in different ways.

It does not surprise me because it has always been the case.

The game is an easy target because of the amount of money involved in it but so much great work is done by players, managers and clubs in their local communities and beyond, which often goes unseen.

So it is a shame to see some Premier League clubs furloughing staff, when it seems avoidable.

The scheme was not brought in to help companies who have made millions of pounds in the past few years. It was meant for smaller businesses who could go bust, and whose staff might not have a job to go back to otherwise.

Liverpool have already reversed their decision over the weekend to furlough some non-playing staff, but there are other Premier League clubs who do not come out of this too well with the decision they have made and, so far, stuck with.

What is right for Norwich, or clubs further down the pyramid who are going to struggle to survive this crisis, is not necessarily right for the so-called bigger clubs.

Despite this, many clubs are doing great things in their local communities right now and they should be applauded for that.

On top of that, we have seen the Premier League promise to advance £125m to the English Football League and National League and give £20m towards the NHS.

Football’s future is uncertain

One thing that seems certain is that this has changed the whole landscape of football, in terms of salaries and future transfer fees.

I hope that does not mean we will see some clubs going to the wall. The advance from the Premier League will, I hope, help the lower leagues survive this unprecedented period – but at the moment no-one knows when we will get back to playing again.

Football does not seem important right now, but at the same time we are all looking forward to the day it resumes again. It will be a sign that life is getting back to normal.

When it does, I hope we can get this season finished. The Premier League has said that it is going to explore every possible angle to try to complete the campaign and will only look at other options as a last resort, which at this stage is the right thing to do.

I think everyone is trying to be as committed as possible to getting the season finished at some stage, whether that is in June, July or August. I hope that will happen, even if affects the start of next season.

We have to wait until it is safe, though. And no-one has any choice but to sit tight and wait, because we are all just guessing when that might be.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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