Pundits under the spotlight – What does Alan Shearer know?


The dictionary’s definition of a pundit:

1. A self appointed expert.
2. formerly a learned person.

Now we have been a focus of these self-appointed experts on many occasions and with varying degrees of opinions.

They tend to be ex-professional players, some very successful and others not quite so, ex-managers, ex-player/managers and even ex commentators who now see themselves as pundits.

Let’s have a look at the first of these experts/pundits who have done both sides of the coin and discuss their personal merits and in no particular order:

Alan Shearer CBE: A brief overview of his career:

He is the premier league’s record goal scorer and recognised as one of the best strikers in the history of the premier league.

Played for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United and received 63 full international caps for England from 1992 – 2000.

He never played in any other position except that of a striker.

Managed Newcastle United for eight games in the 2008/2009 season, in an attempt to save the club from relegation – of the eight games he was the official manager, just five points were obtained from a possible 24 – Newcastle were relegated from the top tier for the first time in 16 years.

On the disciplinary front, he received two red cards and fifty-nine yellow cards.

So, we watch this excellent player nearly every week, commenting on everything from tackles, tactics, individual players, managers/coaches, in fact, everything to do with football.


What expertise does he have in the art of defending or midfield play?

What expertise does he have in the game today and the players involved?

He tweeted in August 2018 when someone criticised his style of play the following: “Not sure if you noticed but I retired 12 years ago. The game has changed. Try and keep up.”

Never was a truer word said Alan, but here you are, giving it out to today’s players – no matter what position they play in – with the help of umpteen camera angles and slow motion – crucifying players who, in your opinion, make bad challenges and telling them how they should play the game, learn how to defend, play the midfield role and avoid the offside trap.

Interesting to note that on that final point, Keith Hackett, the then head of the Premier League referees, offered to educate Shearer in 2008, on the rules of the offside laws, after he criticised Mark Halsey for not ruling out a goal in one particular match. The decision was correct, of course.

Perhaps this is the reason that Alan finds it nigh on impossible to offer any criticism of today’s referees, especially when the mistake is glaringly obvious?

Once bitten, twice shy?

Now let’s look at his “managerial career” – short but very telling – led Newcastle to relegation in 2008/09, with five points from twenty-four – simple as that.

Yet, once again, over a decade later, he tells the world and his dog, what mistakes the current premier league managers are making, how they should be lining up at free kicks, etc, etc, etc.

Alan, if only you had done that in those eight games, back in 2008/09, when it was your responsibility to do so, your observations and critiques might hold a little more water.

It was also reported in The Guardian (25/5/2009) that Alan was to have talks with Mike Ashley over a four year deal and a £30 million kitty for transfers, to try and get Newcastle back into the top flight, while also demanding complete control of the club – no sign of lacking in confidence or not wanting the job then Alan?

If Alan was employed as a pundit with regards to forward play, comparing his time as a truly gifted and successful forward, and discussing that position versus todays vastly different role as a striker, his views would be relevant and interesting, especially if sitting next to, say, Aubameyang.

But to say the has the credentials to pass judgement on goalkeepers, defenders, midfield players and/or managers, in today’s game, while awarding him the title of “pundit” in these areas is plain silly.

A great striker, one of the very best in my opinion, wished he had played for our club, a Newcastle legend… but a legitimate pundit of today’s premier league?


If the response and interest warrant it, next on the list will be that wonderful duo, the Neville brothers.


  1. Thanks, Ken. Your points are well made and will apply to many of our current pundits. I look forward to further dissections (vivisections?!). Martin O’Neill might be one of the few who had the right credentials.

  2. Its all about the understanding of the game, not particularly on the area that one used to play on. It doesn’t mean that if Alan was a good srriker, then it means he be a good coach or pundit. Shearer, Daglish, Henry were great players, but are struggling to make it in coaching. Please dont put it as if Shearer should only understand the role of strikers only

    1. Top Gunner, I made it perfectly clear my thoughts on him as a top striker, the one position he ever played in over his illustrious career.

      Not so good as a manager though and where are the credentials for telling other football fans about defending, goalkeeping or any other position?

      It’s Pundits and their suitability to criticise others that I am trying to highlight… Alan Shearer happened to be my first choice, simply because I loved watching him play as a striker over a decade ago.

  3. Exactly
    I have been waiting for someone to print what I have been saying and thinking for many years

  4. He’s a popular football personality who is fair and forthright with his views without being annoying like some pundits. Yes there are far more experts who perhaps know more about defending than he does but hey, he’s a legend and highly watchable and in my book entirely suitable to be a pundit.
    Now Mcmanaman and Carragher, they are two extremely annoying Pundits who both sound like cat claws on a blackboard.

  5. It’s a mute point, because one could pick apart every pundit. E.g. Should Gary Neville be allowed to give his opinion on relegation battles/getting relegated, when he was only ever involved at the other end of the table?

    Also, the majority of players only ever play in one or two positions anyway, so I don’t think bringing up his position is fair. Unless you want a minimum of 11 pundits per show, so you can properly discuss every position?

    I actually don’t mind him. I think it boils down to: Knowledge, experience, and are they entertaining?

    1. 👍 ThirdManJW, let’s face it someone has to do the job as a football pundit and Alan Shearer is more qualified than most. Very few players, particularly those who play at the top level, ever get the opportunity to play every position. However in response to Ken, I believe a top quality centre forward like Shearer, would understand the pros and cons of defending to outwit his opponents.
      To be honest Ken, could any manager have saved Newcastle United from relegation at that stage of the season in 2008/9? If Shearer had been successful he would have earnt more money as a manager than he would as a pundit.
      The pundits I have the biggest issues with are those who openly let their home club bias influence their comments. A good pundit should be even handed and they are in short supply. I personally like Steve Nichol, who although he won everything with Liverpool, is fair and knowledgible in his comments.

  6. I can’t listen to shearer when he opens his mouth ,he is so bloody boring and he has the biggest chip on his shoulder when it comes to Arsenal ,he’s still upset that Henry is regarded as the best player in premiership history ,just watch the bbc episode when he and a few others had to pick the best player in the league .
    The blokes a bellend end of .
    Good read once again Ken

    1. Two great replies, showing both ends of the debate… thanks.

      Of course, one of their. functions is to be entertaining and the replies so far, just show how different they are individually viewed – I love watching the 70s games, when it was the commentators job to be entertaining of course.

  7. Brilliant read, Ken….bang on once again!!
    Can’t wait for the Nevilles 😄

    He was brilliant, no two ways about it…but as a pundit, I do find him really boring – just like his celebration 😄 I tend to switch off when he’s harping on….

  8. Pundits are the high level garbage of English football. Pure garbage. Everytime I hear Caragher talk I throw up.

  9. I hope you put one out on Tony Adams as well, though an Arsenal legend but a very poor pundit. Especially judging by his latest comments on ozil

  10. As Gary Neville once said “do you need to be a chef to know good food” ??
    I recall rednapp talking over gullitt, souness et Al and had same thoughts.
    His employers however seem to view it differently so ??

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs