Alan Shearer on playing for his club - Newcastle United


"It was my dream to play here, once I'd been here in this stadium, I didn't really have a choice. I was born in Newcastle, I had to play for Newcastle, I had to support Newcastle; so to walk out here for the very first time on my debut for Newcastle against Wimbledon - scored at the Leazes End with a free-kick - that feeling was just, my dream had come true.

"I was here for 10 years as a player - scored some decent goals. Probably the best goal of my career here, the volley against Everton at the Gallowgate but the biggest and best feeling, and the most important goal was when I broke Jackie Milburn's record. Jackie Milburn was one of my dad's heroes, and that record stood for so long, so for me, a scruffy kid from Gosforth who was brought up in a two-three bedroom council house, it was just a dream. It was an incredible feeling and the hairs on the back of my neck were still stood up so 10-15 minutes later when the crowd were still singing my name.

"I'm biased because I'm from here and this is my football club and always will be, I was an extremely lucky boy to have played here and worn the number nine shirt for ten years. There is something very different, and unique about the number nine shirt. Forget about me, but the players before me who have worn that shirt, it's a special and big thing to have.

"When things are going very well for you, you can hear everything and you're full of confidence. We always used to prefer shooting down the hill - so shooting towards the Gallowgate End in the second half, so they can roar us on. But teams coming here also know that if they keep it quiet for the first 20-25 minutes then it is a small part of their job done because you could always feel a little bit of frustration from the fans if we didn't get on top of the game early. But it was always our job to do that and to entertain the fans - and we felt the need to do that. But once you're doing well, once you're winning, this crowd is electric - it is incredible.

"It's very easy to play football when you're winning - a lot easier to play football when you're winning and you're full of confidence. You find out your characters when you're not winning, when you're one or two down, when the crowd is moaning, groaning and sometimes booing - you find out your characters who are prepared to say 'no, give me the ball. I am not frightened to make a mistake in front of 50,000. I don't care if I can hear they're moaning or groaning and that is how you find out who your characters are.

"You don't always hear their fans! They're stuck right up there with the gods. I suppose it's the bigger clubs or the derbies that you play; the number of times that we played Sunderland, not such good memories sometimes! That dugout, there's a lovely picture of me when Ruud Gullit left me out, when I was stood behind him on that night when it was pouring with rain, and Sunderland beat us. Manchester United always brought thousand of fans because of who they are and what they achieved, and the size of their football club - it was always great to come here and play against them. Liverpool was exactly the same.

"It's been tough for the supporters over the last few years to see what is going on but I still get the buzz whenever I drive past here, whenever I come to a match because we're fans, and we just want our football club to do well and we want to come here and cheer our club on."

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