Ex-Rovers star admits he thought Alan Shearer signing was a 'waste of money'

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Alan Shearer celebrating winning the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers in 1996. Inset is former Rovers team-mate Mark Atkins
Alan Shearer celebrating winning the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers in 1996. Inset is former Rovers team-mate Mark Atkins

A FORMER Blackburn Rovers star has admitted he thought legendary striker, Alan Shearer, was a "waste of money" when he first joined the squad.

Speaking on the Under The Cosh podcast, former Rovers central midfielder Mark Atkins revealed all about Shearer and the first impression he made on the other players when he signed at Ewood Park in 1992.

Shearer, who joined Blackburn Rovers for a then English transfer record of £3.6 million, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in Premier League history and is the league's all-time record goalscorer.

However, Mark, who played more than 250 games for Rovers, said Shearer played “awfully” during his first ever game in Scotland.

Speaking on the podcast, Mark said: “As soon as Shearer came in he changed everything – he was just unbelievable.

"But I couldn’t tell this straight away.

“He came in the middle of pre-season. On one of his first days we went to play Hibernian up in Scotland. He played the first [half] and he was awful.

“We were looking at each other thinking ‘what the hell have we done here'?”

Mark said he also struggled with training and was one of the worst runners on the squad.

Lancashire Telegraph: Alan Shearer
Lancashire Telegraph: Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer

“He was the worst trainer if you’re doing physical work.

“We had two days a week where we were doing weights and one, if we didn’t have a game, where we did fitness session.

“Shearer was always at the back. He could do it but he couldn’t get his head around running and he was the worst.

“But as soon as you put a ball at his feet that was it was totally different. He was unbelievable.

“He's an absolutely different class to anything I’d ever seen. He could smack a ball anywhere and he was quick.”

Mark said his opinions on Shearer really started to shift in the first game of the season at Crystal Palace.

He said: “After that game we were thinking, ‘We’ve got a player here. We’ve got a chance'.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Atkins on the Under The Cosh podcast. (Credit: YouTube/Under The Cosh_
Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Atkins on the Under The Cosh podcast. (Credit: YouTube/Under The Cosh_

Mark Atkins on the Under The Cosh podcast. (Credit: YouTube/Under The Cosh_

Blackburn Rovers paid £3.6m to bring Alan Shearer to Ewood Park from Southampton, and Mark said Shearer was earning around £10,000 a week compared to his salary, which was around £1,000 a week, large sums of money in the early 1990s.

One of the podcast hosts asked why he didn’t he sign for Manchester United or Liverpool before coming to Blackburn.

Mark said: “I think one of the reasons why he didn’t he sign to Manchester United or Liverpool before coming to Blackburn was because manager Kenny Dalglish was his hero… maybe the £10,000 a week might have helped as well when I am sat there with a grand.

“[It didn’t annoy the other players] because he was that good and he deserved it. He was unbelievable.”

Shearer scored 34 goals in the 1994-95 season leading Rovers to their third top flight title and only Premier League title. He moved to his boyhood club, Newcastle United, in 1996 for a then-world record breaking £15 million, where he spent the rest of his career.

You can listen to the full Under The Cosh podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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