Alan Shearer, Newcastle manager
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Sebastien Bassong gives fascinating insight into working under Newcastle manager Alan Shearer

| 20.05.2022

In the second part of our exclusive interview with Sebastien Bassong, the former Tottenham defender told us about his time at Newcastle under manager Alan Shearer.

Click on the link to read the first part in which he talks mainly about Spurs and their hopes of finishing in the top four on the final weekend of the season.

Magpies a massive draw for Shearer

Alan came in and took the job on for one reason and one reason only – because it was Newcastle. There was an emotional attachment there, so he felt as though he had to give something back to the club.

Working under Alan was incredible. Look, he wasn’t the best tactician, but his aura, his presence – honestly, I’ve never seen that in a manager before, ever. When the man walked into the dressing room and began speaking, whoever you were – and we had a Ballon d’Or winner in the dressing room – you just shut up and you just listened. That’s something special he had. He didn’t need to force anything. He could gather people round and speak from his heart, and we all took it in. Iain Dowie took care of the tactics, but Alan was a manager…he was a proper manager.

I loved it, because I know how Alan is. He’s very rough, he’s a fighter, a warrior, he’s passionate – I think that’s what he liked about me. We got along very well. He’d train with us, he’d elbow me, I’d elbow him, we wouldn’t give each other a moment of rest… this is in training! I loved that because I learnt so much in that short period of time. I always judge a manager on what I’ve learnt from him, and Alan taught me a lot about passion… that word was him in a nutshell.

Alan Shearer, Sebastien Bassong

We knew that it was going to be a difficult task when he came in and took over, but it was doable. Alan wouldn’t talk much. He gave us our responsibilities and expected us to deliver for him. We were all adults and we knew what we had to do. The one thing he demanded from all of us players was that we gave our best, every single time we put that Newcastle United shirt on. He wouldn’t accept anything less. It was all about the fans, for him. He kept telling us the fans deserved our everything, and that we’d earn their respect if we gave them that as a bare minimum.

He was very comforting when we went down; obviously there were a lot of emotions in that dressing room on that day when we knew we were going down, but the overriding one was just pure sadness. On top of everything on the pitch, things weren’t going well at all off it, either. When the head of an institution is not handling things properly, you’re only going to go in one direction. The team was impacted very heavily as a result of many decisions throughout that season. We played under four different managers. You can’t play with fire like that and not get burnt.

It’s taken a long time for the club to recover from that whole phase

I’ll be honest with you. I was going to stay at Newcastle in the Championship under one condition: Alan had to stay in charge. We sat down and spoke about our futures and he didn’t know whether or not he was going to carry on. I said “boss, if you stay, I’m staying”, because I knew we would go straight back up under him. I was feeling great working with him, I was comfortable, I was happy.

It was only ever going to be Newcastle though when it came to Alan and management – I saw him more as a saviour than a manager, and I really would’ve stayed with the club if he’d have stuck around for one season in the Championship.

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Alex Apati

Alex has been with the Ladbrokes PR team since 2017 having previously worked for the news department. From sparring with Peter Fury to talking interviews on the Duke and Duchess' baby names, he's covered a range of sports and novelty events.

A frustrated West Brom fan who is no stranger to an oche, Alex is originally from Dudley, although he's worked hard to rid himself of the Black Country twang.