Athletic journalist George Caulkin dropped a bombshell on Twitter this week when he claimed that England legend Alan Shearer was close to joining Leeds United.
He made the claim after a fan asked whether Shearer would have left Newcastle had his side beaten Sunderland in August 1999.
Shearer was infamously left on the bench for the game by then-manager Ruud Gullit.
Kieron Dyer gave Newcastle the lead but second-half goals from Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips sunk the home side and saved Shearer’s career in the north-east.
On his personal Twitter account, Caulkin was asked if Shearer would have left had Newcastle won that night.
Caulkin replied saying, “He says so in our piece, yes. Gullit says he thinks he (Gullit) would have stayed. [Kieron] Dyer says he thinks Shearer would have joined Leeds. No record goalscorer, no statue…”
He says so in our piece, yes. Gullit says he thinks he (Gullit) would have stayed. Dyer says he thinks Shearer would have joined Leeds. No record goalscorer, no statue …
— George Caulkin (@GeorgeCaulkin) May 22, 2020
Wow, this is a real case of what might have been and it shows a real sliding doors moment for the England striker.
Newcastle lost the infamous game with their bitter rivals and Gullit resigned three days later, just five games into the 1999/2000 season.
Shearer went on to enjoy his joint-best season for Newcastle with 23 goals in 37 Premier League games.
In total, he scored 183 goals in 375 games for Newcastle and as Caulkin says, got a statue outside the club.
Shearer was still banging in the goals in the 2005/2006 season, after Leeds had been relegated from the top-flight.
Newcastle ended in 11th in the 99/00 season, with Leeds in third, albeit a long way back from winners Man United.
It does make you wonder what would have happened had England’s best striker come to Elland Road.
In other Leeds United news, ‘It’s a disgrace’ – Simon Jordan slams Project Restart decision that could be big blow for Leeds