Singapore group wants Shearer in charge: report

LONDON • Alan Shearer did not cover himself in glory the last and only time he was in the dugout, failing to save Newcastle from relegation as they went down in the 2008-09 English Premier League season.

The former England and Newcastle striker was the interim manager for only two months until the end of that campaign and has not been in any coaching capacity since, working as a TV pundit instead.

But Shearer has reportedly been tapped to be Newcastle boss, this time on a full-time basis, if the takeover by Bellagraph Nova Group goes through.

Singaporean entrepreneurs Terence Loh and Nelson Loh, alongside China-born Evangeline Shen, are the co-founders of the Paris-based firm, which is said to be worth an estimated US$12 billion (S$15.6 billion).

The group, which spans over 30 entities across 100 countries in fields like finance, sports, healthcare, luxury goods, entertainment and robotics, is in negotiations to buy out Newcastle, following the collapse of a Saudi Arabia-led £300 million (S$538.2 million) offer last month.

According to a Sunday report by British tabloid The Sun, Bellagraph Nova wants Shearer - the club's record scorer with 206 goals - to take up the hot seat at St James' Park. A source said: "We have offered Alan the manager's position, or whatever he would like to do in the club. He has already accepted to work with us if our takeover goes through."

While the 50-year-old did not comment on the speculation, local daily The Chronicle yesterday said that it is "unlikely he would take the role", given his friendship with current Magpies manager Steve Bruce.

Shearer is not the only one Bellagraph Nova has identified to take up a leading role should the bid be accepted, with the Chronicle yesterday reporting it intends to make Shen its chairman.

However, it added the group and current owner Mike Ashley remain apart on the selling price, with the Sports Direct founder sticking to his £350 million valuation.

If the bid gets the green light, the Lohs will be the first Singaporeans to own an English top-flight club.

  • $16b 
    Net worth (US$12 billion) of the Bellagraph Nova Group.

  • Buying out the Magpies

  • OCTOBER 2017

    Owner Mike Ashley officially puts Newcastle up for sale, 10 years after buying the club.

    OCTOBER 2018

    British financier Amanda Staveley walks away from a potential deal with Ashley.

    MARCH 2020

    Staveley, alongside Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and British property billionaire brothers, David and Simon Reuben, announce a proposed takeover for £350 million (S$627.1 million).

    JULY 2020

    The consortium's bid collapses after it declines to take up the Premier League's offer of independent arbitration to decide the club's owner.

    AUGUST 2020

    The Singapore-backed Bellagraph Nova Group, whose website reveals a net worth of $15.6 billion, reveals it is in advanced talks with Newcastle over a takeover.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore group wants Shearer in charge: report'. Subscribe