Shearer snubs Stadium of Light

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MAGPIES legend Alan Shearer has decided to Toon-down the chance to take part in a football first at the Stadium of Light.

The 41-year-old player-turned-TV-pundit, who spent 10 years playing for his hometown club Newcastle United, could have featured as a guest on Football Focus, which will be broadcast live from Sunderland AFC for the first time.

But when Dan Walker, host of the popular BBC1 lunchtime show, asked the Geordie if he was keen, he joked: “No thanks”.

Instead, former Black Cats star Michael Gray will join ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown and commentator Guy Mowbray for the programme tomorrow.

“We’ve done about 20 to 25 of these shows on the road, but this is the first time we’ve been to the Stadium of Light,” said Dan. “It’s always good to get out and about.

“On last week’s show, I did ask Shearer if he would come along, but he said ‘no thanks’.”

The programme will also include interviews with Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell and Wearside-born Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, as well as South Shields MP David Miliband, who is also a non-executive vice-chairman for the Premier League club.

“It’s good to go on the road,” said Dan, a Crawley Town fan. “But we’ve also got the balance right on the show. We do try to cover as much ground as possible.

“We’ll be discussing the resignation of the England manager as well as covering the other games in the Premier League.”

However, the success of new Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill will also be a hot topic of discussion.

“It’s incredible what he’s done,” added Dan. “I’ve spoken to people who have worked with him in the past, such as Robbie Savage, and they all say there is no one quite like him. He can inspire everyone around him.”

Football Focus will be shown tomorrow at 12.15pm on BBC1.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho