Pleat: "Put The Blaim On Freddy's Door!"

Last updated : 02 January 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

Former Tottenham manager David Pleat believes Shearer can no longer be considered anywhere near the force he once was in the Premiership, yet Newcastle will look to him for goals more than ever in the coming months after Michael Owen's metatarsal injury.

Pleat, who considers Shearer past his prime, feels manager Graeme Souness is showing too much loyalty to the former England captain. And he also hit out at "the Top Man" ... Freddy Shepherd.

Pleat: "There is no question they have got problems. I don't think Alan Shearer can do it consistently at all. He is 35, not 25, and it is unfair to expect it of him but they have this aura about Shearer where they have to play him. He is not able to produce it, particularly away from home and several games a week is too much for him. He is finding it hard.

"Shearer at half pace will still score goals but (you wonder) if they have lowered their standards for what is required. Certain parts of the team look uncoordinated. The centre-backs are getting some stick and don't look happy bunnies playing in partnership.

"Their recruitment policy has not been good. If your recruitment is poor and you make too many mistakes you are on a slope. Jean-Alain Boumsong is a very good example of that. Here is a player who was offered for nothing from France. He went to Rangers for nothing and they have paid £7million or £8million for him and the guy has had a poor time consistently.

"Football is big business now, and there is no bigger business than Newcastle United with their fanatical following, but every business is about people and it's about the leaders. If you look at the top clubs - Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal - you have stability at the top. I include Manchester United because the Glazers have steadied things down now.

"You haven't got that at Newcastle. Before you talk about Graeme Souness and his position or the playing strength you have to look at the top man."