Alan Shearer is profoundly remembered for his days at Newcastle United and although the Englishman spent considerably longer at the Magpies, his days at Blackburn cannot be forgotten. In a four-season period which began in 1992 and culminated in 1996, Shearer scored an unbelievable 112 league goals – a tally which seems to be beyond the realm of anyone. Amidst this stretch came the 1994/95 season in which he produced a season of jaw-dropping brilliance.
The season is remembered mainly for the triumph of his Blackburn Rovers side, but his individual heroics deserve to be taken note of. The emergence of the Premier League in 1992 saw Shearer take part in 21 games for the Rovers, managing a respectable 16 goals. The next season, he went to the next level and managed 31 goals in 40 appearances. Yet he continued to improve and the following season was a memorable one with the striker notching up 34 league goals and playing a pivotal part in his clubs league triumph.
Although his season was remarkable, Shearer’s heroics would not have been possible without his partnership with Chris Sutton. The duo scored 61.25% of Blackburn’s goals in the 1994/95 season and their formidable partnership was unstoppable.
Sutton’s arrival from Norwich City meant that Shearer’s link-up play blossomed. That was to go along with his precise finishing, burgeoning strength, and impeccable positioning. He was a defensive nightmare and the classic ‘risen hand’ celebration was becoming too common a sight at Premier League grounds.
Shearer scored clinical hat-tricks against West Ham, Ipswich Town, and QPR during the 94/95 season and the vast majority of his goals picked up vital points for his side. He netted crucial goals in wins over Coventry, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea which led Blackburn to Premier League success, in the end winning the league by just one point. The PFA recognised Shearer as the Player of the Year that season, and the award was richly deserved.
Individual exploits aside, one disappointment of Shearer’s career has been the lack of trophies. Surprisingly, he won just one major trophy in his time, which was the league title in 1994/95 – further enhancing the status of that season.
Going into the last day of the 94/95 season, Manchester United were two points behind Blackburn. When Shearer scored at Anfield and United conceded at Upton Park, all seemed to be going well for Kenny Dalglish and co. But Liverpool equalised, and so did United, which certainly put the cat among the pigeons. United pushed for a winner yet the West Ham goalkeeper, Ludo Miklosko, produced some heroic saves to spoil the day. Although Jamie Redknapp scored a late winner against the Rovers, United’s draw meant Blackburn were champions and Shearer received the winners’ medal he had craved.
There are some who think that the lack of flair or trophies puts Shearer behind the likes of Luis Suarez or Thierry Henry. But his simplicity and straightforward approach should not undermine just how good he was in putting the ball in the net.
In Premier League history, only nine players have ever scored 30 goals in a season. No one has done it twice or even three times, apart from Alan Shearer. It has to be noted that two of these seasons were 42 game seasons yet this feat is still extraordinary.
Shearer once said, “Football’s not just about scoring goals – it’s about winning.” However, Shearer did it all and his Premier League goal tally of 260 will be incredibly difficult to match.