FORMER Blackburn Rovers striker Alan Shearer has been confirmed as manager of Newcastle United for the remaining eight games of the season.

Reports first emerged late on Tuesday night that the 38-year-old would fill the void created by Joe Kinnear's absence as he recovers from heart surgery.

Chris Hughton has been in charge of team affairs at the relegation-threatened club since early February, but has been unable to stop a slide in fortunes which began when Kevin Keegan left in September.

Shearer's appointment was finally confirmed on Wednesday night, after 24 hours of reports, and he will be unveiled to the media after taking training for the first time today.

The Magpies sit third from bottom and two points from safety in the Barclays Premier League and face a tough run of fixtures in their fight to avoid the drop, with Guus Hiddink's Chelsea visiting St James' Park on Saturday.

Former England captain Shearer has made little secret of his desire to turn to management one day, and set about attaining his coaching badges while carrying out the media work which has kept him in touch with the game since his retirement three years ago.

He has on more than one occasion distanced himself from the job at Newcastle, which has become available at depressingly regular intervals over the last few years.

It is understood he was keen when Sam Allardyce was relieved of his duties in January last year, but was considered too inexperienced, and he was inevitably linked with it once again when the former Bolton boss' successor, Keegan, sensationally quit in September.

But with the club in complete disarray on and off the field, the time may now be right to launch his managerial career.

Club legends to successfully return as managers

  • Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool 85-91: Three league titles, two FA Cups)
  • Rinus Michels (Ajax 65-71: Four league titles, European Cup)
  • Bob Paisley (Liverpool 74-83: Six league titles, three European Cups).

And those who failed

  • Ossie Ardiles (Tottenham 93-94)
  • Graeme Souness (Liverpool 91-94)