NEWCASTLE: Alan Shearer insisted that he'd fulfilled his dream after confirming that he had brought forward his retirement from professional football.
The 35-year-old former England striker had been due to bow out at the end of the current season.
But Shearer suffered a knee ligament injury in Newcastle's 4-1 derby win at Sunderland on April 17 which ruled him out of the rest of the current campaign.
Shearer scored 206 goals for Newcastle and in February broke United legend Jackie Milburn's club record of 200. His final goal was a penalty in the victory away to Sunderland.
Many times Shearer, whose lone honour was the 1994/95 Premier League winners medal he received while at Blackburn Rovers, was often asked if he had any regrets in joining hometown club Newcastle instead of Manchester United when he quit Rovers 10 years ago.
But despite a decade without any silverware at St James' Park, Shearer insisted he has no regrets.
I expect a few people not to believe me but it is the truth, he said.
When I was a young lad I wanted to play for Newcastle, wear the number nine shirt and score goals. I've fulfilled my dream and I'm lucky to have done that, he added.
Shearer was in the Newcastle dug-out during Saturday's 3-0 win over West Brom at St James' but briefly emerged in the 75th minute to a huge ovation from the 52,272 crowd.
It was a tremendous cheer and I'm very proud and very honoured, said Shearer.
I just hope now we can finish it (the season) off in a bit of style. If we finish off by qualifying for Europe that would be a great send off for me.
Meanwhile he admitted it felt strange to be retired.
My little lad said this morning, 'when are you going to the match dad? Why aren't you having your pre-match meal Dad?'
And I realised I have had my last pre-match meal. I came into the ground and had pie and chips for a change.
Newcastle caretaker boss Glenn Roeder said that Shearer, his assistant since February following the sacking of Graeme Souness, had refused to let a mood of despondency infect the rest of the team.
Do you know why there wasn't too much of an air of depression around the place?, Roeder said. Because Alan Shearer wouldn't let there be one.
Alan Shearer is not walking around here with his head down. Did you see him on the bench? He was smiling and enjoying himself.
I said to him on Friday, 'I hope you realise - if your playing career is over - that the season hasn't ended for you. You have got to go back to your day job, which is getting in that dug-out with the other coaching staff and watching the game'.
And he added that Shearer was destined for a career in management. Ultimately, even though he might have a year out, 18 months out, he will manage, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, West Brom manager and former England captain Bryan Robson said Shearer couldn't have chosen a more fitting finale to his playing career than the one he'd had at Sunderland.
It's good that Alan hasn't done his cruciate, Robson said. People are saying it would have been nice to see him go out on a high note towards the end of the season.
But, being a Geordie, what better way is there to go out than winning a derby 4-1 away from home and scoring a goal if that's going to be your last?
He's been a great ambassador for the game as a player and I'm sure Alan will still have a big influence in whatever role he wants to go into. AFP