Football: Happy Shearer ready to stay

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ALAN SHEARER has reaffirmed his future with Newcastle United after talks with his manager, Ruud Gullit.

Aston Villa had been linked with a move for the England captain after Gullit said he would be prepared to leave him out of the side if it suited either the club or the player. The Independent Newcastle United Supporters' Association pleaded for Shearer to make it clear he was staying at St James' Park.

"If I comment on speculation every time it is written, I would be in the press all the time and I would rather concentrate on preparing for my football," Shearer said on the eve of the club's European Cup-Winners' Cup first round, first leg against Partizan Belgrade. "However, because the fans have specifically asked, I can say that I've spoken with the chairman [Freddy Shepherd] and the manager and they have told me that they see me as an important part of Newcastle's future.

"The manager feels that my strength is scoring goals but he realises that I am the type of striker who needs service. I have no doubt that the manager came here to win things, just as I did."

Gullit was delighted by Shearer's comments, but as far as the Dutchman was concerned the matter had been dealt with at the weekend when he publicly backed the striker.

Gullit said: "It was already at an end when I said it last Saturday but I have the feeling people were thinking on behalf of me or something like that."

He added: "He was happy before the [Southampton] game and his attitude could be seen out on the pitch. So that didn't change even when there was certain speculation."

John Spencer, Howard Kendall's last buy, is ready to leave Everton because he feels he was insulted by the chairman, Peter Johnson. The Scottish striker is furious at Johnson's statements about him and other signings in a controversial club EGM speech.

Spencer led the protests to the manager, Walter Smith, after an angry players' meeting. The former Queen's Park Rangers striker is unhappy about playing for Johnson's club and was left off the bench for Tuesday's match against Huddersfield.

At the EGM, Johnson said: "Just before Howard left he paid out pounds 1.6m on John Spencer. Doesn't that say it all?"

Sheffield United's chairman, Mike McDonald, is considering a possible takeover of the club. McDonald is looking at offers from three consortiums after rejecting a bid from a director, Kevin McCabe.