Alan Shearer is warming to a theme; the failings at boardroom level of his former club.
"They were the guys who were making big noises about big-name players coming in and where they wanted to finish when they bought the club," he says. "But for a while we haven't seen or heard from them. They have left the manager out there on his own."
No, not Newcastle, for them, the praise is fulsome. The criticism is for Blackburn, the team he led to their first title in 81 years in 1995.
The two sides – "they are chalk and cheese at the moment" – meet in the FA Cup today. There is genuine delight for the progress inspired by Alan Pardew. And then there is despair and disgust at the hatred Steve Kean has faced at his other club, and the turmoil that threatens the club's future in a division they won 17 years ago.
"I thought it was incredible against Bolton," he adds. "I know football is a passionate game and everything that goes with it. When you win games you feel on top of the world, when you lose games you seem to be everyone's enemy, especially when you lose a derby game at home. But I don't think we should ever forget that the guy is a human being.
"I was saddened and shocked to see the abuse and the criticism he was getting. It isn't right when that is happening, to see the fans' hatred and anger towards one man standing on the touchline. I was delighted to see him do so well at Anfield and Old Trafford, giving him a little bit of breathing space. It was Sod's Law that they put in two great performances and then lost at home when for the first time in a while they are probably expected to go and win, so it's a different kind of pressure."
We are sat in the reception area of a Tyneside hotel, Shearer in jeans, white shirt and a grey jumper. He still looks as if he could crack Per Mertesacker in two. He is revered in these parts, returning each polite smile from passing strangers, declining the hotel manager's offer to move to a quiet room as a giant Christmas tree is dismantled.
"It's a hard one for him because he is having to front it up himself," Shearer continues. "There is no one else coming out and saying anything. Where are these guys? They were fine when they bought the club and the expectations they were setting themselves. They were in front of the TV every day and now you never see them when they should be taking a little bit of flak as well. Steve Kean can never come out and say it, can he? But I bet he probably thinks he could do with a bit of help from those guys.
"It does hurt me to see the position Blackburn are in. I would rather they were in the top half of the table. It's a lovely football club and I had great times there, obviously. It was a big chunk of my career and it was successful. It's not nice seeing them where they are and it's not nice for Steve where they are; he would rather they were in the top half as well."
Still, neither Kean's plight, nor his own brief experience at Newcastle two-and-a-half years ago has completely killed the management bug for Shearer. It is something he is understandably reluctant to talk about in great detail. There remains, all these years after that debut hat-trick for Southampton as a 17-year-old (he is still the youngest player to have completed such a feat) the Shearer way, a desire to do it right, to do it properly.
He bridles at talk of Kean's position. "I wouldn't answer a question about the Blackburn job when there is a guy in the job and he's working his socks off. I will never ever get involved in that kind of thing. I wish him well and I hope he turns it round from the position they're in."
He only adds this on management: "I got a taste for it, yeah. I loved it. I loved every challenge that every day brought to me. I loved the adrenalin rush again. If I get that back, I couldn't tell you. Do I want it? If the right one was to come along I do, yeah. I'm not being picky or choosy but if the chance of being half successful came, then yes. But I don't want people thinking, 'Who does he think he is?' If the right one came, then great."
It is almost six years now since Shearer kicked his last ball in English football, limping off at the Stadium of Light, after having scored his 206th goal for Newastle, with a medial knee ligament injury that would not heal before his final season had finished. By then he had become Newcastle's all-time record goalscorer, having broken Jackie Milburn's record of 200 against Portsmouth that same season. At Blackburn he scored 130 goals in 171 matches, including a staggering 112 goals in 138 Premier League games. For three seasons running he was almost unplayable, passing 30 goals each time, a record that still stands.
When the final whistle blew at the Emirates seven days ago, Robin van Persie had fallen one goal short in his bid to score 36 goals in a calendar year. From 1 January to the final day in December, the Arsenal forward had similarly wreaked havoc among some of the world's best defenders. Not enough to catch Shearer, though – to the Geordie's obvious, mischievous delight.
"I didn't even know there was a record for goals in a calendar year," he adds. "I always worked on seasons until someone said it two or three weeks ago. I wasn't even aware of it. I don't think many others were. But I wouldn't want to lie to you and say I wasn't quietly pleased he didn't break it!"
Van Persie, he admits is among the three players in England who most lift him off his Match of the Day studio seat (Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale are the other two).
"He's had a magnificent season and it's the run of games. No one has ever doubted his ability, it's been the run of games that he's been able to put together. I don't think it's a coincidence that the older you get, the more you know about your body and the more you know what you can and can't do and what you don't want to do.
"That comes with experience of saying to the manager, 'I'm not able to do that today,' or 'I don't want to do that today'. I don't know whether that has happened with Van Persie or not, but that was certainly the case with me. The older I got the more understanding I got about what I could or couldn't do, and what you need and don't need to do.
"I used to hate training on a Monday morning after a Saturday game. That's when I was more stiff, rather than the Sunday. When you're a young lad it's difficult to say that to the manager; the more experience you get, the more you can say these things. That is probably what he has done and he is reaping the benefit.
"Someone said to me I was the first person to score 30 goals or more in three seasons running. Maybe he can aim for that one now. It has been a good year for him.
"Yeah, I look back and I am immensely proud of what I achieved. I suppose those records are now there for someone else to go and break. The biggest thing you miss is the 90 minutes of adrenalin rush. All the emotions you go through; the scoring of goals or the missing of chances, the frustrations of it, the excitement of it and the dressing room, and you miss the craic every day with the guys. I don't miss someone telling me what to do or what to eat or where to be. I don't miss all that, but I do miss the rush."
Shearer acknowledges life has been good to him, that he loves his job at the BBC, plays enough golf to be frustrated at his lack of improvement and, with two or three family holidays a year, is luckier than most. And yet, as FA Cup weekend brings fresh optimism to most cities, certainly to Newcastle, where they have not won a domestic trophy since 1955, does he regret that his goals, blood, sweat and career-threatening injuries did not bring an end to that sequence?
"Would I give up 50 goals for an FA Cup medal? I wouldn't change anything that happened. I had serious injuries – if I could, I would change them; but the decision-making, as in coming back to Newcastle, if everything was in the same position, I would do exactly the same again.
"I had 10 incredible years here. What I've got here at Newcastle is unique and I'm very proud of it. This will always be home. It's where I was born, where my son was born. It will always be home.
"To people outside the North-east, I can't really put into words what my goals for Newcastle mean to me. It's very difficult. I went home and I went to the club I supported. People understand that up here because they know what football means to them. It's a one-club city and it's about how much the club means. It's funny, you get criticised these days for having no loyalty and I came home and I stayed here for 10 years. Sometimes you can't win in football, can you?"
Today, at St James' Park, Shearer's two former clubs meet in the third round of the Cup. Survival amid huge acrimony is the target for one, a surprise push for a European place for the other. Shearer has huge praise for Newcastle's revival and there's little doubt who he'll be supporting.
"It is chalk and cheese between Newcastle and Blackburn," he says. "Newcastle have had an incredible first half of the season. I don't think anyone ever imagined that would happen. They've had a magnificent start. They sold Andy Carroll for £35m and they got a free transfer in, Demba Ba, and it's been a great bit of business.
"They've got in some good players. Yohan Cabaye has been fantastic. Fabricio Coloccini has been immense at the back. Tim Krul has had a great season up to now. There is a good spine there and I don't see any reason why it should tail off. I look at the rest of the Premier League and apart from the top six, who are really in a different league to everyone else, seventh is not beyond them.
"You say 'This year might be our turn in the FA Cup' every year. We still hope and dream – that's what football's all about, isn't it? Newcastle, Aston Villa and Everton haven't got a chance of winning the league, but they might win the Cup.
"My testimonial was an incredible night. The atmosphere will live with me for ever. I've never seen anything like it and I maybe never will again. We will if we are to win something. That is a taste of what it would be like. We can all sit and dream, can't we? We've done it for long enough as Newcastle fans.
"It'll always be 'we', without a doubt. Newcastle is my team, whatever happens."
Suarez ban can be the making of deputy Carroll
Alan Shearer believes the eight-game suspension handed out to Luis Suarez could prove to be the making of Andy Carroll.
Carroll has still to discover the goalscoring form that persuaded Liverpool to pay £35m this time last year, but Shearer believes regular starts will unlock his ability.
"He might get the chance with Suarez out now for eight games," he said. "It looks like he will get a prolonged run in the team and, hopefully, that will be the making of him. He will be unplayable again if you get the right balls in to him. As you saw with the header he hit the bar with against Newcastle, if you get the right balls into the box, he is very difficult to play against.
"Whenever he has scored in a game, like he did against Everton, he was left out of the next game. As a forward you need to play. You need to build your confidence up. You need to get goals. He has never really had the chance to do that.
"He can play. We've seen him at Newcastle so perhaps we know more about that. It is all about confidence. He is a quiet lad and I never had a problem when I was in there at Newcastle for eight weeks. He was fantastic."
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