Keegan's mobile phone rings

Diary of a superdeal
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The Independent Online
27 June The morning after England's Euro 96 exit, Manchester United bid pounds 12m for Alan Shearer. Blackburn Rovers reject it.

5 July Newcastle United lodge their interest with a pounds 10m bid, which is also turned down.

9 July Shearer is listed in Manchester United's party for a flight to Milan for a pre-season friendly against Internazionale. The hoax causes red faces all round. An employee of Travel Management, the company arranging the trip, is suspended.

17 July Blackburn, having issued repeated "hands off" warnings, fax a pounds 4m bid to Old Trafford for Eric Cantona. "It is not for us to question other clubs' motives," Manchester United's assistant secretary, Ken Ramsden, says.

18 July Shearer returns to his Formby home following a holiday in the Bahamas. He says he wants to meet the Blackburn chairman Robert Coar to discuss the newspaper speculation about his career.

21 July Shearer meets Coar in Birmingham and agrees to travel to Jersey to resolve his future with Blackburn's benefactor Jack Walker.

24 July Newcastle beat a Blyth Spartans and Gateshead XI 6-0 at St James' Park and Kevin Keegan tells the press: "We're always looking for players but I'd be quite happy to go into the new season with the squad I've got. I watched the European Championships and no one leapt out and said, 'You've got to buy me.' "

25 July Shearer and Coar fly to Jersey to see Walker and the player makes clear his wish to talk to Newcastle.

26 July Keegan's mobile phone rings as he prepares to board a flight from Heathrow to Bangkok. The Newcastle squad depart without him.

27 July Shearer informs the Blackburn manager Ray Harford of his decision to leave. Alex Ferguson, on tour with Manchester United in Ireland, says he has given up hope of signing Shearer.

28 July Walker travels to Lancashire and, after failing to persuade Shearer to change his mind, accepts Newcastle's pounds 15m bid. Keegan departs for Bangkok.

29 July Keegan announces the deal. "This is the big one," he says. Shearer says his farewells at Blackburn's training ground and heads to Newcastle for a medical examination.

30 July Shearer flies to Singapore to join his new team-mates on the second leg of their Far East tour.

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