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Big Al set for monument-al tribute.

Byline: LEE RYDER

EXCITING plans are understood to be in place for the unveiling of an Alan Shearer statue on St James' Boulevard. The Chronicle can reveal the fitting tribute to Shearer will be in place in time for next summer, when the Olympic football tournament comes to St James' Park. The development also comes at a time with fans still seething after a name-changing exercise was announced by the club last week.

Olympic chiefs have already ruled the stadium must retain its original non-commercialised name for the tournament, and the addition of the Shearer statue in time for the festivities will also add to the feel-good factor as thousands of football fans descend on Gallowgate.

A life-size statue of both Shearer and Jackie Milburn is planned with local sculptor Tom Maley thought to be in talks with Newcastle City Council and Nexus, who operate St James' Metro station behind the Gallowgate End.

Maley has previously developed a Wor Jackie statue and the project has gathered support from Newcastle fans who discussed the work at a recent NUFC Fans United meeting.

Shearer, of course, netted 206 goals for the Magpies in 10 years at St James' Park and nudged past Milburn in the club's top scorer chart.

NORTHERN Ireland Under-21 manager Steve Beaglehole believes Shane Ferguson was never tempted to switch allegiance to the Republic of Ireland, despite failing to respond to senior call-ups by former boss Nigel Worthington.

Newcastle star Ferguson is in Beaglehole's squad to face Serbia tonight in a Euro 2013 qualifier in Coleraine, providing further evidence of his commitment to Northern Ireland.

Defender Ferguson has already earned a senior cap, in a friendly against Italy two years ago, but is not yet tied to the country as it was not a competitive international.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2011
Words:302
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