Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Maddison Wants Bit of Magic

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Maddison Wants Bit of Magic

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lee Ryder

Neil Maddison says that only the magic of the FA Cup could throw up a farewell performance for Alan Shearer against his first club Southampton.

Shearer's ex-Saints team-mate Maddison admits he will be tuned into Match of the Day tomorrow night, but also revealed that the moment the fifth round tie was drawn he thought of the Newcastle United skipper.

He said: "It will be a special game and it is fitting really that Alan will get a final chance to play against his old club, but that's the FA Cup for you, isn't it?"

Maddison (pictured) also feels the game will provoke memories of when he and a young Shearer boarded the train for Southampton to begin their education in professional football in the mid-1980s.

Both Maddison and Shearer broke through the youth ranks together at Saints' old home, The Dell, but a reminder of Tyneside was never too far away with the Geordie tones of junior coach Dave Merrington a daily fixture in the pair's training routine on the South Coast.

Darlington-born Maddison said today: "I suppose going all of the way down there helped us grow up as men but there were still some tough times for myself and Alan.

"It was at the beginning really and I remember we got two weeks off for Christmas in our first season.

"After spending two weeks at home with your friends and family it was hard to go back but we both managed to get through it.

"When we first went down there, I didn't really settle with the family who were looking after me and I ended up moving in with the same family as Alan in the end.

"We both settled in well eventually and it probably laid the foundations for our careers."

Shearer may have finally came home back in 1996 for a record-breaking pounds 15m via Blackburn Rovers, Ewood Park and a Premiership title win, yet Maddison reckons there was a time when they both could have been donning the black and white stripes of United as opposed to the red and white of Southampton.

He added: "Newcastle looked at us both at a time when United thought they had the North-East sewn up in terms of the talent in that generation.

"I remember getting a signed rosette from the club with Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle's autographs on but, to be honest, I think myself and Alan had already decided to sign for Southampton. …

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