After Newcastle’s feeble showing at Oxford United, Alan Shearer said that his old club, as well as others, were ‘cheating fans’ when putting out reserve teams for FA Cup matches.
The NUFC legend talking on BBC Sport (see below) and saying that Rafa Benitez had let the fans down when putting such a weakened team out, with nine changes.
Whilst those initial comments were about the impact on supporters, Alan Shearer has now followed that up with claims that fielding much-changed teams in the cups can also be detrimental to results when playing league football once again.
To back this up, the former number nine used three prime examples in the past week.
Playing weakened teams doing Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United no good, with the Gooners losing badly at home to Watford, Spurs a disappointing draw at the Mackems, whilst Newcastle deserved nothing more than a 2-2 draw after a disjointed display at home to lowly QPR.
Shearer is incredulous that now ‘We have the best diets, training grounds, pitches and physios today’ and yet can’t play as many matches as in the past.
The former Newcastle striker blaming this in part for now ‘bringing kids through who have a softer mentality’, who now come into football with the belief that they can’t play three games in a week.
It’s true as well that many fans, especially younger ones, are also now brainwashed into just accepting the numerous changes for cup matches and many even thinking it is a good thing!
Alan Shearer talking to Coral – Friday 3 February:
“When you look at all the clubs who rested players in the FA Cup last weekend, was it really worth it?
“Tottenham hardly played any of their first-team regulars against Wycombe. They were very lucky to win that game but then they were poor against Sunderland.
“Arsenal made wholesale changes against Southampton and although they won that comfortably (against an unrecognisable Southampton line-up) they were hopeless against Watford.
“Newcastle made nine changes against Oxford where they got beaten and then were really poor at home to QPR.
“It is no wonder we are bringing kids through who have a softer mentality now. From a young age they are seeing it and hearing it on TV that a top player can’t play three times a week, so when they get to eighteen they have the mentality that they can’t do it.
“We have the best diets, training grounds, pitches and physios today. Everything is so far advanced it is incredible. Surely we should be able to play more football matches?
“20 years ago we didn’t have any of the sports science back up and yet we played a lot more with seemingly no more incidence of injury . It just does not make sense to me.”
Alan Shearer talking on BBC Sport – Sunday 29 January:
“It (playing weakened FA Cup elevens) shows that clubs care about money whereas fans care about trophies and that’s very very unfortunate.
“I don’t get and never have done, the resting of players.
“Yeah I think they (clubs like Newcastle who make so many changes) are cheating the fans.
“Newcastle fans travelled 250 miles down to Oxford yesterday expecting their team to win and he (Rafa Benitez) puts a weakened team out.
“They have got one of the biggest and best teams on the championship, they are six points clear with a game in hand from third, so it’s again very very disappointing.”