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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Shearer joins 300 club
Alan Shearer
Shearer usually has something to celebrate

Alan Shearer's critics might have expected the Newcastle striker to fade away after his decision to quit the England scene.

Shearer's impressive international career ended on a low as England failed to make it through to the second stage of Euro 2000.

But he returned to club duty with an undiminished appetite for goals, and how Newcastle have profited.

  English football's top marksmen
301 A Shearer (Newcastle)
296 T Sheringham (Tottenham)
243 D Bergkamp (Arsenal)
232 A Cole (Blackburn)
230 A Payton (Blackpool)
229 B Taylor (WBA)
225 S Goater (Man City)
220 S McCarthy (Exeter)

After scoring his 100th Newcastle goal last November, Shearer went on to net his 200th Premiership strike in a 3-0 win against Charlton in April.

The 32-year-old became the only active player in England's top four divisions to reach 300 career goals by scoring against Blackburn.

Just for good measure, Shearer made it 301 goals by hitting the target twice at Ewood Park.

Shearer's former England strike partner Teddy Sheringham is just behind him on 296, but his goals were not all achieved in the top flight.

Shearer was in a hurry from the very start of his career, scoring a hat-trick on his debut for Southampton as a 17-year-old against Arsenal.

He joined Blackburn for a British record 3.6m in 1992 and went on to help Rovers win the title for the first time in 81 years.

He moved on to Newcastle for 15m in 1996, having become the only player in English football to score 30 or more goals in three consecutive seasons.

  Most top-flight goals
357 Jimmy Greaves
317 Stephen Bloomer
310 'Dixie' Dean
287 Gordon Hodgson
257 Charlie Buchan

Despite a couple of serious injury setbacks, Shearer has kept the Magpies going with a constant supply of goals.

And the next target in his unerring sights is 250 top-flight goals.

He needs just 17 more to reach a milestone achieved by just six other players - and none in the last 30 years.

And who would bet against him collecting the 17 he needs to do so before the season is out?

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Newcastle's Alan Shearer
"I'm enjoying playing as much as ever"
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