Alan Shearer reveals his top five favourite football venues
From Anfield to the Velodrome
With Wayne Rooney making his final appearance for England at Wembley this week, we asked former England captain Alan Shearer where the national stadium stood in his list of all-time favourite footballing venues, and which other stadia did he most enjoy playing at.
In no particular order, here is Al’s top five:
St James’ Park, Newcastle
It was always my dream to play and score at St James’ Park after standing on the terraces for so many years supporting Newcastle.
I wanted to be the one scoring the goals that got the supporters cheering.
I watched it grow from a capacity of 36,000 to 52,500, and to score my record-breaking goal in front of the Gallowgate End was a fairytale ending to my career that even I never dreamed of or could have imagined.
The old Wembley – for England not Newcastle! – held some fantastic memories for me.
Again, as a kid I watched it on TV and dreamed of one day playing under the famous Wembley arches.
To captain my country there was the ultimate honour, and the greatest atmosphere I ever played in front of was in Euro ‘96, during the unforgettable 4-1 win over Holland.
San Siro, Milan
In 2003, 14,000 Newcastle fans travelled to Milan to watch us play Inter in the Champions League.
The atmosphere in the San Siro that night was simply electric. We twice took the lead – I scored both – and although we were eventually pegged back to 2-2, it was a night that the fans who were there will never forget.
We were in Europe, in the Champions League, and boy did the toon army show up for that one! Simply an amazing night.
I stood on the Kop watching Liverpool in an FA Cup tie with my uncle when I was about 9 years old and I always remembered the energy and atmosphere of the kop.
Unlike most other grounds where you got hammered or abused as a player, I always felt Anfield respected a good footballer and so always enjoyed playing there.
I will never forget the atmosphere that day as a kid, and always enjoyed going back as a player. It remains a special place for me as we won the title there with Blackburn with King Kenny – a Liverpool legend of course – as our boss.
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
It was 1998 and the opening game in the World Cup, England versus Tunisia.
It was my first World Cup, and to walk out as captain of your country in a World Cup match, I don’t think there is a better feeling as a footballer.
We won 2-0 and I scored the opener with a header from a cross from Graeme Le Saux. What a feeling!
I played there again in the UEFA Cup for Newcastle v Marseille – this time I was on the losing side but it was memorable as a young Didier Drogba was starting to make his impact in the game.
The Marseille fans always generated a brilliant atmosphere.