He’s a player whose pedigree is wholly at a higher level, an established Football League pro. No doubt he could have got himself a spot as a reserve keeper in League One or League Two last Summer if he’d wanted to.
I know the financial situations are different, but it’s the sort of decision you often see made at higher levels of the game, where a goalkeeper decides to sit on the bench and make some easy money; there’s a tradition in Italy of keepers doing exactly that, and as there are no reserve teams in Serie A it’s not unusal for a guy to make a handsome sum just for training!
However, Shearer is straighter than that and didn’t take the easy option. Although reports suggested his confidence had been tested at Wycombe, he chose to come to us as a first choice keeper and prove his worth. Sadly, things just didn’t work out for him.
Unfortunately for Shearer, the circumstantial evidence stacks up against him. He certainly didn’t convince in either of those two heavy defeats at the start of the season, and the stats are damning; they are the only two instances in the last year and a half we’ve conceded three goals in a game.
It would be unfair to lay the blame solely at his door, particularly at Forest Green, where although he looked shaky in the air and help to create a sense of unease in the back four with some of his decision-making, you couldn’t point the finger at him for any of the goals he conceded.
Worse was to come for him though. No one who was at Eastbourne could have forgotten the remarkably public dressing down he got from Marvin Andrews. I’m not saying it wasn’t necessary. Andrews, making his debut and seeing our defence for the first time, realised something had to be done, and lectured Shearer on his indecisive decision-making. It needed to be said, and might well have been the turning point of our season as he forced us to face up to reality and sort ourselves out. However, Shearer’s confidence might well have been the necessary victim of Andrews’ reality check.
Straight after that match came the Kidderminster game in which Shearer became a target for harsh criticism from some fans. He showed character to fight back from that, but the die was cast. Never mind being a Football League back-up: soon he would be a Conference benchwarmer.
Another statistic is rather damning; we’ve conceded goals this season twice as often when he’s in goal compared to when Chris Maxwell’s between the sticks.
Maybe the poor bloke was on a hiding to nothing; after all, Maxwell has earned a lot of goodwill from Wrexham fans and most of us wanted to see him start the season as first choice. Shearer’s decision to take him on for his place was, perhaps, always destined to end in failure.