Newcastle United hero Les Ferdinand opens up on handing over the No 9 to Alan Shearer

Back in the summer of 1996 Alan Shearer was probably the most feared striker in all of Europe.

Having just helped his nation to the semi finals of Euro 96, netting five goals in the process, Shearer was being touted for a move to Bobby Robson's Barcelona and Alex Ferguson's Manchester United when Kevin Keegan and boyhood heroes Newcastle United came calling.

The Magpies broke all transfer records - domestic, European and global - to bring the Geordie boy home, splashing out £15million to snatch him from Blackburn Rovers.

But United already had Les Ferdinand on their books, who'd bagged 25 league goals on his debut season at St James's Park.

Could they play together? Many so called experts believed they could not. But Keegan thought differently.

In an exclusive interview with Mark Carruthers of Made in Tyne & Wear's Football Matters, Ferdinand reveals the moment Keegan told him Shearer was going to be signed. And he opens up about the conversation which resulted in him giving up the famous No 9 for Shearer.

Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer celebrate scoring against Blackburn Rovers.

Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer celebrate scoring against Blackburn Rovers.

*For more of this interview see tonight's Football Matters tonight at 9:30pm on Freeview channel 7.

The episode is replayed on Thursday at 8pm and Saturday at 12.30am.