Iain Dowie has praised Alan Shearer's bravery in launching his managerial career in the midst of a full-blown crisis.
Shearer's decision to answer Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's SOS call for eight crucial games - and, he insists, no more - finally saw him make the step up almost three years after hanging up his boots.
He could hardly have taken the plunge at a more challenging time but Dowie said: "Alan's never been shy of a challenge, and that does say something about him."
He added: "It would have been very easy for Alan, with the career he's had, to have stayed out of it until it was a better opportunity.
"I think he's shown good courage to come in at this time and put his reputation on the line. That's what he's about.
"I have always felt he would be a manager, and a very good one. This is a special draw for him and he can't resist that draw.
"In my opinion, it's one of the big six clubs and should be challenging in the top half of the Premier League.
"That's a pipe dream for the future, but there's no question this club is crying out for success.
"Both Alan and I are very passionate people. I'm a passionate coach, and Alan knows that. People will see that we care."
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