The news was announced yesterday, but the rumours were flying around the day before. What with that being 1 April, you'd have been forgiven for thinking someone was pulling your leg. The former Newcastle striker may be worshipped by the fans, but he has no managerial experience - and little time to learn. Newcastle are in the Premiership's bottom three, with just eight games to go to avoid relegation. Owner Mike Ashley has clearly made a last desperate hoof of the ball by turning to the fans' favourite.
Shearer follows Kevin Keegan (another Toon Army fave) and the veteran Joe Kinnear, who has had to be pensioned off at least until the end of the season due to heart problems. If Newcastle fail to stay in the Premiership, the fans will be baying for Ashley's blood, and even the mighty Shearer's lustre will have faded.
Maybe Ashley's gamble is based on sound business thinking. He had no experience when he left school at 16 in 1980 - now he's a billionaire. But Ashley, like fellow self-made men Sir Philip Green and Sir Richard Branson, is a gregarious risk-taker and natural businessman. Shearer, meanwhile, hardly oozes excitement. Anyone who's seen him on Match of the Day will know him as dependable, but hardly possessed of the inspiration and vigour required to light a firework under a bunch of de-motivated footballers. Indeed, we wonder whether he'll soon be urging his multimillion pound squad onto his famous pre-match diet of chicken and baked beans.
That said, novice managers are much more common in football than in business, and the appointments can sometimes work. Kenny Dalglish won the championship and FA Cup in his first season as Liverpool manager, despite being one of the most reserved men in the sport. And can Shearer really do worse than his predecessors? Perhaps he does have a chance, after all.