Date: 27th October 2006 at 1:03pm
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Sunderland chairman Nial Quinn was the first player in the north-east to hand over his testimonial money to charity, and ex-Toon skipper Alan Shearer followed suit. And the Newcastle legend coaxed the Prime Minister last to hand over the cheque for £1.64 million to worthy causes.

Tony Blair described the 36-year-old as ‘the best’. Shearer donated the proceeds of his testimonial fund to 14 local charities.

Blair: ‘We would all like to play football like someone, but this guy was just the best. It’s a tremendous honour for me to come along and participate in what is an act of generosity from a man who is remarkable. The pressures and the rewards of being at the top of football are tremendous, but not everyone puts something back in. But he has.’