World Soccer Talk sat down with English soccer legend Alan Shearer to hear his thoughts on promotion and relegation, and the role it plays in world soccer.

Legendary English footballer Alan Shearer has seen it all. From being the all-time Premier League goalscorer, as well as his playing career with Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, the legend has experienced everything the game has to offer. And that includes the agony of relegation when his Newcastle team he managed dropped out of the Premier League in 2009.

For a legend who experienced the bitterness of relegation, promotion and relegation is a fundamental element of the world’s most popular sport. With it comes a grim reality. The best teams get promoted, and the worst performing ones go down.

Alan Shearer: Promotion and relegation thoughts

“I think there has to be that fear of failure. I think that [relegation] keeps everyone going,” said Shearer, speaking to World Soccer Talk. “The excitement of success, also.

“That’s one of the great things about our leagues and the Premier League is that if you’re not playing well, if you don’t do things right, then you have to face the consequences. And relegation does that. I think that’s hugely important.

“You need competition. What’s the point in having it if you don’t get punished.”

Ex-Chelsea defender Gary Cahill’s thoughts on pro/rel

World Soccer Talk also sat down with former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill to get his thoughts on promotion and relegation.

“As a neutral or from a fan point of view, I think [promotion and relegation] adds to the excitement. There’s always the business end of the season towards the end. There’s always big important games, and twists and turns.

“Ultimately, it’s sad for the teams that go down, of course, but it’s part and parcel in England of football.

“I do see that in America [with no promotion and relegation] it’s slightly strange because I’ve grown up in England. Promotion and relegation has always been a big thing.

“In the Championship, I was fortunate enough to spend my last year in Bournemouth where we were fighting for promotion. From the start of the season, that was the main aim of the football club. I enjoyed it because it gave me that drive and pressure to achieve what you want to achieve, to win something.

And now that they’re in the Premier League, even though they’re finding it tough at the moment, they’re playing where they want to play through promotion.”

Photo: IMAGO / Geoff Martin