Monday night saw the first of many Michael Owen quotes from his new book serialised in the Daily Mirror. As you can expect, there are some pretty explosive statements about his move to, and subsequent time at Newcastle.
The entire article starts with him saying…“My move to Newcastle was one I really regret – I should have followed my gut instincts from the start. I didn’t want to go there – my heart was still set on a return to Liverpool”
I don’t think any of this is exactly a revelation, but it still leaves a bad taste.
Talking about the days leading up to the move and signing the contract, the former injury prone striker turned clueless pundit goes on to say the following:
“Right at the beginning of the 2005/06 season in Madrid the President, Florentino Pérez, said: ‘Newcastle has made a bid in the region of sixteen million pounds. If you want to go, then you can go. If you want to stay, you can stay.”
“But I want to go to Liverpool,” I told him. ‘That’s not possible unless they match Newcastle’s offer,’ he said.
“At the time, that statement was a dagger in the heart. I was being presented with two options – neither of which I particularly fancied”
Wow. Now, I’ve always tried to follow a simple rule, I only get offended by the opinions of people I respect, and Michael Owen does not fall into that category, but this and what he has to say next has absolutely boiled my p***.
“From a career perspective, there was no doubt in my mind that a move to the North East was a downward step.
“As unpalatable as that opinion might be to Newcastle fans, that’s more or less what I felt.
“A fee was agreed. Meanwhile, Newcastle wanted to send their chairman Freddy Shepherd and the chief executive down in person to my house to sign the contract. Everything was moving unsettlingly fast.
“I was getting increasingly cold feet about the whole idea. If I was thinking only of the money, Newcastle blew everyone out of the water. That was indisputable. They were offering me a hundred and twenty grand a week.
“When they arrived at my house, I was resigned to the fact it was happening. No Newcastle fan will particularly want to hear this but, as this book is about truth, that’s the honest truth”.
Doesn’t your heart just bleed for him. This man of principle and ethics in the cold and cruel world of football talking about how he was essentially held to ransom by the money. Im sure he was all set to knuckle down and fight for his place at Real Madrid but big, bad Newcastle United came along and backed him into a corner. I’m sure it broke his heart signing a contract for so much money, becoming one of the highest paid players in the world at the time.
Of course the injury he suffered playing for England in the 2006 World Cup was horrendous, it nearly ended his career, there is no Newcastle fan who blames him for that. Nor indeed is there any Newcastle who believes in their heart of hearts that signing for Newcastle from Real Madrid isn’t a step down in some ways. Even further more none of us wouldn’t have our heads turned for £120,000 a week, mine would probably spin like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist for £120,000 a year, never mind per week.
This just shows exactly the character of the man, and how his mind are motivated by two things. Himself and money.
If Owen had been fit, played brillianty and scored goals, and been let down by the club in terms of lack of ambition and signings or such like whilst being a Newcastle player, I could maybe have understood these revelations. However when you think about former United physio’s Paul Ferris’ claims about how Owen refused to play during the relegation run in in 2007/08 for fear of getting an injury that might scupper a summer move for him. Or Owen’s own admission that he refused to play in the reserves to aid his return to full fitness when we really needed him, because he said it was more beneficial to train with top players.
In short. It was beneath him. I’ll tell you one thing, there have been better and higher paid players than Michael Owen who have played reserve team football on a come back from long term injury, out of respect for their clubs, and more importantly, love of football. Something it has become increasingly obvious he never really had.
The next few days are going to see more of these stories that just show the measure of this self absorbed charlatan and I’m sure we’ll by giving our opinions of them.
To sum up Michael Owen, he was once a genuinely world class player, one of the most exciting strikers in the world in his prime. If you talk to the fans of any of the clubs he played for at Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Man Utd and Stoke City, you will be hard pressed to find any that hold him in any kind of positive regard. That in itself tells it’s own story.