The man who burst onto the scene at Liverpool as a seventeen year old in 1996 and then the world stage with that fantastic goal against Argentina in the World Cup of 1998, has had a miserable time of it with injuries and faces being released by United at the end of the season after playing just twenty-eight Premier League games in two injury hit years. In fact, after playing two hundred and sixteen league games for Liverpool in eight years, he has played just one hundred and thirty-five times in the seven years since at three different clubs.
Tuesday’s short cameo was just Owen’s eighth Premier League appearance this season and it came against one of his former clubs. Owen was disrespectfully booed by the Newcastle fans when he came on and he used twitter to express his disappointment about that.
“Got a poor reception off the home fans which was disappointing. Was desperate to score! Knew I would get booed as that’s what a lot of fans do but if they knew the facts then they may have a different opinion.”
Owen spent four years at Newcastle and although he found the net thirty times for them he only managed to play seventy-nine games and couldn’t stop them being relegated out of the Premier League in 2009.
“From what most of you Newcastle fans are saying you should be pleased I left the club! If i had known that earlier I could have left sooner! For the record, I tried my best in every game for Newcastle. Under Kevin Keegan I played well and i’ll never forget the two goals I scored against Sunderland in 2008. When I meet Newcastle or Liverpool fans they all respect what I’ve done for their clubs. In stadiums it changes, one boos and the rest follow. By the way, im not looking for sympathy. As long as my family don’t boo me when I walk through the door I couldn’t care less!!!”
After complaining about the crowds reaction, journalist Oliver Holt challenged Owen to explain ‘the facts’ that Owen had said the Newcastle fans should know. Owen didn’t answer that question but then entered a fascinating discussion with the journalist.
The exchange is replicated here in full, and is taken from the BBC.
Holt: “Honest question then Michael: why don’t you tell them the facts?”
Owen: “I try to answer most questions Ollie but can’t be arsed being a back page story so some things don’t need to be said!”
Holt: “Fair enough, Michael. But I think sometimes if fans and journalists knew facts, there would be more sympathy with players.”
Owen: “Fair point. The relationship between players and media is poor and needs improving as the people who suffer are fans.”
Holt: “Probably worse now between media and players than back in 97-98 when you burst on to scene. More contact then, I think.”
Owen: “If papers printed what is actually said then i think players would talk to you more openly. I know I would.”
Holt: “You have spent a lot of your career writing for our newspapers, though Michael, both tabloids and broadsheets.”
Owen: “It’s the sensationalising of headlines that annoys most players. It makes us look like clowns when most lads are normal.”
Holt: “Headlines are a problem for a lot of writers, too. Comes down to trusting a journalist to look after you, I suppose.”
Owen: “But I made sure I had headline approval! My point is, the articles are fine, it’s the headlines that make us look stupid.”
Holt: “Agreed. Think we are at a point where writers need to fight for right headline to ensure bit of trust with player spoken to”
Owen: “And there is my point. The trust just isn’t there hence the relationship between players and journalists is non existent.”
Holt: “Players and media stuck in bad cycle now. Understand why trust has broken down but less contact is making things worse. Part of problem is no contact. Gary Neville said journos should stay in England hotel so we’d have to face you after bad piece.”
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