Date:Wednesday April 20 2011
So Michael Owen was surprised at his reception and hits out at Newcastle supporters. TOTT looks back at his time at St James`.
Let`s just have a look at what Owen said on his Twitter pages:
"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."
OK, Michael, come on and tell us the facts. You are not shy as far as the media are concerned, and have had your own columns in the past. Having picked up £25m in wages, please come clean and tell us what our hard earned income went towards, after all, it is the supporters who have paid for your comfortable lifestyle.
"From what most of you Newcastle fans are saying you should be pleased I left the club! If i (sic) had known that earlier I could have left sooner!"
It isn`t that you left, Michael, it was the manner in which you did. By the way, had you left sooner, how much would it have cost you? The "loyalty" bonus must have been in the millions, surely?
"For the record, I tried my best in every game for Newcastle. Under KK I played well and i'll never forget the 2 I scored against Sunderland."
Thanks for reminding us. Keegan was indeed the manager for around 8 months, including the summer break. Wasn`t it a 4 year contract? What about under Souness, Roeder, Allardyce, Hughton, Kinnear and Shearer?
"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!!!"
The last half year of your contract, it is clear that you were not being booed by your family. Your body language on the field oozed the fact that you "couldn`t care less".
Perhaps we need a reminder about Owen`s time at Newcastle.
An estimated 25,000 Geordies turned up to welcome the record signing on record wages. His career started well, 7 goals in 10 games including a "perfect" hat trick away at West Ham, who were then managed by the current Newcastle boss. Nobody questions his unfortunate injury which kept him out for a large part of that season.
What did cause some upset was his comeback at the end of the season, shortly before the World Cup. Owen may have forgotten that he did make a comeback against Birmingham City, but with the club needing a win in the last match of the season against Chelsea to qualify for Europe, Owen declared himself unavailable as Bramble scored the winning goal, only to re-appear a few days later to join up with the England squad. It seemed clear that his priorities were not to those who paid his modest wage.
The World Cup deprived Newcastle of ostensibly the prized asset, for most of the next season, managing 3 games and 1 goal, following which 7 out of his next 14 games just happened to be for the national side.
So on to his last season. It started well enough with goals despite being on the losing side. A new contract was offered prior to the visit to Portsmouth, with Owen scoring a daring goal against the onrushing England keeper, David James, to set up a 3-0 win. After that match Owen let it be known that he would not be signing the contract until he had reviewed his situation t the end of the season, but that the contract would be honoured, including presumably the "loyalty" bonus.
The last 17 games saw him score one solitary goal. His body language was evident to supporters. It might have been evident to his then manager too, former England strike partner Alan Shearer. This would explain why he started on the bench at the season`s end.
Owen`s time at Newcastle did see goals. He left with a record, however, of not scoring against a top four side, being outscored on that front by 6th choice striker Ameobi and fellow free signing Lovenkrands.
The parting shots from Owen were complaints about supporters who questioned his aerial activity, in a helicopter, not in the opposition box. This was at a time that he had accepted a lesser contract from Manchester United, under Premier League rules half his wages being paid by Newcastle United. This would surely have been a time that he could let Newcastle supporters "know the facts".
So why the boos, Michael? There may be a false perception that you put country above the club and supporters, as evidenced by the withdrawal from a crucial match before joining up with England. It may be that your body language was misinterpreted, and that 1 goal in 17 games was an anomaly in your career rather than symptomatic of a lack of effort. It could be that you were misreported in criticizing us after you left. It could even be that despite £25m which funded your stables and Spanish theme park project that you were barely seen serving the community which paid your wages.
Those of us in the world outside the rarefied atmosphere of Premier League and international football expect to put in hard work for our wages. We expect to provide good service for our customers and our employers. Geordies are passionate people, committed to what we do and totally unfairly expect the same from others.
It's nice to hear via Twitter that "I was desperate to score" last night. Perhaps had you been "desperate to score" in your last 17 appearances for us, we might not have been relegated.
Maybe, Michael, having been highly paid from an early age you don`t understand the thoughts of working people. Hopefully this response will help.
Date:Wednesday April 20 2011
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