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Michael Owen misleads BBC Sport with claims of what happened at Newcastle United – Must Read

2 weeks ago
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Michael Owen has came out with some pretty embarrassing stuff this past week.

Both in the serialisation of his book AND what he has had to say on social media and in interviews.

In the book Michael Owen said about Alan Shearer:

“He was brought in at St James’ Park as the saviour, the local boy. It could have been a great story. But he failed. Newcastle United were relegated.

“Perhaps rather than examine his own shortcomings, it felt easier to blame Michael Owen.”

Michael Owen referring to a dispute as to whether or not he was injured for the final match(es) of the 2008/09 relegation season.

Anyway, Alan Shearer reacted to the Owen quotes by referring on Twitter to an interview Michael Owen did with BT Sport in 2018 when Owen said ‘All I did for the last six, seven years of my career, I hated it. I couldn’t wait to retire for most of the back end of my career.’

Shearer:Yes, Michael, we thought that also, whilst on a £120,000 a week.”

Michael Owen then replying with:

“Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate.

“I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out.”

As people have quite rightly pointed out, Michael Owen yet again straying from the truth, it being Sir Bobby who had considered selling Alan Shearer at one point, not Shearer trying to leave.

Now on Friday, Michael Owen has hit a new low with further comments about Alan Shearer in an interview with BBC Sport’s Match of The Day (see below), sadly the clown interviewing Owen not pulling him up on what he was saying, some of it completely untrue.

Owen saying ‘And sadly from my point of view I feel that Alan blamed me for that in many ways. Even though I hardly played under his reign.’

Quite astonishing how he can make stuff up like this. As detailed below, Alan Shearer played in seven of the eight games when Alan Shearer was in charge, to say he ‘hardly played’ is simply not true. Plus the only reason he missed the other match was when he claimed he was injured and refused to play (see below).

Owen also says ‘Sadly he took over as manager and in the last game we really needed to get a result at Aston Villa and I was recovering from a groin injury. I still believe I was about a week away from playing but I said to Alan: ‘Listen, I think it’s probably best if you put me on the bench. If  you need me, throw me on. If I get injured then I’ll just stay in and around the box and hope a chance comes. Somehow he took it as that I didn’t want to play. Almost that I wasn’t prepared to risk my body just in case I got injured because then obviously at the end of that season my contract was up and I would have been available to move elsewhere.’

Michael Owen makes out like he was coming back from this really long injury whereas he’d played in all of the first six games Alan Shearer was in charge from 1 April 2009 to 3 May 2009. Only to then claim he was feeling a groin injury ahead of the second last game (Fulham at home) on 11 May 2009. Physio Paul Ferris confronting  Owen in front of witnesses with the scans showing no injury and Michael Owen telling Ferris he didn’t want to risk playing in case he got injured and it affected him getting a deal at another club in summer 2009. Michael Owen has previously said that he was going to take legal action over what Paul Ferris said in his book but now 19 months after publication, he’s done nothing.

In this interview with BBC MOTD, Michael Owen never even mentions this Fulham game that he refused to play in, he wants everybody to think it was all about the very final game at Villa, making out as though he’d been out injured for a long time, not that he’d played in all the first six of Shearer’s games then suddenly decided he didn’t want to play in the last couple. He knew he was leaving Newcastle United even if they avoided relegation.

Michael Owen claims in his MOTD interview ‘Of course there was huge disappointment that Newcastle got relegated from me.’

Well I’m sorry but Newcastle fans didn’t see much sign of that.

They saw somebody who should have been a leader and helping the team but instead was shocking in that second half of the season, including when Alan Shearer was in charge.

In the final four and a half months of that relegation season, Owen didn’t score a single goal.

When Paul Ferris came out with the revelations about Michael Owen not wanting to play in case he got injured in the final games, it simply was yet another thing  that showed he couldn’t care a less about Newcastle. Something backed up by those comments saying about how he hated those final years when he was at Newcastle and wished he’d retired, then of course something of the disgraceful comments from his book.

Sequence of events back in 2008/09 when Alan Shearer and Michael Owen were reunited at Newcastle United:

1 April 2009

Alan Shearer appointed as manager for the final eight games of the season with Newcastle deep in relegation trouble. A big part of the problem has been lack of goals and  star striker and England star Michael Owen has been questioned by Newcastle fans as to his workrate and effort, not having scored for over 11 weeks (10 January 2009 in a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham).

4 April 2009

Newcastle 0 Chelsea 2 – Michael Owen starts but fails to score.

11 April 2009 

Stoke 1 Newcastle 1 – Michael Owen starts but doesn’t score.

19 April 2009

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0 – Michael Owen starts but doesn’t score.

27 April 2009

Newcastle 0 Portsmouth 0 – Michael Owen starts but doesn’t score.

3 May 2009 

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 0 – Michael Owen dropped to the bench (saved for the last three winnable games?) and comes on for Martins in 81st minute but doesn’t score.

11 May 2009

Newcastle 3 Middlesbrough 1 – Michael Owen starts but doesn’t score.

16 May 2009 

Newcastle 0 Fulham 1 – Ahead of the game, Michael Owen claims he has a groin problem. The scans show no major issue and Paul Ferris in front of witnesses (see below) confronts Michael Owen and the conversation goes…

I spoke to Michael first. ‘In light of the clear scan results do you think you’ll be fit to play against Fulham? It’s the most important game of the season. A win might be enough for us.’

Michael placed his hand over his groin. ‘Not sure, to be honest. It doesn’t feel too bad. But I’m out of contract at the end of the season. What if I rip my groin on Saturday? I’ll not get a contract at another club if I’m injured.’

I was a little taken aback by his reply. I didn’t share his reasoning. ‘But you already have a contract, Michael. You have a career here now with us.’

24 May 2009

Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 0 – Michael Owen comes off the bench in the 67th minute but doesn’t score. Newcastle United are relegated, just one more point would have saved NUFC as they had a better goal difference than Hull in 17th who finished on 35 points compared to Newcastle on 34.

Michael Owen talking to BBC Sport Match of The Day – 6 September 2019:

“There’s quite a lot that’s made the headlines over the last couple of days but the Alan Shearer thing is one of them.

“I have been Alan’s big mate for many years, we’ve played golf together, I stayed at his house when I first moved (to Newcastle).

“He was one of the reasons I moved to Newcastle.

“I played for England with him, we were great mates.

“Sadly he took over as manager and in the last game we really needed to get a result at Aston Villa and I was recovering from a groin injury.

“I still believe I was about a week away from playing but I said to Alan: ‘Listen, I think it’s probably best if you put me on the bench. If  you need me, throw me on. If I get injured then I’ll just stay in and around the box and hope a chance comes.

“Somehow he took it as that I didn’t want to play.

“Almost that I wasn’t prepared to risk my body just in case I got injured because then obviously at the end of that season my contract was up and I would have been available to move elsewhere.

“Of course there was huge disappointment that Newcastle got relegated from me.

“And sadly from my point of view I feel that Alan blamed me for that in many ways. Even though I hardly played under his reign.

“I just felt that he sort of blamed me for that and that’s sad because as I say, we were mates for a long period of  time.

“And I’ve still go nothing against him, it’s almost him that’s got that…”

The Mag – 4 July 2018:

In his excellent autobiography which came out earlier this year, Paul Ferris confirmed what all Newcastle fans think/thought of Michael Owen.

Ferris was a physio at Newcastle United back in 2009, as Newcastle vainly fought relegation.

As Ferris’ book revealed, Michael Owen certainly wasn’t focused on that particular fight…

Former Newcastle physio (and player) Paul Ferris included this in ‘The Boy on the Shed’:

The doctor and the three physios were sitting to my right in the medical office. Opposite me sat Michael Owen. I liked Michael and regarded him as a good professional. He’d complained of a ‘feeling’ in his groin after training, ‘like it was going to go’. He’d had a career ravaged by muscle injuries so I fully understood his caution. We’d had a scan on the area and it had picked up nothing. That was good news. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a muscle tear, which would’ve ended our best striker’s season and our best hopes of scoring goals in the last two games of it. The doctor relayed the positive news to all in the room.

I spoke to Michael first. ‘In light of the clear scan results do you think you’ll be fit to play against Fulham? It’s the most important game of the season. A win might be enough for us.’

Michael placed his hand over his groin. ‘Not sure, to be honest. It doesn’t feel too bad. But I’m out of contract at the end of the season. What if I rip my groin on Saturday? I’ll not get a contract at another club if I’m injured.’

I was a little taken aback by his reply. I didn’t share his reasoning. ‘But you already have a contract, Michael. You have a career here now with us.’

He didn’t like mine either. ‘I want to speak to Alan (Shearer) about this.’

I leaned forward and pointed at my chest. ‘You’re speaking to Alan, he’s here.’

He looked behind me and pointed. ‘Is he in the cabinet?’

It was getting silly now.

Moving forward to the present day and this conversation has now taken place on Twitter on 3 July 2018:

Fan Michael Phillips writing (and showing an image of the page from Paul Ferris’ book):

“All the sharing of Michael Owen goal against Argentina in the last day or so.

“Never forget what he is, as shown by the Paul Ferris book.

“No pundits or journalists ever challenge the golden boy on this. Disgraceful.”

Another fan Jason Miller commenting:

“If it wasn’t true then Michael Owen would have had Ferris up in court for libel.”

Michael Owen replying:

“I’ll have my time very soon, don’t worry.

“And the dozens who have been led to believe this rubbish and slaughtered me for it ought to hang their heads in shame.”

It will be interesting to see what Michael Owen will do, if anything.

It seems very strange to wait five months or more to do anything, or even reply to the claims, why not back in February when the book was released?

Also, it is surely very doubtful that Paul Ferris would open himself up to any kind of legal action.

As a qualified barrister, I find it very difficult to believe, especially when it isn’t just a case of one person’s word against another, Paul Ferris saying another four people were in the room when this conversation took place.

The Twitter conversation above saw the two fans include Michael Owen so that he would see their comments on his timeline, so maybe simply a case of bravado from Owen in his reply to them.

One thing for sure anyway, whatever Michael Owen does or doesn’t do, it won’t change one little bit most Newcastle fans’ opinion of a player who was an absolute disgrace at NUFC, only one person should be hanging his head in shame.

Back on 21 February 2018 an article on The Mag came up with these timeline ‘highlights’ of the depressing ‘contribution’ Michael Owen made to Newcastle United…

24 August 2005 Michael Owen signs for Newcastle United, a club record fee of £16m, receiving a reported £110,000 per week (£5.5m per year, plus bonuses…)

22 December 2008 (After only 47 Premier League starts in three and a half years and around £20m in wages so far) Michael Owen refuses to sign a new contract offered by Newcastle. Owen also states that he will not be seeking a move in the January transfer window and instead intends to postpone talks over his contract situation until the end of the season (when he can leave for nothing and be in a stronger position to demand higher wages from a new club…)

11 May 2009 Newcastle have a must win game against Middlesbrough in their relegation struggle (third last game of season), Michael Owen starts but contributes little. Boro take a shock lead before Steven Taylor scores an equaliser. Owen is subbed on 70 minutes with the score still 1-1, his replacement Obafemi Martins scores within seconds of coming on and Lovenkrands adds another for a 3-1 win.

16 May 2009 If Newcastle can beat Fulham at St James Park they would be hot favourites to now stay up. Michael Owen nowhere in the squad, as per (Paul Ferris explanation of) reasons above…Newcastle lose 1-0 as chances go begging after their best striker opts not to play.

24 May 2009 Newcastle go to Aston Villa needing a result, Michael Owen is only on the bench. NUFC go 1-0 down through a Duff own goal, Owen comes on with 23 minutes to go but contributes nothing. If Newcastle had got a goal/point they would have stayed up. Later (in 2013), Michael Owen responded to claims that he had decided not to make himself available to start that all or nothing Villa match: ‘I was hurt and it’s ridiculous to suggest anything else. I had a lot of pride and I wanted to do it for the fans and the friends I had made up there.’

14 June 2009 Reported that Michael Owen’s management company, Wasserman Media Group, had sent out a 34 page brochure advertising Owen to several targeted potential clubs.

22 June 2009 Michael Owen confirms he has no intention of helping Newcastle get promotion after being one of those chiefly responsible for the relegation. He says that, rather than showing any loyalty to Newcastle, he is looking for a move to a Premier League club, or a top foreign club.

30 June 2009 Michael Owen’s contract comes to an end. He has started only 58 Premier League matches and scored 26 goals. He has been paid at least £22m in wages…you do the maths.

3 July 2009 Michael Owen signs a two year deal to go and sit on Manchester United’s bench (starts 6 PL games in total for Man U).

So a £16m transfer fee and £22m minimum in wages, plus whatever other associated costs (agents, bonuses, whatever), we are looking at £40m wasted on Michael Owen, the return being 26 Premier League goals in those 58 PL starts, and relegation.

Michael Owen also ensuring Newcastle received not a penny in transfer fee either, as he ran out his contract.

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