Football

Michael Owen Pulled Out Of Newcastle Punditry Due To Safety Fears

Michael Owen Pulled Out Of Newcastle Punditry Due To Safety Fears

It's a bizarre set of circumstances. There's a reason Michael Owen doesn't cover Newcastle games on punditry.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker says he doesn't feel welcome at St James' Park after his stint at the club.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Owen recalled his days with The Magpies, where he spent four seasons between 2005 and 2009.

"As soon as I left, everyone hated me," Owen said. "But I never, ever felt that when I was there. I felt love, be that around the city, the pub or wherever."

A reason for Owen's ill-treatment may be down to a few sentences written about Newcastle in his book, 'Reboot: My Time, My Life'.

In the book, he says he regretted going to Newcastle from Real Madrid and wishes he ended up making a return to boyhood club Liverpool.

"I should have followed my gut instincts," Owen reflected. "I didn't want to go there (Newcastle), my heart was set on a return to Liverpool."

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Newcastle Nightmare

Newcastle were the highest bidder for the England international after a season spent in Spain with Real Madrid. But things didn't go to plan.

Owen suffered a broken metatarsal a few months into his stint which sidelined him for practically the rest of the 2005/2006 season.

He was managed carefully to be fit enough to play for England at Euro 2006. However, during a group match with Sweden, he tore his ACL.

It left him out of action at club level for over a year, and Newcastle even sought compensation from the English FA for his lengthy absence.

The next two seasons brought more injuries, a goal drought, manager shakeups and contract negotiations. He ended up at Manchester United after a disappointing spell.

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Owen's Punditry Scare

"I was supposed to do the game against Norwich last month," Owen said. "I phoned Amazon and said, 'I don’t really want to go, I’m scared for my safety', so they changed my game."

It seems fans haven't taken too kindly to his comments in his book or to the unfortunate spell that built up big hopes for many Magpie fans.

"I wish it was different," Owen said. "I would love to ask the fans, 'Why don’t you like me?', and have the chance to give my side."

"Of course, I get some of the reasons. The worst thing I did was buy a helicopter for my family to travel up and down. It’s a shit perception."

"People had this impression I was flying home after training each day. I wasn’t. I loved the area. But perception wise, it was an own goal. I would change that."

Owen's two major injuries left him sidelined for most of the first two years. Newcastle even asked the FA to pay some of the fee for replacement Obafemi Martins.

Here's what he had to say on those and the Newcastle book comments:

Then there were the injuries. I never wanted to be injured, but the one that set it all off was putting my boot in for Newcastle at Spurs on New Year’s Eve in 2005 and breaking my foot. I then went to the World Cup and did my knee. It was a nightmare. For me, the fans, the club.

I was gutted, because when I first signed we were flying. We were bottom of the league but shot up the table. Me and Al (Shearer) were scoring loads of goals and loving life. I know I’ve said I wanted to join Liverpool instead of Newcastle. I did, I won’t hide that. The same way Alan wanted to sign for his team, Newcastle, ahead of Man United.

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