Michael Owen Tears Into Newcastle United About Being A Big Club
Michael Owen will likely anger Newcastle United fans by questioning in his new book exactly why his former club consider themselves a 'big club.'
Because of his time in Newcastle, Owen is not exactly a fan favourite around St James' Park with injuries stopping him getting anywhere near his peak.
There's never been a good relationship between the player and the club but in his new book, 'Reboot,' serialised by the Mirror, the Magpies' former striker questioned their 'big club' status, writing, "Freddy Shepherd came out with the line that he would happily 'carry Michael Owen back to Anfield himself.' Being a huge fan of the club also, Freddy was only doing what all the fans constantly do at almost every football club: they believe that their club is ten per cent bigger and that their team is ten per cent better than it actually is.
"This kind of blind delusion is especially true of Newcastle United - which, as I reach for the nearest tin hat, is only a big club in the sense that it has a lot of fans and a big stadium.
"They're historically not successful off the pitch, in fact quite the opposite mostly. And they've never really won much on it in recent times."
Speaking about his move to Newcastle and his want to move back to Anfield, Owen added, "Liverpool couldn't match Newcastle's offer. 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."
Owen moved to Newcastle from Real Madrid for a then club record £16.8 million, a record which remained until Miguel Almiron arrived in the north east in January, but he wasn't a success.
The former Liverpool forward played just 71 Premier League games in four seasons for Newcastle and scored 26 goals, but injuries resulted in him not playing as much as he should, playing just three times in his second season.
The Premier League side are considered one of the 'biggest' clubs in England had the 13th highest average attendances in Europe between 2013 and 2018, a period that included a season in the Championship.
However the club have only finished inside the top 10 three times in the Premier League since 2004/05, including last year with Rafa Benitez, and haven't won any major domestic silverware since 1955, when they won the FA Cup.
Speaking of his injuries the former Stoke City striker revealed that the fans reaction to him going off against Watford made him fall out of love with them, writing, "The fans never knew anything about any of the behind-the-scenes goings on which occurred during my time there but my relationship with them was damaged beyond repair when I was knocked out against Watford .
"When I got home, I switched on Match Of The Day to watch the game and I could hear Newcastle fans, my fans, singing 'what a waste of money!' as I'm being stretchered off.
"I can't deny their actions that day changed things for me. No longer was I even going to attempt to ingratiate myself with the fans. Instead, I flipped it in a slightly more resentful way thinking, I don't need to justify myself to f ****** Newcastle fans."
There probably isn't many ways that Owen could have made himself more unpopular in Newcastle but claiming he never wanted to sign for the club and that they aren't a 'big club' was certainly one way to do it.