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Michael Owen's time at Newcastle is often best remembered for the fact that the club chartered a helicopter for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid's family to attend Magpies games. But now a much more remarkable story has surfaced regarding the England international's final days at St. James' Park.
And, somehow, the story's even more incredible than the helicopter tale.
During the 2008/09 campaign, the Magpies were staring relegation in the face ahead of their final two Premier League games of the season, against Fulham and Aston Villa.
Naturally, with the club needing to win both games, they wanted all their best players available, including £17 million striker Owen.
However, ahead of the game against Fulham at St. James' Park, Owen had been struggling with a groin injury and, according to Paul Ferris, a former Newcastle winger and then currently a part of Alan Shearer's coaching staff, the former England striker felt 'like it was going to go'.
In Ferris' book, 'The Boy on the Shed' Ferris documents the conversation he had with Owen ahead of the Fulham game - a match Ferris informs Owen is the club's biggest of the season as they bid to remain in the Premier League.
Ferris explains how they conducted scans and no sign of a tear was showing up, which to the coaching staff was good news as it meant Owen wouldn't be missing for the remainder of the season. Only Owen wasn't having it.
Instead of breathing a sigh of relief that he wasn't on the verge of another serious injury and able to help his teammates out in their battle against relegation, Owen was more bothered about if he did tear his groin and what that would mean for his future chances of finding a new club, signifying he had no intention of remaining at St. James' Park and therefore, didn't want to help the club in their battle for survival.
The full, astonishing extract can be seen in the tweets, below.
Paul Ferris on why Michael Owen didn't play v Fulham in penultimate match of 2008-09: "Michael didn't want to risk his groin because he was out of contract in the summer and was saying, 'I'll not get a contract at another club if I'm injured'." #nufc- David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) February 19, 2018
Understandably, Newcastle fans haven't taken too kindly to the revelation.
everyman and his dog knew he never wanted to come to the toon. The toon was his pension pot- ArtisanPlastering (@artisan998) February 21, 2018
an utter mercenary...- ed_bell (@edjbell) February 20, 2018
But still picked up his massive weekly wage- David Seddon (@davyseddon) February 20, 2018
None of this is a shock any more, @themichaelowen was simply a stain in #nufc history. It's only a matter of time before we hear how he would regularly get ratted before a game & dance on Milburns grave- peter whitfield (@pjwhitfield) February 19, 2018
Pretty obvious Micheal Owen not trying and protecting himself, had its part in getting #nufc relegated. He was responsible in a way.- bobby martins (@BobbyGoa) February 19, 2018
No surprise, and he wonders why he is despised by Newcastle fans- Phil Powell (@PhilPowell2) February 19, 2018
Owen would go onto earn himself a pay-as-you-play deal with Manchester United, where he made 52 appearances over the course of three seasons, scoring 17 goals and lifting the 2011 Premier League title and 2010 League Cup before joining Stoke City in 2012, where he would retire after making just nine appearances for The Potters.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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