In defence of Michael Owen… what has the striker done to deserve such loathing
11:09 GMT, 2 January 2013
11:09 GMT, 2 January 2013
There are few players who provoke such abuse as Michael Owen, but why is that
The same Michael Owen whose dazzling goal for England in France 1998 thrust him on to every back page and every child’s bedroom wall.
He was the hero of the nation – the schoolboy whose pace and finishing prowess, already well known on Merseyside, was now announced to the world.
Twitter row: Michael Owen (above left) responded to abuse by posting a picture of his trophy cabinet (below)
OK, he became a Liverpool striker who then played for Manchester United. He has a terrible injury record and earns a lot of money, so that adds up to the money for old rope argument.
But he was overplayed as a junior and it’s not his fault that he is injured so often.
It’s not his fault clubs have wanted to pay him so much money… and it’s pretty wise business practice to invest money in a business you know about.
Owen likes horse racing and has invested in stables, but what is wrong with that
VIDEO: Owen's goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup
We can all get the normal football tribalism. West Ham fans will abuse Jermain Defoe because he asked for a transfer the day after being relegated and now plays (and scores regularly) for Spurs. It might not excuse some of what is said, but supporters abusing a striker who plays for the locals rivals is nothing new.
While you would have to understand the religious splits in Scottish football to fully appreciate the hate directed at Mo Johnston, the former Scotland striker knew what he was getting into when he became the first catholic to play for Rangers. And he was a former Celtic idol.
But what did Owen do to deserve such loathing
Can't hear you: Michael Owen made his name at Liverpool but scored goals at each of his subsequent clubs
VIDEO: Owen scores winner in 4-3 derby win for Manchester United
He’s been a very good striker – he scored 40 goals in 89 England games – and has regularly hit the target for all his clubs.
Even though he career has tailed off, because of his injuries, he is still a box office name.
He’s barely played for Stoke, but is on a pay-as-you-play deal so that won’t be proving too taxing for them.
So get off his back and let’s allow him to drift into retirement at his own pace. Not as quick as he used to be, of course, but not making enough noise to offend.
Another one for the collection: Owen (centre) finally won the Premier League with Manchester United
VIDEO: Owen wins the FA Cup for Liverpool against Arsenal