With it looking increasingly likely that Michael Owen will be a Manchester United player by the end of the day, take a little time to relive his decision to join Newcastle over Liverpool, after he was linked with us in 2005.
June 19th 2005 – United linked with Michael Owen after it appears he will be returning to the Premiership from Real Madrid.
June 24th 2005 – United deny the rumours
“I admire Casillas but he is not in the plans of Manchester United,” said Queiroz. “Owen does not interest us either.”
August 1st 2005 – Bryan Robson all for it
“I don’t know if there’s any truth in the rumours going about,” Robson said. “For me, Owen is a top player and what he’ll take to any team is a great ratio of goals per games that he plays in. He’s a top-class player and he’ll always score goals.” Will United fans mind his Liverpool roots? “I don’t think they’ll look at that at all,” he continued. “Many United fans want to see top-class players playing for United. If Owen goes, it’s just another top-class talent within their squad.”
August 3rd 2005 – Sven all for it
“You know you are buying a lot of goals because he has always scored goals and always will,” said Sven. “So whatever happens if he comes to England or stays in Spain he will be important for England. It does not really matter where he plays but if I could wish it, it would be good to see him and Rooney together and that would of course benefit England. I can’t deny that.”
August 8th 2005 – Deny it all
“We have had no contact with Real Madrid over Michael Owen,” stated Manchester United communications director Phil Townsend.
August 8th 2005 – Fergie not a happy bunny
“I’m not answering that,” said the United boss when he was asked at a press conference if he holds an interest in the former Liverpool hit-man. “I’ll tell you why. I’ve seen the nonsense you have written all year. There is no way I would give you a helping hand in that respect. I am not going to make any comment whatsoever. You need to ask Real Madrid that really as I’m sitting in Manchester.”
August 11th 2005 – Cricket coach John Buchanan reveals Fergie chat
“He talked a little bit about Michael Owen and he doesn’t really see his style of play fitting in with Man United,” Buchanan said. “That’s one of the reasons they’re not going for him.”
August 13th 2005 – Benitez interest
“I am aware that Michael would like to come back,” said Benitez. “I don’t know if we can do something because we are waiting for a good offer for Milan Baros. But he is a good player and I like him. I never had any problems with him. He is a nice boy, a good professional and a very good player.”
August 14th 2005 – Still nothing from Ferguson
Are we interested in Owen? “No comment,” he told Channel 4.
August 24th 2005 – Owen wants Liverpool return
“I met the Real Madrid president before last night’s friendly at the Bernabeu and we discussed my future,” said Owen. “I said that my ideal situation was to start the season in the Real Madrid team and if not I would prefer to return to Liverpool. The president understood and said he would try to help me achieve this. If the transfer cannot be finalised in time I have agreed to go to Newcastle United but only on a one-year loan. I need to be playing regularly in a World Cup year.”
August 29th 2005 – Owen in talks with Liverpool and Newcastle
August 30th 2005 – Owen joins Newcastle
August 31st 2005 – Owen hails easy decision
“It was 1.30 in the early hours of yesterday that I finally decided that I was joining Newcastle,” Owen said. “Although there had been a lot of agonising, and a lot of telephone calls, it was an easy decision in the end. People will point out that, only a week or so ago, I listed Newcastle as the last of my options but circumstances change very quickly, as I have discovered. I felt that to return to Madrid would be the wrong decision. I want to play regularly and, if I am honest, part of me missed the passion of The Premiership. I was uncertain that a Liverpool bid would be accepted in time and I wanted to play for a club who really wanted me. David Moyes rang to see if there was a chance of getting me to Goodison Park and to wish me luck if not. I think he must have known I used to follow them as a boy. I have a lot of good memories of scoring goals at St James’ Park including a hat-trick on my first visit with Liverpool. I was clapped off by the home fans that afternoon and I hope I can give them plenty more reasons to cheer me.”
Whilst I enjoy the thought of Liverpool fans hurting at the prospect of their former hero (which he was for so many of them) playing for United, you can’t help but ignore that what he is doing is wrong. It is wrong to come from the Liverpool youth team, play for the team for years, then later join Manchester United.
Will he win us over? I honestly just can’t see it happening. I really dislike the fella and the fact that he wants to play for us, oddly, makes me dislike him even more. I can understand the appeal obviously, given his other option is Hull for crying out loud, but there’s just something so dirty about it. Can you imagine David Beckham leaving Real Madrid for Liverpool? Can you imagine how we’d feel about him if he had? Of course we can take pleasure in knowing how cut up some of them are going to be over this, but the whole thing still doesn’t sit right with me.
It’s not just the Liverpool connection though but the man’s priorities. Earning a lot of money and doing well for England are his biggest concerns. He doesn’t appear to be too arsed who he’s playing for as long as he earns a lot of dosh and is fit for when England come knocking. He will see joining United as the perfect opportunity to get back in the England team ahead of the World Cup and that will mean far more to him than anything United-related. So, chances are, if he stays fit, we’ll get a good year out of him. He’ll be out to impress. But he’ll be out to impress for all the wrong reasons. But does that matter? My head is spinning.
We have to trust the manager.