Jamie Carragher reckons had it not been for Michael Owen’s decision to join Manchester United, the fans’ former hero would have been treated well. He reckons that Liverpool fans are usually ‘brilliant’ for their former players but it appears as though Ferguson’s biggest fan has a very short term memory.
When Owen returned to Anfield in 2005, not playing for any rival of Liverpool, he was given a dreadful time by the fans.
“I am disappointed with that, he should be a legend here for all the goals he has scored for Liverpool in the past,” said Steven Gerrard after the game. “He deserves a standing ovation for the goals he has scored.”
The Guardian, December 27th 2005
Michael Owen retreated ashen faced to Tyneside last night with the jeers of those who once adored him haunting his thoughts and defeat chilling his soul. If the England striker had hoped to be welcomed back, a prodigal son back in familiar surroundings, then this was a humiliating rejection; those on the Kop have clearly not forgiven him his departure for Madrid 16 months ago.
The home fans were merciless, the smattering of boos which accompanied his name when it was delivered over the Tannoy pre-match escalating to a full-scale eruption when he received possession for the first time.
This match report doesn’t quite fit in with how Carragher believes his fans treat former players.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Carragher, of Owen’s move to United. “Not because I had any doubts about Michael’s ability but it was just so out of the blue and it happened so quickly. One minute you are wondering where he will end up and the next he is at Old Trafford. Our fans are usually brilliant with former players but he might get a cool reception. That won’t bother him though. I can understand the fans point of view, he used to play for us and now he is at our big rivals so of course there will be some reaction. That’s football and Michael will know that. At the same time, Michael has got his own career to think about. He wants to play Champions League football and get back into the World Cup squad. The move gives him that opportunity. It will upset some fans but that’s football. He is a mate of mine so I suppose I have to wish him well but only to a certain extent.”