Sadly for Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool fans who bothered to show up for his testimonial today couldn’t look at the bigger picture and booed Michael Owen. The ground was just 78% full in what was a disappointing turn out for the man Liverpool fans call a legend, particularly when you consider United legends Giggs and Keane got sell out crowds of 67,500+ and 69,000+ respectively.
Just before half-time, Owen won a penalty for Liverpool which he of course gave to Carragher to take.
Carragher revealed after the game that he wanted best mate Owen to take the penalty but could imagine what the response would be, given the negative reaction Owen had already received.
“I asked the referee to give us a penalty before half-time because I was thinking about Michael as I wanted him to score – I totally forgot that people would want me to take one,” said Carragher. “He’s my best mate in football and I think it took a lot of courage to come back today and do it for me knowing he would take a lot of stick. But I think the crowd would have killed him if he’d taken the penalty listening to their reaction.”
Before the game, Carragher had asked the fans to show a bit of respect.
“I hope it doesn’t affect the reception,” he said, of Owen’s decision to join United. “I think he deserves a great one for what he did for Liverpool. He was a fantastic player – right up there with the greats for what he did. The chance to go to one of the biggest clubs of the world was difficult to turn down.”
However, Liverpool fans even booed Owen when he returned with Newcastle, bizarrely enough, so I suppose there was little chance of them holding back today, even for the sake of their legend, Carragher. Whilst Carragher probably wasn’t expecting a standing ovation for Owen, and certainly wouldn’t expect anything but abuse for Owen when he returns with United, he probably was hopeful that Liverpool fans could lay off for this just one day. The testimonial is a time to celebrate a legend’s career, not to boo your legend’s best mate, regardless of what he’s done.
“All the ground booing Owen,” said one fan on Liverpool’s popular forum, RAWK, who was watching the game from home, instead of Anfield. “Just to confirm that Owen is getting booed everytime he gets the ball!” said another. One fan on the forum, amongst others, was embarrassed by what they were watching. “It took a certain amount of guts for Owen to turn up,” he said. “It was always going to be a controversial element to the game but we should not be booing him all the time, point made now, and Carra obviously wanted him there, so just concentrate on Carra’s Day and pay tribute to the guy!”
Hats off to our Mickey for having the balls to go back there. It’s a shame they couldn’t even just show indifference towards him for the sake of Carragher, although I’m sure our Owen enjoys knowing he still gets under their skin.
The testimonial was all for a good cause, however the ground was just three-quarters full, despite the tickets being sold for as little as £20.
Best supporters in the land.