Liverpool FC have today announced their very first official international ambassador, Michael Owen. The striker played in Liverpool’s first team for eight years after coming up through the academy, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup, the UEFA Cup (beating Alaves in the final) and the UEFA Super Cup.
As a Liverpool fan I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to play this international role for the club. Liverpool FC is the world’s greatest football family and it’s great for me to be able to represent the club in an official capacity once again.
However, when Owen had been given the opportunity to leave Liverpool, he took it, preferring to sit on Real Madrid’s bench over staying in Merseyside.
Five years after leaving Liverpool, Owen signed for Manchester United on a two year deal, taking a considerable cut on the wages he was on at Newcastle.
“I had just begun to talk to other clubs when out of the blue Sir Alex phoned me on Wednesday afternoon, invited me to have breakfast with him next morning during which he told me that he wanted to sign me,” he said. “I agreed without a moment’s thought. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I intend to seize it with both hands. I am now looking forward to being a Manchester United player.”
A few weeks in to his United career, Owen scored a 96th minute winner against Manchester City.
In 2010, Owen returned to Anfield for Jamie Carragher’s testimonial, where he was booed by the Liverpool fans.
“It wasn’t great but I was there to pay my respects to Jamie and help raise money for charity. If I had wanted an easy life I’d have said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’,” Owen said afterwards. “Football is a passionate game, but from a player’s point of view you have to grow out of these tribal rivalries. Not every player can play for the team they support when they are growing up. I was an Everton fan when I was a kid.”
At the end of his second season at the club, Owen won the Premier League, a trophy Liverpool have yet to win, having gone 26 years without a title. In fact, in a few days time, Liverpool’s run without having won the league will surpass the barren period we suffered in the 1970s and 1980s.
“As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them,” Owen said, smiling. “I won a lot of trophies with Liverpool but to win the Premier League is the pinnacle of anyone’s career. I’m very proud today. I’m really pleased and proud to have played with a great crop of lads and obviously the manager’s second to none.”