Howay man he's all we've got!

By Lee Ryder on Aug 31, 08 02:19 PM

More than a decade ago on a cold Tyneside winter afternoon Alan Shearer was lying in a heap on the floor after a heavy challenge with the St James's Park crowd anxiously waiting for him to get back on his feet.

Suddenly the bloke behind me in the Gallowgate corner piped up: "Howay man! He's all we've got."

Too right he was, Newcastle's only real hope of success wasn't an influx of quality youngsters coming through the ranks like Manchester United, it wasn't a bottomless pit of money like at Chelsea and it wasn't through using ProZone and boring fans to tears like Bolton - it was down to the presence, influence and goals of one man - Alan Shearer.

It's a bit like how I feel now when it comes to Michael Owen.

They say that football isn't about one man and is a team game but without certain leaders and lynchpins, you don't even have a team.

That day, Boxing Day 1999, United had been playing Liverpool with Shearer opening the scores and a certain Michael Owen bagging two before Duncan Ferguson rescued a point - two lynchpins (In MO and Big Al) driving their teams on and helping them get a result.

Today on Tyneside and the internet wireless wonderland, it was Owen's name back in the headlines again and like Shearer many fans - with James Milner's departure still fresh in the memory - know that Owen's importance these days is akin to the presence of Big Al back in the day.

Yes, Newcastle do have Jonas Gutierrez, Fabricio Coloccini, Shay Given and Nicky Butt as important cogs of the black and white wheel.

But I'm sorry, without Owen, Newcastle will struggle to score goals.

Even though a quick glance down the excuses list has the absence of injured strikers like Mark Viduka and Oba Martins on it after the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal, having Owen on the pitch is still more important.

Unlike both Viduka and Martins, Owen doesn't have to be on top of his game to score goals at vital times.

Whether he is rescuing a point, saving blushes or grabbing the glory with a hat-trick, his predatory instincts make him a one off just like Shearer when it comes to getting goals.

The crafty little striker knows he needs just one chance to win a game and despite his injuries at Newcastle, he has generally delivered the goods when he's been fit.

Players have admitted that having Owen in the dressing room gives them an extra lift and they know they are walking on to the field with a great chance of getting goals and winning with little MO on their side.

Three years ago today we were celebrating the arrival of Owen in Shearer style with fans packing out the Leazes End to welcome him to Tyneside.

And with the deadline ticking dangerously away before the window slams shut, the renewal of Owen's contract is just as vital as any incoming new faces right now.

If anything just for his goals but it's more than just that.

Like Kevin Keegan did in his first stint as boss, players signed for Newcastle (Gavin Peacock, Rob Lee and Scott Sellars for starters) because he was their hero.

And while Shearer was a player, the likes of Kieron Dyer, Craig Bellamy and of course Owen himself meant that the presence of Big Al was a major factor in them coming to Newcastle.

Now Owen takes on that mantle as captain and he will help attract better players to join him at Newcastle just like Shearer did when he helped push the deal for Owen in the first place.

From a global point of view, having Owen in the team makes Newcastle a much more attractive proposition which is great news for the club from a marketing point of view.

Owen may not reach 206 goals for Newcastle like Shearer did but if he does sign this new contract it's going to be fun watching him give it a good flipping crack.

Over to you MO.



Paul Patterson said:

This transfer window is fast turning into a nightmare. Antoine Sibierski anyone?

Enrique went off injured against Arsenal, highlighting the need for a left back, up front we had Micky Owen and the Clumsy-Dumbsy and both weren’t match sharp, mind you when has Ameobi been match sharp- Newborn babies have more positional sense and discipline than him, he even tried to defend for Arsenal with his well timed challenge on Owen, Cheers Clumsy!

Owen will never get Alan Shearer’s record of 206 goals if he plays for Newcastle till he is 50, simply because he won’t play half the games that Alan did- playing with a knock here a twinge there or a bandaged head the other, doesn’t come across as Owen’s style does it?

On the other hand, when he does play, he gives you a goal every three games, gives the opposition something to think about and means they can’t just switch off, whereas the Arsenal back four could have had cigars out and left a brick in attendance to mark Shola Ameobi, just imagine if Alan Smith had been playing- Sod the brick!!

Now that I’ve got my Shola bashing out of the way, lets be fair it’s too easy, the serious matter of what to do abut our powderpuff attack remains. Who do we get to sort it out? Sadly if we haven’t got a deal in place now, then it’s too late, as you can’t put one together in 24 hours.

I proposed a deal earlier this week, for a player not popular, not flash and certainly not ’Wow’ as has been mentioned, simply a player who would be miles better than what we have. Let me refresh- He’s quick, strong, good in the air, and for a target man, has a record of around one goal in three. He’s not at a particularly fashionable club, shouldn’t cost the earth and is English. More importantly, he has an uncanny rapport with our very own goalscoring Owen.

Who is this wonderful, genius of goalscoring prowess you ask? It is indeed 30 year old, Emile Heskey. Now anyone come on here and tell me he wouldn’t enhance what we have there already. He’s better than Viduka, Smith and Ameobi, so there is no contest and I could see him performing well with Martins and/or Owen.

We just have to hope that we’ve made this sort of deal a priority. What’s the bet we sign Henrick Larsson? Mind you I’d take him instead of ‘Clumsy’


Paul said:

Have to agree with you. I hate clumsy. I'd have ashley on the field than having clumsy. i wish we can just cancel his contract.

Ted Bundy said:

strange how if you ask questions on this blog some get printed while others dont.

What i want to know is, the people that stand round ashley at games, are they 'yes' men cunningly assembled so as not to ask him any awkward questions or give him any grief? or do they simply not dare ask him owt or tell him what most of us see needs fixing in fear of not getting a free pint?

If you are one of these fans please ask him, why havent we tried buying players like Huuntelar/moutinho/arshaver? Does he prefer watching the likes of amoeba upfront bodypopping and watching the team struggle?

Private Frasier said:

We're doomed!

richard johnson said:

Ignacio Gonzalez is on his way to St James park, this is the supposed replacement for milner, although it will only be a season long loan. He has passed the medical but will only join the squad after uraguay play there international games

shay given said:

i shouldve joined the arsenal wahoy man

richard Johnson said:

Some player called Xisco is meant to be about to sign, (Lunch time) he will sign meaning the transfer of Smith can go through. Smith to everton for 3 million. Xisco is the former team mate of Coliccini, score 1 in 4 last season but he is only 22

mag in boro said:

This is one i hate to agree with you Mr Patterson but Heskey would be a decent signing at the moment he is in good form maybe not banging goals in he would be an ideal target man for Owen and Oba to feed off and would certainly do a better job than shola and smith combined(which i know isnt hard)
Also i cant understand why we seem not to be looking at Pennant who appears to be available for about 4 mil-quicker than milner more tricks and most of all more consistant in quality with final ball.
Also Paul i never wanted Antoine Sibierski to go in 1st place thought he should have been given the longer contract he wanted-always gave 110% and again better than shola and smith combined plus he loved the club.

So if reports are to be believed spanish striker coming in,ive never seen him so cant comment on if he any good but hope coloccini has given good reviews,a uruguay midfielder who we aint gonna see for 2 weeks due to international duties which leaves the "wow" signing which i think is one of those comments Ashley wishes he hadnt said and is on par with gullits promise of "sexy football"but like everyone else still hoping MA proves us wrong

And noone needs to ask why we are not going in for players like huntelaar,arshavin etc because they wouldnt want to sign for us at minute same as when we bid for Rooney a pointless exercise

As for the we are doomed comments if thats your attitude "go support the mackems"yeah bad performance v gooners but they will do that to better teams than us this year,break before Hull get few players off the injury list,couple new signings and we will be ok and still think come May we be up there challenging for uefa cup places


Sy said:

I agree with your comments to the Doom-and-Gloomers MaginBoro. Makes you wonder what planet some of them are living on that they're surprised that we lose at Arsenal.

I'm quite pleased with the transfers so far, although I'd love to see two players leave as well as those coming in. I'm hoping Everton come in for Smith, and I'm available to drive him down there right up to the deadline. Ameobi's another, even on loan with a view to permanent. The only thing more pointless than paying their wages is actually putting them on the pitch.

Incoming deals look good potentially. Uruguay international and Spanish U21 international. Already we're doing better than we usually do on deadline day.

I'd love to see us get a few more in, but we'll have to wait and see.

I actually think we'd have a chance with Arshavin, because he's so keen to get out of Zenit, but I don't see us getting any recognised names, and even more unlikely to get this smokescreen 'wow' signing. Hope I'm wrong though!

Ben said:

I agree with the comments above about Arshavin, he is the kind of player we do need and he stated in January that he would come here,the only club still sniffing around him is villareal, and I am certain we can compete with them, when you look at the money we recouped of Milner then an outlay of 6-8 mill isn`t bad at all, we need some creativity in our team and we need a big signing to give the club a much needed lift, I hope and pray we dont let Owen go today, that would be the final nail in the coffin!!

Myron said:

You are right Lee, he is really all we have got. He is the only natural goals scorer in the team in my point of view as many occasion he have been there to score goals for us when we need him to. I hope his contract will settle soon cos, "Howay man! He's all we've got."

Adam Knox said:

In respect to Michael Owen, he has scored some important goals for us but can i ask one thing...

-Has he been value for money?

Not even the strongest Owen fan can admit this to be true. He's being paid a Kings ransom at the Toon and now wants more money? He hasn ever scored mroe than 20 goals in a season in his whole career and is injury prone. (I could add he adds little other than goalscoring but that's a subjective issue)

If selling owen meant we could get a younger, bigger, quicker striker who can play 30 games a season, i'd take it ina heart beat. What good is Michael Owen being 'all we have' when he rarely plays?

Peter Harper said:

If we only had someone to supply the ammunition for Owen he would score plenty as he is a natural.
Nacho Gonzalez is superb and will set St James alight.Just watch him take a penalty.
Xisco is big and fast and skilful so will be a good addition.
And as a parting shot for those who advocate signing Heskey he is either injured or on his backside.I have never seen a footballer who spends more time on the floor than him.He has undoubted ability but.............
News coming through that Barton may be leaving.I'm raising the flag.

Andrew Davis said:

Heskey on way to spurs i hear and i would like him here as well....

Joey Barton way to pompey and that is a joke to me and i know there are people who hate him and all that but last season he had a few assists and played really well.

I hope we sell smith and ameobi and we need 4 more to my mind and any news LEE...


Andrew Davis said:

Come on LEE do you have any news on the transfer front as i am in the USA and its 3.14 over here and any WOW signings as yet....


jeff dahmer said:

no WOW signings yet but maybe a 'schitzo' up front?
Those that have taken over at man city said we were one of 3 three clubs they were looking at. They reckon money is no object for players, oh well maybe next time!

I reckon barton will stay unfortunately, again oh well!

Nick Toon said:

That's it folkes , we'll have to see what Xisco and gonzales can do! Disappointed about the lack of 'wow' signings , if man city can do it why can't we? Oh and we've got Barton for another season ,I'd still give smith a run out though , I know he's done nothing but he was a quality player at leeds , there's got to be something left, surely?


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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