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Thankfully Michael Owen is no longer Newcastle United's problem

By Lee Ryder on Nov 27, 12 06:16 PM


Newcastle United head to Stoke City tomorrow night to face a Potters side that won't feature Michael Owen.

That should come as no great surprise with the injury prone former England striker spending another stint on the sidelines and unavailable to Tony Pulis' side.

Had he played Owen would have been subjected to more than a few boos from the travelling support.

And the reason why?

Quite simply because Geordie fans never believe his heart was in it when he was on Tyneside.

The ex-England star may have arrived to a welcome that only Alan Shearer can match as 15,000 Geordies turned up to celebrate Owen's arrival seven years ago.

However, despite a return of 30 goals in four years, he never quite captured the imagination of the Newcastle public.

The striker spent more time in the treatment room and the belief was that when he was trying to return to fitness, it was with England in mind - not Newcastle.

Amazingly, Newcastle offered him a huge six figure pay packet per week at the end of 2008 under Joe Kinnear.

Something which at the time he said he would delay signing - in reality he was waiting to see if Newcastle went down.

The fact he opted not to sign the three year contract was a bullet swerved in my opinion as United - who have undergone many changes since and wouldn't offer such crazy deal s these days - could have still been paying him up until 2011.

Owen was far from a bad character during his time at Newcastle, but rarely spoke to the media and even as captain under Kevin Keegan did not always see it as his duty in this football mad city.

I was amazed when he turned up on Twitter, but I'm guessing it wasn't his decision and somebody offering him some "sound advice".

He did have highlights - netting twice against Sunderland in a 2-0 win being two of them - yet he never seemed the right fit for Newcastle.

The fact he reserved his poorest display for his last moments in a black and white shirt at Aston Villa when the club were relegated summed up his hunger to do well for United.

He didn't have the stomach for a relegation battle at the end of the day and preferred to warm the bench for northern rivals Man United than help the club back into the Premier League.

In Newcastle's current blueprint it states that the club no longer want "trophy signings", well Owen is certainly one of them.

Thankfully no matter what happens tomorrow night, Owen is no longer Newcastle United's problem.

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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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