Michael Owen has revealed that he asked to be removed from his role as pundit for Amazon at a recent game as he was “scared for his safety.”
After just one season with Real Madrid, Michael Owen arrived at Newcastle United in 2005 for almost £17 million. However, during his injury hit spell, Owen never showed anything close to his earlier form and incurred the wrath of the Geordie faithful on numerous occasions for a perceived lack of commitment, as well as poor performances.
By the time Owen left Tyneside in 2009 at the expiration of his contract he was far from popular, later admitting that he never wanted to sign with the club.
The bad blood between the two sides has continued into Owens’ retirement with the former England striker asking not to cover Newcastle’s game against Norwich in November. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Owen said that he didn’t feel safe.
’As soon as I left, everyone hated me. But I never, ever felt that when I was there – I felt love, be that around the city, the pub or wherever,’ says Owen.
‘I was supposed to do the game against Norwich last month. I phoned Amazon and said, “I don’t really want to go, I’m scared for my safety”, so they changed my game.
‘I wish it was different. I would love to ask the fans, “Why don’t you like me?”, and have the chance to give my side. Of course, I get some of the reasons. The worst thing I did was buy a helicopter for my family to travel up and down. It’s a s**t perception. People had this impression I was flying home after training each day. I wasn’t. I loved the area. But perception wise, it was an own goal. I would change that.
‘Then there were the injuries. I never wanted to be injured, but the one that set it all off was putting my boot in for Newcastle at Spurs on New Year’s Eve in 2005 and breaking my foot. I then went to the World Cup and did my knee. It was a nightmare – for me, the fans, the club.
‘I was gutted, because when I first signed we were flying. We were bottom of the league but shot up the table. Me and Al (Shearer) were scoring loads of goals and loving life.
‘I know I’ve said I wanted to join Liverpool instead of Newcastle. I did, I won’t hide that. The same way Alan wanted to sign for his team, Newcastle, ahead of Man United.
After leaving Newcastle, Michael Owen went on to join Manchester United, ending his career with Stoke City in 2013 after making just 13 appearances for the club.