The Owen Dilemma

So how did you feel? Annoyed, betrayed, jealous, even relieved? There will have been various opinions over the last week about Michael Owen joining the Mancs. I’ve had a mixture of the above emotions and it’s taken a few days for me to now make sense of it all.

Owen - Torres scarf

Regardless of your opinion there can be little doubt that once upon a time we all loved Owen. The FA Cup Final against Arsenal was a particular special memory and although he never gave us the Premier League as we hoped, we can hardly hold that against him. I had many a great time watching Owen terrorise defenders with his pace and prove to Glenn Hoddle that he really was a “natural goalscorer.” In the early part of the decade, Owen was one of the best strikers in the world and he was our player.

I refuse to let him or the Mancs take these memories away. Probably like most of you, I cannot begin to understand the desire to play for such a team, particularly if you have ever claimed to be a true Liverpool fan. Arsenal, Chelsea or even (due to his upbringing) Everton would have been a more understandable alternative but in many eyes he’s committed the cardinal sin. That picture with the scarf in all the papers still makes me wretch.

However, my annoyance has abated a little since I tried to analyse it a little more. Had he gone to the Mancs instead of Real Madrid in 2004 I would have despised him beyond belief. Though I disagreed with his decision, motives and common sense at the time, he left us because he thought more glory and probably money awaiting him at the Bernabeu. At the time, aged 24, the thought of him going to the Theatre of Silence would have been too much to bear and the gloating from down the East Lancs Road would have been ringing in our ears for a long time.

Look at his position now though. His team have just got relegated, he’s been dropped from the England side and the all-time top England goalscorer record that at one time looked a safe bet for him now looks very uncertain. His injuries have increased, his pace has decreased and he became a free agent in the summer with the likes of Hull and Stoke sniffing around. With all due respect to those clubs, his profile would have hardly increased enough for Capello to take much notice. He must have fallen off his racing pony in amazement when grumpy face gave him a call. Who’d have thought 2 months ago that the Mancs would still have been interested.

What he will get at Manure is profile. We all know how obsessed the media are with Whisky nose and his bunch of whinging mercenary lowlife. Whether he will get enough chances to prove himself is debatable. He may get a few games and if so will probably score a few goals. If he takes the penalties and Mike Riley is the referee, he’ll certainly get enough practice. What he won’t be is the lightning quick menace that we had at Anfield 5 years ago, and for this reason we shouldn’t feel too annoyed at the whole deal.

There’s no doubt that however much Ferguson will deny it, signing Owen does represent a certain element of desperation. Okay, he’s taken a massive pay cut and didn’t cost a transfer fee but with £80M floating around, there isn’t a chance that Owen would have got within 3 miles of their stadium if either Benzema or Villa had been snagged. To be honest I’d rather they have Owen in his present form than either of these 2 players. Add to that the bonus that he’s never clicked with Rooney with England. More of that lack of understanding will do just fine thanks.

Now Robbie Fowler or Ian Rush or Kenny Dalglish would have hung their boots up and never played football again than pull on the shirt that Owen will be wearing next season, and because of that he’s made it quite clear that he’s not so much of a Liverpool fan as he pretended to be all along. He turned his back on us once when Benitez didn’t want him to go and missed out on Istanbul and one of the best Liverpool nights of all time. Although there were various stories of him waiting for Liverpool to make the call a few days ago, we just have to accept that it might have meant a lot to him once upon a time to play for us but it was always really about Michael Owen and what he could get from his career.

Should we boo and jeer him when he returns to Anfield? Absolutely we should, just the same as we should do the same for absolutely any player that plays for that team.

Should we disregard everything he did for Liverpool? Absolutely not. He was great in his day for us but he has moved on and more importantly so have we.

25 comments on
The Owen Dilemma

  1. god bless owen .
    this decision he has made could win us the league.
    who would u rather up against us villa, ibraimovic or owen i know who i would pick.
    Thank you owen and may your season end trophyless.

  2. He was loved by most of us when he played for us. He turned his back on us when he went to Real Madrid and now he wants to stab us in the back. I still enjoy watching the goals he scored for us but wanna throw up seeing him in the Manu jersey. Yes, i feel betrayed

  3. Owen let his contract run down to next to nothing so that Rafa was forced to try and get the best deal possible before he walked out on a free. £8 million and Nunez (who turned out to be more of a negative to the deal than a plus..) for arguably one of the worlds best forwards (at the time). That shows how much respect he had for Liverpool. When he realised he wasnt first choice at Real he wanted to move again and Rafa was in for him but we were not willing to pay the £18m that Newcastle were. Owen could have refused to go to Newcastle and force Reals hand to accept the lower offer from Liverpool but Owen plays for Owen and he knew that he would not be an automatic starter for Rafa. This time round Rafa got it right and did not bother as we want players who WANT to play for Liverpool not players who want to come to Anfield to put themselves in the shop window for their national squad like Owen.

    He is not the player he was. Dont get me wrong, he is a natural goal scorer and will always get the odd goal but he has lost any pace he had and that was all he ever really had – Pace and Natural eye for goal. He can’t take defenders on and he doesnt bust a gut to win balls or get back etc. Utd have replaced Tevez a player very much in the mould of Kuyt with a little guy who can’t run. Owen may score a couple but overall he’s going to be woeful at the Mancs and he might as well forget the national squad as he wont ever get back in there.

    Should we boo him at Anfield??? DEFINATELY! He is a mercenary and has never cared about Liverpool FC other than for what status it gave him.

  4. no one can blame him for signing for real madrid or man one can blame him for wanting to play alongside the like of zidane, figo, casillas, ronaldo, beckham, raul and carlos. real madrid was one the best team in europe at that time, if not the best, and owen wanted to be part of that time. what’s wrong in that?? even torres left atletico for liverpool and many other players have done so.
    No one can blame him for his commitemnt for liverpool at that time. He gave us some great moment that should be remembered. He knew it was a gamble goin to real but still he took that decision. Unfortunately this didnt work for him, and of course he wanted to return to liverpool, we all know about that. But rafa didnt sign him. He kept waiting for liverpool to sign him each and every season since leaving liverpool and even this season he still wanted to sign for us.
    This time he was a free player, and still rafa didnt want to sign him and everybody was saying that his career is over! and even owen knew that he was in really bad situation. His career was at stake and here comes Man United and Alex Ferguson! Owen would have been a fool for not signing for them. Yes he was a liverpool player, but he also had a career to save. We all know how he is deperate to get back back in the national team. United will give me that chance and he knows it. Of course if liverpool made a offer he wud have accepted but we didnt. Most of the fans didnt even care about him, whether he stops his career or not. So wots the problem now when is sign for united? he didnt refuse liverpool for united, did he? he only signed for united because he didnt hav any other choice! Even rush did say that he would have signed for man united when he was about to leave juventus, but liverpool wanting him to come back, so he retun back. it’s the same for owen.

  5. This guy has no loyalties, no substance or respect for the liverpool jersey. Sorry to say but Owen will always be remembered for his back-stabbing skills.

    Wish him luck…but I know everytime he enters Anfield, I will make him know just how disgusted as a fan I am…BOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  6. I wouldn’t really call this a dilemma but rather ….. a great blessing. Imagine how the fans’ reaction would be when Owen waves back to the KOP!!!!

  7. It just makes me sick that someone who was born and bred out of Liverpool’s Soccer school would have elected to move to our greatest rivals. No need to question about his loyalty if he measures it in $, not once but twice. Eveyone, remember how Red Nose reacted to Heinze coming over to Anfield? He had betrayed his own trust and priciple in picking a rival’s player to join his team, not that he cannot afford a better player with the money from Ronaldo’s sale.

    Let’s boo him!!!!

  8. He’s just a player for the opposition. I don’t think he deserves any particular respect or sentiment.

    Players come and go. Many who leave return wearing other colours and are given a warm welcome. The welcome is given in appreciation of their service to the Club and in recognition that in this world, players’ leaving the Club are a fact of life.

    Owen however is different. Yes, I agree with Tupman that he was sold. But I don’t agree that he didn’t want to leave. If I recall, the Club was chasing for his signature on an extension for a good year. If I recall, Owen kept putting it off citing various reasons (i.e. my agent is on holiday etc…). All the while, there was speculation saying that Real wanted him and that Owen wanted to go. Owen denied this and told the fans and the public that he would sign the extension. He didn’t.

    As a result, his contract ran down. With little time left on his contract, Real could come in an tender a small offer in the knowledge that if the Club refused, they could pick up Owen on a free a few months later. Little wonder then why the Club sold him.

    So in summary. I would not cheer or applaud Owen. I would not give him a warm welcome. Not because he left. No. But because If feel that he put his interest above the Club’s. He could have made his intention to leave clear and said that he would not sign the extension. The Club could then have sold him for a decent price and used the funds to rebuild. As we all know, he didn’t do this.

    To me, Owen the LFC player is dead. He had a promising start but failed to reach his potential and failed to become one of the greats. When Owen returns to play, he’ll just be another player for the team.

  9. We should definitely boo him when he returns. As much as I understand why he joined the scums but anyone who moves from Liverpool to Man U gets no respect from me. Remember Fergie won’t even let us have Henize just cos he hates us? I hope Owen becomes the forgotten man in Man U and end up playing for the lower leagues..

    I am just glad that we didn’t take him back…. phew

  10. No pace no power he was outshone by martins against lets av it right valencia for ronaldo,and owen for tevez old sock nose has lost the plot he might swap rooney next for raul

  11. Well done Nick

    That was a fair and balanced blog and I agree with everything you have said. I am new to the Liverpool blogs and I have just read the This is Anfield blog regarding Xabi Alonso which sounds little fabricated, you sound like an honest man and have assessed the situation well.

    I could not agree with you more, but more than that you have put things into perspective regarding Micheal playing for Man you this season.

    Well done you have been Liverpool fans Life Coach.



  12. Hahhaa…..lool…Albert ur well funny…i love yur post more than the article itself lol..!!
    as yu correctly said, aftter moving on from liverpool, he hasnt won anything major, and yeh lets hope the mancs do get related coz of him, just like the magpies did 🙂 we pray, we pray and we pray 😀
    YNWA 🙂

  13. Some amazing comments from some, they sound like bluenoses. When did Owen ever say he wanted to leave Liverpool, he never did Benitez sold him. When Benitez could have bought him back from Madrid and Newcastle he did not. For what ever reason Benitez does not want him but he lets our biggest rivals get a proven Premiership goalscorer for basically nothing, good business by Benitez but never mind we have Voronin and Ngog!

    • He said for about 18 months he was ‘going’ to sign a new Liverpool contract. Never did despite Houllier constantly asking him to. Eventually left for Madrid for a paltry amount for the club and a big sign on bonus for himself.

      You mentioned Voronin and N’gog but you elected to not mention that we have the Premier League’s best striker – Fernando Torres.

      Personally, I won’t boo Owen – but if someone else in The Kop starts a witty chant then I’ll happily join in.

  14. I always felt that Owen was desperate for GLory when he left for Real (and won nothing). Then when he had the chance to comeback to Liverpool, he couldn’t wait a little longer so that Liverpool could get him on cheap but when to the Magpie because he was Desperate to be in the English Squad for the Euro(and won nothing…got relegated). Now of all places ManU because he is desperate for glory and a place for the WC squad…..he will win nothing again…maybe even get relegated Lol…….maybe its a good thing after all.

  15. sparq2112. I don’t think it would have been right to re-sign Owen. With a world cup year coming up he would not have been happy sitting on the bench, he is not good enough to dislodge Torres who surely won’t repeat the injury plagued campaign of last season. Owen himself is England first and club second, that his choice but LFC need more than that. I am not worried by him being at Man UTD as they still have not replaced the 40 odd goals a season scored by Ronaldo and Tevez, even at his peak Owen only managed 18 league goals. I feel nothing towards Owen ever since he left in 2004.

  16. if i had the choice that owen had to make i would go to a conference side before joining the scum. he has gone against everything true lfc fans believe in. he was never a fans favourite anyway but he no longer deserves our respect.

  17. Good read to be fair made me realise that he had to move to the mancs.

    Still got a sick feeling from it and not happy as he’s supposed to be a liverpool fan but hey thats Owen thinking of himself.

  18. I totally disagree.

    I have never, never booed an ex-Red.

    Not even Souness.

    I’ll always be grateful to Owen for some magnificent memories.

    I just hope he doesn’t to too well for them.
    Hopefully he will be injured all the time, but I fear that he will be lethal for them.

    We should have bought him back as a pay as you play deal, Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    He will almost definitely go on to become England’s all time top goal scorer.

    I just hope I am wrong.


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