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Former Newcastle United striker Michael Owen revealed in an interview earlier this week that he hadn't wanted to move to Tyneside from Real Madrid back in the summer of 2005, but rather return to former club Liverpool.

In a remarkably candid interview with BT Sport, the former Ballon d'Or winner and teen prodigy made clear that a return to Anfield was always he's preferred choice and, even after it became clear that Liverpool weren't willing to match Newcastle's offer of £16m, he still harboured hope of using the Magpies as little more than a stop gap before re-signing as the Reds' prodigal striker.

It's fair to say that Owen's comments didn't go down too well in the north east of the country, and it's not hard to see why.

It is only natural for a professional footballer to have a favourite club and to want a return to ones where you've had a good past experience.

However, to imply that you were unhappy to move to a different team - who had put up a record fee for you - and go behind that club's back to ask someone else to match their bid is bordering on disrespectful.

While Liverpool never did make a serious play to re-sign Owen despite his desire, with Rafa Benitez instead spending a cumulative total of around £70m on strikers between 2005 and 2009. In his four injury-riddled years at St James' Park Owen faded into a pale imitation of his former self, scoring 26 goals in 71 games.


Even while at Newcastle, struggling to nail down a first team spot and prove he was worth the club-record outlay, Owen was looking for his great escape back to Liverpool.

Speaking to BT Sport, he admitted: “At Newcastle, I had it in my contract that I could go back for a set amount. I agreed to go to Newcastle on the basis that I could still go back to Liverpool.”

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His comments have struck a nerve among Magpies supporters (and club legend Alan Shearer) who are often tired of watching their side used simply as a stepping stone by players. Owen's words have confirmed what many had feared; that some players do not see Newcastle as their final destination, but rather a layover needed to get onto bigger, better things.


Following Owen's interview, which was tweeted out by BT Sport anchor Jake Humphrey, Shearer (who famously turned down move's away from the Magpies during his decade long stay) responded: “Not sure Newcastle United fans, teammates or employers will want to thank him.”

Shearer played with Owen during part of the latter's time at St James' Park.

If Owen and his revelations show the most pervasive attitude of Newcastle players of recent times, then Shearer showed the best. There is nobody in football who could argue that, once Shearer arrived on Tyneside, he didn't bleed black and white. He loved the club, gave his heart and soul for the team and the fans, and he is fondly remembered for it as a result.


It's not just his incredible goalscoring that sees Shearer hailed as a footballing god up in the North East. It was his attitude and approach to being at the club.

Newcastle was never a stepping stone for Shearer. He was never looking onto pastures beyond, or bigger clubs, or trophies or personal accolades. He was a Newcastle player, and he gave his everything for the club.

Both proved themselves as great strikers who will be remembered at St James' Park, for England and beyond for their finishing prowess. However, at least in terms of attitude, Newcastle United has had far too many Michael Owens and not nearly enough Alan Shearers in recent times.