By Emdad Rahman
Not many players have divided opinion amongst Liverpool fans as Michael Owen has. A supremely talented goal scorer, Owen seemed a certainty to replace Robbie Fowler as the darling of the Kop, whilst breaking all domestic and international records for Liverpool and
But a footballer’s life is not so straightforward and
born Michael Owen, the son of ex-Evertonian Terry Owen, fell agonisingly short. Chester
, Owen’s 97 goals had dwarfed the previous record by 25 goals, scored by a certain Ian Rush of St Asaph. Aged 13, Owen turned down Arsenal and Manchester United to join Deeside Primary School Liverpool. Three years later at the age of 16 he graduated from the of excellence. Lilleshall School
It was an injury to the talismanic Robbie Fowler that led to Owen being thrust into the first team, lining up just in front of the mercurial Steve McManaman. The child prodigy had sailed through the Anfield youth ranks and inevitably scored on his
At St Etienne in 1998, Owen scored one of the greatest goals seen at the World Cup finals, taking David Beckham’s flighted pass to run the length of the field, brushing off seasoned veterans such as Chamot, Vivas and Ayala before lofting the ball over the eccentric Carlos Roa. That moment heralded his arrival as
Liverpool’s latest global superstar.
The World Cup was Michael Owen’s stage. In 2001, the Liverpool star teamed up with Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey to destroy Oliver Kahn in
during a qualifier for the 2002 tournament. Munich
Shizuoka, Owen scored Englands opener against in the World Cup quarter finals but couldn’t prevent Rivaldo and Ronaldinho’s famous chip over David Seaman sealing victory for the eventual tournament winners. Brazil
A heartbreaking move to
may have meant untold riches at one of the world’s glamour clubs, but it cost him legend status as a footballer and in my opinion leaves him with a legacy that is not as assured as it should have been. Real Madrid Madrid cost Owen the opportunity to play in . He was a TV pundit and watched as his ex team mates completed the most amazing comeback ever to lift European footballs premier trophy for the fifth time. Istanbul
Despite 13 goals for
, Owen returned home to a disastrous spell at Newcastle United, before joining Manchester United. It is this choice that has been difficult for many Madrid Liverpool fans to stomach. Liverpool fans are a fairly forgiving breed though. I was on the Kop during Jamie Carragher’s testimonial game against Everton and despite the much touted “thunderstorm reception” the majority of fans were appreciative of Owen’s 118 goals and his achievements for Liverpool.
Owen scored in four successive international tournaments. Injuries and being out of favour with Fabio Capello (one sub appearance against
France) have cost him Bobby Charlton’s record. England
Still he collected that elusive Barclays Premier League medal last year, patient as Nemanja Vidic and the younger players lifted high before honing in and clasping it tight.
There will justifiably be detractors amongst the Red hordes, but for me Owen joins Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker as one of
’s modern day striking greats. England