BOYCIE THE BOOKIE: Betcha Owen Is in for Tough Ride at Palace; the Inside Track on Sports Betting

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Byline: Sean Boyce

HOW barmy and baffling was the hysterical reaction to "news" that one of our top footballers likes a bet?

Michael Owen is a well- known owner of racehorses, as are his former Liverpool pals Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman.

Previous England captain Alan Shearer is also an owner while former England manager Kevin Keegan runs a racehorse-breeding operation with his wife.

Mick Channon has made a huge success of his second career as a racehorse trainer and Sir Alex Ferguson - the most successful British manager in decades - was racehorse owner of the year last season.

It's a fair bet one or two of these guys like the odd flutter on the nags, wouldn't you say? And so what?

What an adult man does with his disposal income is nobody's business but his own... provided that it's legal and harms no other individual.

One thing I don't think is too much to ask though is that professional footballers stick to the gee-gees and leave off having a punt on their own sport. …