Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Great Deal of Excitement

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Great Deal of Excitement

Article excerpt

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield And Narinder Purba

Newcastle United will today (WED) unveil Michael Owen to their jubilant fans after pulling off the transfer shock of the season.

On a day of high drama at St James's Park, United also closed in on the signing of former Magpies favourite Nolberto Solano while midfielder Jermaine Jenas looked likely to move to Tottenham Hotspur.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at St James's Park minutes after Owen's transfer was announced yesterday, with fans queuing to buy replica shirts bearing Owen's name.

The signing ( which comes with Newcastle second bottom of the Premiership and the only team in England not to score this season ( was hailed as a personal triumph for United chairman Freddie Shepherd.

But it shocked most footballing observers, who had believed Owen would return to his first club Liverpool if he left Real Madrid.

Owen's decision to move to Tyneside comes after he travelled to the North-East for talks with Shepherd, Newcastle manager Graeme Souness and former international team-mate Alan Shearer.

But it represents a major change of heart from the player, who had said he would only come to Newcastle if a move to Liverpool did not come off, and only then on loan.

Announcing the transfer yesterday morning, Freddie Shepherd said: "Bringing Michael to St James's Park will rank alongside the signing of Alan Shearer as my proudest moment at Newcastle United.

"Newcastle fans love centre-forwards and Michael is a fantastic goalscorer. He's someone we would love to build the team around and we hope he can help us bring success to the club."

Supporters who waited hours at St James's Park yesterday hoping for a glimpse of the new Newcastle hero were disappointed, with Owen having his medical elsewhere.

But he will be unveiled by the club today (WED), with fans allowed into the Sir John Hall stand free of charge from 11. …

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