Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

With Hindsight, I Would Not Sign Owen Again - but There Weren't Too Many Complaints

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

With Hindsight, I Would Not Sign Owen Again - but There Weren't Too Many Complaints

Article excerpt

FREDDY SHEPHERD admits if he had his time again he would NOT sign Michael Owen - but says that there were few complaints at the time.

There was plenty of public support on his arrival as 20,000 fans turned up to welcome him at St James' Park.

The former Toon chairman may have endured his fair share of stick at St James' but feels he can't be accused of not trying to bring the best players in Europe to United.

In his later years as United chief he signed Patrick Kluivert from Barcelona, brought in then Premier League title winner Damien Duff from Chelsea, paid Inter Milan PS14m for Obafemi Martins and snapped up Nicky Butt from Manchester United.

Shepherd admits they were all capable performers at the time - and Owen is included on that list.

Newcastle found themselves in a straight shootout with Liverpool for the then Real Madrid man's services before he agreed a PS16m deal to sign for United.

Owen's arrival - during the ill-fated Graeme Souness era - came with Alan Shearer a season away from retirement and was celebrated like winning a trophy at Newcastle.

Shepherd told the Chronicle: "Michael was a great player, but financially it didn't turn out a good deal.

"I think at the end of the day when 20,000 people turn up just to see somebody sign and welcome him you know at the time it's a good deal.

"I didn't hear anybody saying, 'Don't buy him then'. " Owen scored goals in the early part of his United career as he and Shearer began a Toon revival. But the ex-Kop star broke his foot on New Year's Eve 2005 and was injured for five months.

Shepherd said: "When he started getting injuries there was a lot of noise then, that we had made a bad mistake.

"Hindsight is a great tool.

Certainly with Owen it didn't work out as it should have. Injuries are injuries and this can happens.

"Would I do it again? …

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