Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Know Why Fans Are Angry, but Ninth Is Not Bad at All; Former United and Liverpool Star Michael Owen on the Magpies' Current Plight

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Know Why Fans Are Angry, but Ninth Is Not Bad at All; Former United and Liverpool Star Michael Owen on the Magpies' Current Plight

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@ncjmedia.co.uk

MICHAEL OWEN says he understands fan frustration at Newcastle United this season - but feels the Magpies could be the "envy" of a host of other clubs going forward.

Having bottomed out the finances at St James' Park, Owen sees United as a different club who tried to throw money at their problems in years gone by.

However, Owen, who arrived at Newcastle from Real Madrid when United were gunning for Champions League places, feels the "stardust" that once had the stadium rocking is one of the ingredients missing.

In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle, Owen - speaking in a preview of the clash between his two old clubs United and Liverpool - said: "It's always an awkward one when you aren't at the club to totally understand everything.

"But I understand Newcastle fans are frustrated at the minute.

"If you'd ask me, or anybody to close their eyes at the start of the season then woke up today and looked at the league table you would look and think, Liverpool have been absolutely brilliant.

"You'd think Everton had done well and you'd think 'Wow look at Manchester United - they've had a nightmare season'.

"You'd also think that it's a good season for Newcastle as well, along with Southampton.

"I keep looking at the table for Newcastle and thinking with the players they've got I can't really fault the job that they, the supporters and the manager has done this season, from afar.

"As we know there are other things that go on at clubs that aren't broadcast nationwide.

"But from afar ninth in the league? Top half? That's a very solid season."

Newcastle chiefs feel that going into an era which will be dominated by UEFA financial fair play rules, the Magpies are a club that have solid foundations to build from.

And Owen added: "They are a club that aren't in huge debt anymore, so they will be the envy of a lot clubs.

"I know there is a lot of frustration there because they aren't challenging for Europe and challenging for the Champions League.

"From afar people are looking at it and thinking it is a good season, and probably are surprised that Alan Pardew is under a lot of pressure."

But Owen admits that a few bigname signings like those from the past could be what is missing at United.

He said: "Every fan wants the same thing. Everyone wants great signings.

"And obviously Newcastle fans have been given that over the years. Maybe the stardust is what's missing at the moment.

"I can totally understand their frustration."

Owen - who was part of a clear out by Mike Ashley back in 2009 when he cut costs after relegation - sees why supporters were upset when Yohan Cabaye was flogged to Paris St-Germain.

He reflected: "They have made money on him. From a business point of view obviously from afar you are looking in and seeing Newcastle have spent very little on a lot of players. …

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