The Owen Brochure

Monday, June 15, 2009 12:30 | Filed in Sport

Michael Owen, scorer of 200 goals (160 club, 40 country), tormentor of Argentina in the 1998 world cup, signed by Newcastle United only 4 years ago, finds that his stock has fallen somewhat. A man for whom Newcastle paid £17 million four years ago, who Real Madrid signed the year before that — when he only had one year left on his contract — for £8 million, is now struggling to find a club.

Four years ago he was one of the hottest properties in football: guaranteed to be the first name on the teamsheet for his country. Fast forward to the end of last season and you witness a fit Michael Owen being left on the bench by his big mate Alan Shearer as Newcastle lurch towards relegation. For whatever reason, Alan didn’t think he was good enough for a team in the bottom three of the premiership.

Ouch. I bet that smarted. So Michael is now obviously struggling to find a club, and what better than to send a brochure around prospective clubs:

That means he can leave on a free transfer — with a reported £1million-a- year signing-on fee — but so far no clubs have contacted his advisers to negotiate an escape from the club who were relegated on the final day of the season last month. That has prompted his management company, Wasserman Media Group, whose clients include Alan Shearer and Steven Gerrard, to send a 30-page document to selected clubs telling them why they should give Owen a chance. Daily Mail

Of course, like any advertising brochure, it’s what the brochure doesn’t tell you that is what you have to watch out for.

Things like:

  • Michael Owen cost Newcastle (including just transfer fee and salary) £1.61 million for every goal he scored.
  • At Liverpool, Owen averaged 0.55 goals per game; at Real Madrid 0.46 goals per game; in his first season at Newcastle (whilst severly hampered by injury), he achieved a remarkable 0.64 goals per game. And then he picked up that injury against Sweden on England duty.
  • In his following three seasons at Newcastle, his goals per game ratio dropped considerably to 0.34 (despite generally being first-choice penalty taker). Why? Well, part of the reason is the Newcastle squad wasn’t so good, wasn’t providing so many chances, but part of the reason was…
  • Michael Owen no longer seems to be the Michael Owen before that injury. Not only has his explosive pace gone, but his instinctive touch, his natural lethal finishing seems to have gone also. While he still stored 8 goals for Newcastle last season, he missed chance after chance that I would have expected the old Michael to have scored…
  • Michael appears to be quite an injury prone player: in a 12 year professional career (I’m exluding his first season, when he only appeared twice) in an astonishing nine of those seasons, he’s played 30 or less league games. And it’s not getting better: in his four seasons at Newcastle, he averaged less than 18 league appearances per season. Effectively costing the club £590,000 per league appearance

I’m sure he’s a nice bloke, mind you. And at the time Newcastle signed him, I think he was one of the world’s best strikers. Unfortunately, he’s never been the same since that injury. I wish him all the best, but equally if your club is considering splashing out the cash for him, you need to be aware of some of the things that probably won’t be featured in the brochure…

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1 Comment to The Owen Brochure

  1. mark says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    i think the fact that he’s having to send out sales literature says it all

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