The Michael Owen non-contract offer kerfuffle – The facts and the figures

Posted on March 25th, 2013 | 18 Comments |

Michael Owen.
Owen: A bit of backtracking.
“Newcastle fans, following my Football Focus interview, plenty of you tweeting me saying you don’t blame me for getting injured but for leaving when we got relegated.”

“Despite the club saying they did, they didn’t ever offer me a new contract despite them putting it in the press that they did. How could they when they had just been relegated? It would have been financial suicide. I’ve seen it a million times, a club will blatantly lie to their fans to take the moral high ground leaving the player with no leg to stand on. I’ve taken the stick for years which is fine but you really don’t know half of it. All will be revealed one day.”

Tweeted Michael Owen on his final season at Newcastle United. Then however, he backtracked somewhat, updating his Twitter with the following:

“Just to clarify. My tweet yesterday referred to no contract offer after Newcastle relegation. Which I said was understandable. Newcastle did make me an offer to extend in 2008 when Joe Kinnear was manager. Apologies to the club if there has been any confusion. I just didn’t want the fans to think I had deserted the club after relegation. I didn’t.”

Of course, there was never really a question over whether the club actually offered Owen a new contract once the relegation of the club in that season was a reality. As Owen said himself in his first series of tweets, it would have been “financial suicide,” unless, of course, he was offered a deal so low that Owen and his representatives would never have accepted it in a million years. After all, Michael’s price for the humiliation of playing Championship football at that time would have been higher, not lower, much like the price our recent Europa League opponents had to pay the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Willian to play in Dagestan. Nonetheless, I did a little backtracking of my own to remind myself what the club did say to the media about offering the Wirral Whippet a new deal at the club. I was curious as none of the so called journalists who reported Owen’s comments with such fervour seemed to bother actually checking what was said by Newcastle United’s representatives in the past about Owen’s contract renewal.

As you might expect, it was Newcastle United’s Managing Director, Derek Llambias, who was the one to speak on the issue; and it was much as I recalled from the time. Though he may not have said that he offered Owen a contract after the side were relegated, he did say in February 2009 a new contract offer was made in the previous year (the one mentioned by Owen), and also that they were going to sit down “soon” and thrash something out one way or the other. On this Llambias said in an interview:

“We offered Michael a new contract and he has chosen to walk away and think about his future. It’s not on the table any more after January 1. But we’ll be sitting down with him again soon and seeing what he wants to do. It’s difficult – he’s a goalscorer who has 10 already this season in the games he’s played.

“It’s down to Michael.

“He’s done his term here, and it was lucrative, but he’s decided he wants to wait until the end of the season. So it’s a case of watch this space.”

As Owen has now confirmed himself, that didn’t happen, and Owen’s representatives made a very nice glossy brochure (dated 3rd Jume 2009) in an attempt to sell Michael’s wares to other Premiership clubs. Almost exactly a month after that brochure was distributed to a select group of Premiership clubs, he received an invitiation to breakfast “out of the blue” (Owen’s words) from Sir Alex Ferguson, where old purple nose told Owen that he wanted to sign him for Manchester United.

Moving on to June 2011 though when Owen had been a Manchester United player for quite some time, Llambias made a bitter riposte in the media to Owen’s comments of the time, where he said that playing less often in a top team like Manchester United was better than playing every game in a poor team like Newcastle United (though he didn’t mention either by name). In response to this Llambias blasted:

“Michael is the most expensive signing Newcastle has ever made and I’m disappointed with his comments. Under Kevin Keegan’s management he was offered a one-year extension at £140,000 a week which he did not take. He was already on £133,000 a week. Quite honestly, what did Newcastle United get out of it? His time here cost £40-odd million, about £1.3m per goal.”

If the £133,000 per week figure was true (which is usually hard to tell with Llambias), the exact sum he was referring to would be £44,464,000.00, which when divided by 30 (the amount of goals Owen scored at the club) would be £1,482,133.33 per goal. These figures been oft quoted by other NUFC blogs as a weapon to beat Owen. However, it is slightly incorrect. This is because Llambias omitted to include the considerable amount Newcastle United received from the FA as compensation for the rather nasty cruciate ligament injury Owen picked up playing for England in the 2006 World Cup. According to an NUFC spokesman in June 2007, this amounted to “around £10 million.”

So, if true, this would mean that Owen cost Newcastle United a grand total of £34,464,000.00 rather than £44,464,000.00, and Owen’s goals would have cost a mere £1,148,800.00 each, not £1,300,000.00. Either way though, at least we can be sure that at the very least, Owen’s goals were still much cheaper than Fernando Torres’s goals have been for Chelsea, or even worse, Andy Carroll’s goals for Liverpool.

Incidentally, in his own response to the same comments from Owen, Llambias’s predecessor as Pantomime villain in the Newcastle United hotseat, “Fat” Freddy Shepherd, also made his own slightly inaccurate calculations on how much Owen cost Newcastle United, though he preferred to do it on a per game basis rather than a per goal basis like our current MD.

Fat Freddy fumed:

“We might have been a poor team, but we made him a rich man. It works out at around £500,000 for every game in a Newcastle shirt. Poor? Well, he wasn’t poorer for it. He spent more time ferrying between Cheshire and Tyneside in his £3.5m helicopter.”

Using the £34,464,000.00 figure above, it would have been more like £436,253.16 per game.

I need to get out more.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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18 Responses

  1. worky, your attention to detail and facts and figures is admirable my friend,albeit a little sad to the outside world who just want to here that we have been linked with rooney,messi et al.

  2. sammy d says:
    March 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    “worky, your attention to detail and facts and figures is admirable my friend,albeit a little sad to the outside world who just want to here that we have been linked with rooney,messi et al.”

    Sammy, I wouldn’t say that all Newcastle United fans are that dull, though funnily enough, I was just writing a story on how those kinds of stories start. The one linking Wilfried Bony with Newcastle United started on here of all places. The fact that it “angered” Derek Llambias (according to Mark Douglas in the Journal anyway) really made my f***ing day! :lol:

  3. OK – lets look at the recorded facts. It’s really quite simple.

    Owen said he was not offered a contract in 2009 when the Toon were relegated and that is 100% correct. He turned down a contract on 22nd December 2008 when Newcastle would have been in 12th place , just a win away from 8th.
    So how do we arrive at the conclusion that it was because we were going into the Championship? It was months before it happened.

    Come on guys. Give it a rest. Owen was a phenomenal player who turned out to be prone to injury. It wasn’t his fault. He did the best he could and looked after his family while doing it.

    How is it we cheer Ameobi and Ben Arfa unreservedly when one makes Owen look indestructible by comparison and the other has yet to figure out that “Atishoo, Atishoo, We All Fall Down” is not a valid premiere league tactic?

    He certainly hung around longer than Ba!

    Now – let me wind a few of you up.

    Owen and Shearer had very similar careers. In the league Shearer scored once every 1.9 games while Owen scored once every 2.1 games. So – 1 in 2 for both – not bad.

    Shearer played 63 times for England scoring 30 times while Owen played 89 times, scoring 40.

    Seems rather strange that one is considered a god by the fans while the other is despised.

    Yes – being a Toon fan is a very emotive business but maybe we need to get over some stuff and show a little more respect.

    As for his comments about preferring Man U to Newcastle? Come on – all players are happy to move to their new clubs.

  4. Archie Brand says:
    March 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    “So how do we arrive at the conclusion that it was because we were going into the Championship? It was months before it happened.”

    Who’s arrived at that conclusion on here, Archie?

  5. Archie @ 3: yes, the stats are nice and all. Did you watch the football? If you did and you don’t know why Shearer (played with injuries, tough as nails, lead the line and of course, local) is more beloved than Owen (record signing, horses, injuries on international duty, says he’d rather sit the bench at MU than start here) I doubt that I or anyone else will be able to explain it to you. Yes, it is somewhat emotive-I’ll give you that.

  6. archie if you watched the whole scenario unfold you could clearly see owen becoming less and less willing to play when the going got tough and the games were not so glamerous (no surprise to me he did not show face at our place this season) the man plays when he fancies.
    To even mention his name in the same article as shola and shearer is blasphemy as these players have served our club for years, I do not despise Owen but I have no respect for him at all because you have to earn respect.
    I named my son Shay Owen in 2006, how I wish it was Shay Shola.

  7. Michael had the same problem at Liverpool too. They idolised the likes of Robbie Fowler, Dalglish, Rush etc but never Owen for whatever reason, even though he did score alot of goals there and never really had the injury problems he had at Newcastle United.

  8. I have never met Michael Owen and doubt I ever will. I have no remorse over this whatsoever, and I suspect, nor does he. However, I would imagine that he is a very canny, calculating, “professional” individual who cares mainly, if not exclusively, about himself and doesn’t really give too much of a toss for others outside of his purview. Right not he is attempting to manage his image, but I can well understand why Liverpool fans regard him much as we do. Manure will remember that he was a former Liverpool hero who turned his back on them and scored the winner against their other hated rivals, Man City. Michael Owen is out for himself, and always will be. He has every right to be so, but so do we for seeing him how we do. Some will admire his ultra-professional image; personally, I really don’t care.

  9. no doubt!, the lad when fit, was a world class striker, who’s career was blighted by injuries.
    he’s off his bin if he thought the club were going to offer him anything, when they were relegated.
    i’m not going to go down the road of saying, “owen was suspect in his determination”, whilst wearing a black n
    white shirt.
    he did when fit, do his bit for the side, and there wasn’t just him, who was sh**e, when we went down.

    my problem with him, was his career footballer mentality, where he had little or no passion or interest, in the club he happened to be playing for, at the given time.
    although i wouldn’t say he was suspect on the pitch, his whole motivation was the england national team, and being fit for them.

    i have heard liverpool fans say, once the football was over, he left for home, and rarely stayed to sign autographs, and do things for sick kids, in the local hospitals etc.
    apparently he was the same at newcastle, well he was taking helicopter rides backwards and forwards.

    i see him as a selfish little barsteward, who was only in football for the lifestyle, it afforded him.
    geordie money has funded those horseracing stables he built.

    all in all i’ve got no time for the hungry little cnut, and he stands as a beacon of the modern selfish detached from reality, modern day footballer.

  10. worky, despite the rivalry, would you not want to see the derby games continue?
    i would rather have sunderland in the prem, and the banter of the derby, than see hull citys across the pond stuff, with their tiger claw waves.

    personally i think their problems stem from ellis short being burned by roy keane, and mrs doubtfire, stevie bruce.
    they’ve paid inflated prices for crap, connor whickham anyone?

  11. joe hawkins says:
    March 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

    “worky, despite the rivalry, would you not want to see the derby games continue?
    i would rather have sunderland in the prem, and the banter of the derby, than see hull citys across the pond stuff, with their tiger claw waves.”

    Aye, I do see your point Joe, but when we were relegated, their beady little eyes were rolling into the back of their skulls with excitement and they just wouldn’t let it go.

    As you know, I live in London so I’m a bit more distant from it all. However, I empathise with my fellow Geordies up there who know that when Sunderland are relegated, they can go into work safe in the knowledge that they won’t get too much backchat from their humbled Mackem colleagues and so on…

    When Sunderland are in the Premiership it’s two Derby games, but when Sunderland are in the Championship, it’s a whole season of delight watching them squirm.

    It’s a difficult question.

  12. Norman Stanley Michael Owen, you are a habitual horse breeder and I sentence you to one year on the bench at Stokerly Prison.

  13. Whatever people’s thoughts about Michael Owen, is there really any call for this hateful crap? All posted by the same blog within a few hours.

    Money-Grabbing Owen To Become An Agent!

    Did Owen REFUSE To Go On St James’ Park Pitch?

    “Yet on the night Owen used Twitter to goad Newcastle fans saying “40 Newcastle fans asked for my autograph outside the hotel and didn’t have a bad word to say to me.”

    “He would have found 50,000 willing to prove him wrong HAD he shown he was a MAN and gone on the pitch at St James’ Park that day.”

    “What sad futile world does that knob-head live in?”

    Michael Owen – ‘I Lied About Newcastle!’

    “Owen will ALWAYS remain a hated figure among Newcastle fans … BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LITTLE TOSSER!”