If Michael Owen thought he was unpopular before he released his new book, he should just wait to see how much he is disliked on Tyneside after the Toon Army have read it.
The former Ballon d’Or winner was, up until January, still the Magpies’ record signing after joining from Real Madrid in 2005, but he never truly reached his full potential at St. James’ Park, hitting 30 goals in 79 appearances.
And now, as reported by the Chronicle, he has seen fit to launch a scathing attack on the club’s fans, claiming that they are deluded.
Writing in his new book – Reboot – My Life, My Time – as quoted by the local outlet, Owen writes: “This kind of blind delusion is especially true of Newcastle United – which, as I reach for the nearest tin hat, is only a big club in the sense that it has a lot of fans and a big stadium.
“They’re historically not successful off the pitch, in fact quite the opposite mostly. And they’ve never really won much on it in recent times.”
This is remarkable stuff from Owen, and it is rare to hear a player lay into a club that they used to represent so freely and without hesitation.
In fact, you’d almost admire his honesty, if what he was saying was actually true.
The truth of the matter is that the Toon faithful are fully aware of where they stand in the history of English football, and what realistic ambitions for their team should be.
They may have struggled for trophies in recent years, but they have a loyal fanbase that regularly packs out their “big stadium” in spite of a toxic owner, and it wasn’t too long ago that they were pitting their wits against Europe’s best in the Champions League.
Nobody is advocating for the Magpies winning the league, but having some pride and passion for your club is no crime, and Owen might do well to remember that next time he starts disparaging the Toon Army.