ISPORT.ua together with the project partner, Carlsberg, continues the series on the history of the Reds.
Michael Owen just can not be called the most outstanding player and striker of Liverpool. In the team’s history there were many bright forwards who impressed the fans much more – Ian rush, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez… However, Owen remains unique to Liverpool. The Englishman was the only one who won the Golden ball in the shirt of Liverpool.
Moreover, in addition to Michael, only four players in the Liverpool team has ever got in the top three of this award – Kenny Dalglish in 1983, Steven Gerrard in 2005, Fernando Torres in 2008 and Virgil van Dijk in the past. And is that the Dutch were really close to winning the Golden ball. However, the triumph of Messi allowed Owen to stay unique to Liverpool.
Michael often recognized that “red” was his only native team. Although his many attribute’s principal rivals Liverpool. Owen was born in a large family in Chester. His father was not only a fan of Everton, but his former player (1966-1970). However, in the “butterscotch” he spent only two games, but throughout my career the most memorable for Chester and Rochdale.
In the childhood Michael loved to visit the “Goodison Park”, admiring the beautiful play of the team of Howard Kendall. 80-ies of the last century was successful for Everton. The team has produced 8 titles, including two championship and victory in the Cup winners ‘ Cup in 1985. However, father did not see his son in football and tried to instill in him the love of Boxing. However, this activity did not take root for Michael, who always thought about becoming a football player.
In the end, Terry listened to the son and gave him to the local soccer school, who advised his friend. There Michael immediately saw the speed and technique of the player, backed up by great thinking. The impact of the striker was impressed by local coaches and soon the young scorer knew a lot of scouts from different clubs. In one season, Owen scored 24 goals in 34 games and received an invitation for the new tournament, which is attended by representatives of the top clubs.
There Michael also extravaganza, scoring seven goals, earning an invitation from the scouts of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. It’s hard to say what attracted the father of Owen in Liverpool, but his choice he made in favor of this team. Although Michael himself never lost his love for Everton and his hero, Gary Lineker.
However, “red” Owen, do not cherish hatred. It’s worth noting that Everton’s hard to call it an “enemy” of Liverpool. The neighbors in Mersyside always desperately compete with each other and the confrontation of their work are very crucial. But to hate it almost never reached. Thus, the love for Everton did not prevent Owen admiring the Liverpool 80’s with Kenny Dalgleish headed.
In 12 years, Michael eventually moved to the Academy of Liverpool and already five years later made his debut for the first team. For a couple of rounds to finish the Premier League season 1996/1997 Owen came in the game against Wimbledon and scored in the first game. However, his team lost 1:2 and lost the chance at the championship.
Well, the next season was Michael’s breakthrough. The player won a place in the first team and scored 23 goals for the season, including 18 in the Premier League. This allowed him to become the League’s top scorer with Dion Tablinum (Coventry) and Chris Sutton (Blackburn). However, Liverpool became only the third, behind Arsenal on 13 points. On the other hand, Michael first played for England, becoming the youngest debutant in history (later the record was broken by Theo Walcott in 2006).
In the season 1998/1999 in Liverpool came Gerard Houllier, but the striker is not affected. Michael again scored 18 goals and shared the lead in the scoring race with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds) and Dwight Yorke (Manchester United). However, this time the “Reds” finished already the seventh. Under Houllier Liverpool were in principle far from the League title, however, perfectly proved in the Cup games.
A turning point for Michael was the season 2000/2001. Owen took a while to recover from severe injuries and even for some time was forced to sit on the bench. However, in the end of the season Michael broke through. First, the striker scored a brace against Roma and helped his team to pass to the 1/4 finals of the UEFA Cup. But in the final of the FA Cup, Owen scored a brace against Arsenal, bringing his team to the trophy. The UEFA Cup and were also beaten by the Reds at the end of a crazy finale with alavesa (5:4). The “icing” on the cake began winning goals in the FA community shield in the gate of Manchester United and the UEFA super Cup at the gate of Bavaria.
In this way Owen has earned the right to be the first owner of the Golden ball in the shirt of Liverpool. You could say that Michael almost had no competitors. In 2001, there were neither the world Cup nor the European championship and in the Champions League final Bayern Munich defeated Valencia. In voting for the award Michael got ahead of Raul Gonzalez and Oliver Kahn.
However, Raul and Kahn were the only leaders excellent mechanism for their clubs. But Owen is so much stood out in his team that see it to contrast with the other players Liverpool was the easiest. Despite the presence of quality players in attack (Fowler, Gerrard, Heskey, McAllister), that Michael “made the difference”.
After a fabulous season with Liverpool, many began to perceive as a favourite of the Premier League for next season. But the team was more Cup. Wards the Hive desperately trying to impose Arsenal, but eventually finished the season second. However, Owen himself was not lowered the bar, and remained on the level. In seven seasons at Anfield he only once scored less than 20 goals in a season (1999/2000), when an injury forced him for some time to forget about football. The rest of the Michael fumed and raged.
Perhaps it is the failure of Liverpool to meet the ambitions of Michael influenced the further career of the Englishman. At Anfield, Owen was an icon and he forgave every mistake. It is thanks to the performances for the Liverpool player so early made his debut for the national team and was a regular player. Moreover, immediately after the first call to the national team in 1998 Michael was included Glenn Haddam in the squad for the French world Cup. There Owen mostly came on as a sub, but still scored two goals and scored 11-meter penalty shootout with Argentina.
Owen traveled with the team and at subsequent major tournaments, which never left without goals (one an accurate hit at Euro 2000, two in 2002 world Cup and one for Euro 2004). Maybe that’s what allowed Michael to start the search for a new team with which he could fight not only for the title but for the Champions League. And then there’s the Liverpool left the Hive, who so believed in Michael… As a result, in 2004, Owen was tempted by the offer of real Madrid and left his home team.
Then fate and broke the career “Golden Englishman.” In Madrid, the striker became only a part of the “Galacticos” where it did not see the player base. Still, given the competition with Raul, Ronaldo and Morientes on the edge of… and the character of Owen much more suited to Liverpool than real Madrid, which relied on the powerful players in front. The speed of Owen in Spain has not been rewarded.
With real Madrid player has not won a trophy. And considering that in parallel in the same season his Liverpool managed to impress Europe and to win the Champions League under the guidance of Rafa Benitez, Owen certainly had a reason to bite his elbows. Their 16 goals in the Madrid team Michael still scored. However, in the summer of 2005, the striker wanted to return to Albion. There are up to Newcastle, which went on to own the record to purchase Owen in a couple of Shearer. Michael cost “magpies” at 17 million pounds.
However, injuries began to pester the player. In his first season, Owen has played only 11 matches and scored already 7 times. England coach Sven-göran Eriksson was not afraid to make the player in a bid for the German world Cup, but all eventually ended badly for Owen. After two “dry” match in the group, Michael broke the “crosses” in the third match (against Sweden) and was forced to forget about football for a long time.
Fully return the player could only in the 2007/2008 season, although due to injuries he still didn’t play. And still 23 goals in his last two seasons on “St. James Park” Owen scored. He showed that in his class he has not lost. It seemed that in this situation, Owen could return to Liverpool to finish his career (at Anfield still on him was only warm memories). But Michael not only managed to surprise fans of the Merseysiders, but they cause real anger.
Having the status of a free agent, Owen has put his signature under the contract with Manchester United. At old Trafford the striker saw only the option to enhance in the course of the match, secretly hoping for the return of forms “that” Owen. The miracle did not happen, but 25 goals in three seasons Michael still scored. Oh, and he won the Premier League in the 2010/2011 season, but in MU “taxiing” all the other players. About Owen-scorer of the already almost forgotten.
The Englishman finished his career in the season 2012/2013, played last year at Stoke city (one goal in 9 games). Still, Michael remembered exactly player of Liverpool, where he spent his best years. His decision to leave Anfield in 2004 became a defining moment for his career. Who knows what would have made Liverpool with Owen and how would his let in football, if Michael believed in Rafa Benitez decided to keep him in the team.
However, Liverpool still managed to forgive Owen for not only nursing in the real world, but also for his career at Manchester United. Recently Michael worked as an Ambassador at the club, combining work with journalism. Perhaps for many fans of the team forward and will remain a traitor, but the British will remember Owen’s exclusively as extremely talented striker. And rightly so, because Michael was a truly unique person for Liverpool.
Anatoly Derek ISPORT.ua
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