Michael Owen's autobiography sparks Twitter row with Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer and Michael Owen in happier times
Alan Shearer and Michael Owen in happier times

Michael Owen questioned Alan Shearer's loyalty to Newcastle during a heated Twitter row about claims made in the former Liverpool striker's autobiography.

Owen played alongside Newcastle legend Alan Shearer at St James' Park during the 2005-06 season and then under his former England team-mate when the latter returned to the club for a short and ill-fated tenure as manager in 2009.

But in his book 'Reboot - My Life', Owen, who also played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Stoke, described why his injury-hit four-year spell with the Magpies ended up being one of his major career regrets and how his relationship with Shearer fell apart despite once being 'good mates'.

Owen, who scored 30 goals in 79 games, wrote: "My move to Newcastle was one I really regret - I should have followed my gut instincts from the start. I didn't want to go there - my heart was still set on a return to Liverpool.

"Liverpool couldn't match Newcastle's offer. From a career perspective, there was no doubt in my mind that a move to the North East was a downward step."

In regards to a moment he was taken off injured in a game against Watford in 2007, he added: "I could hear Newcastle fans, my fans, singing 'what a waste of money!' as I'm being stretchered off.

"I can't deny their actions that day changed things for me. No longer was I even going to attempt to ingratiate myself with the fans. Instead, I flipped it in a slightly more resentful way thinking, I don't need to justify myself to f****** Newcastle fans."

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LISTEN: Our football team run through the latest news, views and incidents from the Premier League

He also claimed the Toon army are "deluded" and not a "big club" (scroll further down for more on that).

Owen's final season with Newcastle was a disaster and ended in relegation on the final day when Shearer's side failed to get a point at Aston Villa.

He wrote: "I told him that I wasn’t fully fit but was prepared to play. As I left his office that day, he made an insinuation that led me to believe he thought I had half an eye on my next contract. I’m not stupid – we both knew I was out of contract in a few weeks.

"It wasn’t until three months later, I discovered that Alan Shearer was apparently seething with me. Not only that, it transpired that he was telling anyone who’d listen what he thought of me."

Shearer then responded on Twitter by posting a clip of Owen on BT Sport with the caption: "Yes Michael, we thought that also, whilst on £120k a week..."

In the clip, Owen had said: "All I did at the end of my career, the last six or seven years, I hated it. I couldn't wait to retire for most of it."

Owen then hit back at Shearer by questioning the Premier League's record ever goalscorer's loyalty to the Magpies.

He tweeted: "Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate. I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out."

Shearer's MOTD colleague Gary Lineker had retweeted Shearer's response and said: "Awkward".

Owen replied: "Are you surprised he’s manipulated a tiny part of an honest answer to aim a cheap dig at me? Most ex players I’ve spoken to aren’t."

Shearer is still held in the highest regard on Tyneside after scoring a record 206 goals for his home-town club during a 10-year stay, while Owen, who was greeted by a crowd of 20,000 delighted fans when he was officially unveiled, left having been unable to save the Magpies from relegation at the end of the 2008-09 season.

The late Freddy Shepherd, who signed Owen during his reign as chairman, later described his capture as the "worst" deal he had done.

Owen had wanted to re-join former club Liverpool, but the Reds were not prepared to match Newcastle's bid, and he revealed his relationship with the fans was soured when he watched footage of himself being carried off on a stretcher at Watford on Match of the Day and heard fans signing "What a waste of money".

Writing in his book, he said: "Freddy Shepherd came out with the line that he would happily 'carry Michael Owen back to Anfield himself'.

"Being a huge fan of the club also, Freddy was only doing what all the fans constantly do at almost every football club: they believe that their club is 10 per cent bigger and that their team is 10 per cent better than it actually is.

"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."

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