If you’d told me back when I was 9 that Michael Owen’s career would end in a pretty embarrassing series of events, from sitting on the bench of St. James’ Park watching his team get relegated to the constant injuries and ineffectiveness, I’d have been delighted. I just didn’t expect him to be doing it in the fucking number 7 shirt at United.
There’s a huge conflict here, personally - attempting to conjure up the requisite level of bitterness and venom towards one of the blandest men ever to walk the planet. This is always the way with goal-poachers, really. Javier Hernandez may be adorable, but you wouldn’t want him to organise your stag night. Filippo Inzaghi has a face like a P45. Kevin Phillips is about as likely to start a Twitter row as Dixie Dean. And that’s saying nothing of tepidity’s own deity, Wor Alan.
In a way, that makes sense, and fits with the image of the striker as a heartless, cruel finishing machine. But Mickey doesn’t fit that mould either. He tweets like he plays - blandly, without joy or vigour, going through the turgid motions regardless of the importance or timing of the subject at hand. He’s routinely praised by journalists for his openness and willingness to discuss subjects other footballers keep their counsel on - wisely, if their opinions are as dull as “I’m in favour of goal-line technology, but only if it’s properly implemented.”
Really though, we eventually gain a window into the insecure mind of Owen. A man who counts his goals for England Under-15s in his all-time record, a trick more commonly used by legendary Brazilian strikers who start counting goals they scored in the back garden against their kids in order to claim they’ve scored 1,000 career goals. Still talking about ‘us’ and ‘we’ when he was behind Mame Biram Diouf in United’s pecking order. Still referring to Alex Ferguson as ‘the boss’ when he’d been let go. It all adds up to the picture of a man whose bio may as well be I WON THE BALLON D’OR ONCE. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT GOAL AGAINST ARGENTINA.
That’s Owen in a nutshell. He effectively retired two years ago, and his ambition is now to get six games a season, each consisting of 15 minutes, for a big club to try and eke a bit more money out while he’s already devoted himself to attempting to secure himself a future role in punditry, and horses. Fuck, the horses. Neverending tweets which reveal that even though it’s clearly a far bigger passion for him than football, he can barely muster the energy to get excited about it. My horse won, which is nice. My horse lost, which is disappointing. Repeat Ad Nauseum.
In essence, he’s @NormalTweetGuy. Not ‘football’s answer to’, or ‘a bit like’, he is the same account. And if people want to live the dullest lives imaginable and preserve their bodies to get a longer playing career, then they’ll make more money out of it. They’re the last people we should be handing out punditry gigs to. England may only ever truly love you if you cry in public or become an alcoholic, but Paul Gascoigne did both and he’s not exactly set up for life at the moment. Michael Owen will be. Mediocrity is the most lucrative business in the game.
"Here we go. New season about to kick off. Can’t wait!"
"I’m a huge fan of all of our Olympians but I struggle to understand the low opinion most people have towards footballers."
"My SPOTY order. 1. Wiggins 2. Farah 3. Murray / Hoy / Ennis (can’t choose!)"