'Have a long hard think': Michael Owen blasts Liverpool fans who question his legacy
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has admitted he is subjected to daily abuse on social media channels from Liverpool fans who refuse to forgive him after he signed for their rivals Manchester United.
After a spectacular career at Liverpool that included match winning performances in major Cup Finals, Owen won his only Premier League title winners' medal after a contentious move to United.
While he had spells at Real Madrid and Newcastle before moving to Old Trafford, Owen has opened up on the online trolls that continue to target him as he moved to United after failing in an attempt to join Liverpool in 2009.
"I get a huge amount of abuse from what I suspect is a minority of Liverpool fans who think that, because I played for a rival club, I shouldn't even be a Liverpool ambassador in the first place," Owen writes in his upcoming book, Reboot.
"That, I'm afraid, is fan-centric nonsense. Not just that, when I trawl through my memory banks, recounting all the great moments I enjoyed with the fans and my fellow players, these opinions sting.
"My record at Liverpool is a good one. I won trophies there, scored goals, won two Golden Boots there and lifted the Ballon d'Or. I played for the club on 297 occasions. I went in where it hurts for the club on countless more instances.
"How does playing for a rival club negate any of that? It doesn't. To think that way is just delusional."
Owen went on to suggest some former Liverpool players get no abuse when the return to the club, despite only having brief playing careers at the club.
"Yes, a football club was once my place of work. But when I left, that contact was broken. I can’t then become a fan – a hanger-on, standing around to remind anyone who might be looking that I once played there. I’m secure enough with my legacy and contributions that I don’t need to," he added.
"Unless I'm contracted to perform some kind of ambassadorial duty that requires me to be at a club, I'd be mortified to be seen there.
"I don't know why this is, but I'm actually proud to feel this way. The same applies to asking favours from former clubs. As much as I played for Manchester United and Real Madrid, I wouldn't dream of phoning them up to look for a couple of match tickets.
"I suspect they'd have no problem with it if I did, but I’d never dream of doing it. I'm like my dad Terry in that sense. I respect myself, and the clubs, too much to go cap in hand for anything for free. Again, I'd be embarrassed. Yet, I see ex-pros doing it all the time.
"While fans are happy to question my credentials, you've got guys hanging around. Liverpool and every other club, with fancy titles, wearing tracksuits, being ambassadors, who played there for one season, didn't do much for the club and kicked a ball for two minutes while they were at it!
"It's all such nonsense – and fans sometimes need to stop and have a long hard think about how some of their opinions are so contradictory. Worth adding too is that these opinions only ever seem to surface on the internet."