It’s confirmed now. Michael Owen will be joining Real Madrid, with Real’s Antonio Nunez coming to Anfield in a cash-plus-player deal. (Some British media reports indicate the cash value to be approximately £ 8 million.)
Maybe it’s a good thing. It looks certain now that the first-choice front two will be Cisse and Baros, and I do believe that as long as they both have enough chances to play together, the understanding will come.
What I am worried about now is a lack of attacking cover. 3 strikers (including Sinama-Pongolle) are not enough to cover for the injuries and suspension that will undoubtedly afflict the Reds during the season.
Nevertheless, while I sit here and hope, no, PRAY that Owen’s departure will not seriously jeopardise the team’s chances, my mind inevitably strays to all the good times that we – the Liverpool supporters and Michael Owen – have shared for the last 7 years.
I remember listening to the radio back in Uni days in the UK, following the Liverpool vs Wimbledon match – the final match of the 96/97 season – when a young 17 year old starlet from Liverpool’s youth team came off the bench and scored on his debut. I’d known of his name before his debut for he was one of the most hyped-about young players in the country. He would then continue to build his solid young career by coming to Malaysia as part of the England Under-21 national team for the 1997 World Youth Cup that summer. But then, perhaps only Liverpool supporters with a keen interest in the club’s youth team and Academy players would have heard his name.
For the 1997-98 season, he played a starring role for Liverpool, scoring 23 goals and almost single-handedly helped Liverpool to qualify for Europe next season. Indeed, it was the fact that the club relied so much on Owen, that forced the LFC board to consider a change of manager – a decision that saw Houllier arriving as joint-manager in the summer.
Who could forget the impact the young England international made in France ’98? The famous goal against Argentina – one that I expect to see played continuously on the TV screen for the next few days – will undoubtedly be one of his – and our – fondest memories.
How about the amazing late goal-brace against Arsenal in the 2001 FA Cup final? The Gunners can gripe all they want, but hey, you scored one, we scored two – end of story.
How about the fact that Owen became the first English player to win the European Footballer of the Year award in 2001 since Kevin Keegan won it back in 1979?
Ahh, memories. Michael Owen may no longer be staying, but the memories will last forever.
Thanks for all the good times, mate. Good luck in Spain.
This article also appears in Chit-Chat Bola