Liverpool fans still haven’t forgiven Michael Owen for signing for Manchester United.
Owen was a Liverpool hero after graduating through the academy and going on to score 158 goals for the club. He was so good that he won the Ballon d’Or in 2001.
His decision to move to Real Madrid in 2004 upset Liverpool supporters but they could understand the reasons why. The opportunity to become a ‘Galactico’ and play alongside some of the best players in world football was a chance he simply couldn’t say no to.
However, when he opted to sign for Manchester United five years later, it was met with anger by Kopites.
From Anfield hero to Anfield villain.
Owen would be booed upon his return to Anfield for the remainder of his career – even during various charity matches.
While supporters didn’t approve of his switch to United, there was one Liverpool player who was quite excited by the prospect.
A certain Jamie Carragher couldn’t wait to speak to Owen on the phone after making his Man Utd debut.
Well, because he wanted to hear all about Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I always remember coming off the pitch for the first time and looking at my phone in the dressing room,” Owen told the Football Ramble in 2018.
Carragher text me – we’re big mates. It said ‘Phone me as soon as you can mate, I want you to let me know what a Fergie team talk is like.’
That just highlights how highly Ferguson is thought of in the football world. Even a Liverpool legend like Carragher was desperate to get an insight into the Scottish manager.
Liverpool fans may not understand but the prospect of playing under Fergie was just far too good to turn down for Owen.
However, Owen did once say no to Ferguson and United at the age of 12.
“I was 12 years old in Sir Alex Ferguson’s office when he looked me straight in the eye and said: ‘Do you want to play for Man United?” Owen once revealed.
“The answer was no, because my heart was in Liverpool at that time.”
Ferguson later wrote in his autobiography: “If Michael had joined us at 12 years old, he would have been one of the great strikers. I think the lack of rest and technical development in his early years counted against him.”