Michael Owen has claimed Alan Shearer ‘tried everything to get out’ of Newcastle as the two former England strikers got into a war of words on social media platform Twitter.
Owen spent four years at Newcastle and was part of the side that got relegated from the Premier League in 2008/09.
Shearer was interim manager for part of that season, taking charge of his beloved club for the final eight matches of the season.
His record of just a single win and two draws meant the Magpies failed to secure survival and were knocked down to the Championship with Shearer in charge.
Owen scored eight league goals throughout Newcastle’s relegation season, and a large potion of the blame for their relegation was laid at his feet – and he claims Shearer made no secret of his distaste for the former Liverpool striker.
In an extract from his new book, Reboot – My Life, My Time, serialised by The Mirror, Owen writes: “He [Shearer] was brought in at St. James’ Park as the saviour, the local boy. It could have been a great story.
“But he failed. Newcastle United were relegated. Perhaps rather than examine his own shortcomings, it felt easier to blame Michael Owen.
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“I was a week away from fitness for the final game of the season that saw Newcastle needing a point at Aston Villa to avoid relegation.
“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.
“When you analyse it, it all makes sense. Shearer’s record as manager in the last eight games of that 2008/2009 season was dire: lost 5, drew 2, won 1. These are hardly God-like stats.
“The truth is, the damage was done long before we went to Villa Park needing to draw. I feel a little sorry for him.
“I’m gutted for him that it never worked out at Newcastle, Alan Shearer and I still haven’t talked this out face to face and that’s a shame because, as I’ve said many, many times, we were very good friends.”
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Shearer clearly did not take kindly to Owen’s comments and hit out at the forward on Twitter.
The St James’ Park hero shared a video of Owen saying he couldn’t wait to retire for the last seven years of his career, adding the caption: “Yes Michael, we thought that also, whilst on £120k a week.”
Not content with taking the criticism, Owen hit back and accused Shearer of faking his loyalty to Newcastle, especially as he once ‘tried everything to get out’ of the club and sign for Liverpool.
“Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate,” Owen wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Though Owen did not divulge details, it appears he is referring to an incident in 2004 when Shearer was benched for a UEFA Cup clash against Valerenga.
Sir Bobby was allegedly keen on selling Shearer to the Reds due to a clause in his contract which meant the England icon must be Newcastle’s highest-paid player. This clause was preventing the Magpies spending big money in the transfer market, as Shearer would require wage increases if big-name players were brought in.
The pair endured a fractious relationship around this time, though they appeared to be getting on well until Sir Bobby benched his captain in Europe.
Noticeably, Owen accuses Shearer of trying to force a move to Liverpool, while reports at the time claim the striker did NOT want to leave Tyneside, with Sir Bobby pursuing a possible deal instead.
We are sure this saga is going to rumble on and on until the truth finally comes out.