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18th Dec 2021

Michael Owen says he asked Amazon to remove him from Newcastle punditry duty because he feared for his safety

Robert Redmond

Michael Owen Newcastle

“I wish it was different.”

Michael Owen has said that he asked Amazon Prime Video to remove him from coverage of a Newcastle United match at St James Park because he feared for his safety.

Owen was scheduled to be a pundit for the game between Newcastle, his former club, and Norwich City on November 30.

The former England striker, however, did not want to work at the fixture due to his strained relationship with Magpies supporters.

Michael Owen Newcastle

Michael Owen and Newcastle.

Newcastle made Owen their record signing in 2005 when he joined the club for £16.8m from Real Madrid. Owen wanted to return to Liverpool, but the deal never materialised and he ended up at St James Park instead. The transfer did not work out for either party.

Owen struggled with injuries and played only 79 times in four seasons for Newcastle, scoring 30 goals. He left the club on a free transfer at the end of the 2008/09 season after the Magpies suffered relegation from the Premier League.

Alan Shearer, Owen’s former England and Newcastle teammate, became the club’s interim manager for the final few games of that season in a last-ditch effort to avoid relegation.

Shearer believes that Owen, who did not start Newcastle’s final game of the season, a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa that sealed their fate, did not play through the pain barrier.

Owen strongly refuted that suggestion, and the pair have not spoken since they were involved in a back and forth on Twitter in 2019. Owen’s relationship with Newcastle fans also isn’t in a good place.

So much so, the former Manchester United striker has said that he asked Amazon to remove him from coverage of a recent Newcastle match as he feared for his safety at St James Park.

Michael Owen Newcastle

Michael Owen: I didn’t do punditry on Newcastle game because I feared for my safety.

“As soon as I left (Newcastle), everyone hated me. But I never, ever felt that when I was there – I felt love, be that around the city, the pub or wherever,” Owen told The Daily Mail.

“I was supposed to do the game against Norwich last month. I phoned Amazon and said, ‘I don’t really want to go, I’m scared for my safety’, so they changed my game.

“I wish it was different. I would love to ask the fans, ‘Why don’t you like me?’, and have the chance to give my side.

“Of course, I get some of the reasons. The worst thing I did was buy a helicopter for my family to travel up and down. It’s a s*** perception.”

Owen went on to say that he “loved” the city of Newcastle. And while he would have preferred to have re-joined Liverpool in 2005, he rejected suggestions that did not want to join the Magpies.

“If I didn’t want to go to Newcastle that much, I wouldn’t have bloody signed,” he said.

“I still chose Newcastle over Real Madrid. I wanted to play with Shearer in front of those fans, and I have some great memories.

“But the last season was a disaster, for everyone. It could have been so different, and I really wish it had of been.”