Freddy Shepherd defends Owen signing
Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has hit back at claims that he should never have signed Michael Owen.
The out-of-contract, 29-year-old former England international will leave the club for free next week, four years after arriving in a £17m move which made headlines around the world.
However, injuries have limited him to just 79 appearances and critics insist his spell on Tyneside has been nothing short of disastrous.
But Shepherd, the man who brokered a deal he believed would rival the capture of Alan Shearer nine years earlier, remains defiant.
He told the Evening Chronicle: "Hindsight is a great management tool - everybody's wise after the event.
"It's very easy for people to say signing Michael Owen was a disaster, but everybody said it was a fantastic deal at the time.
"There were no dissenters back then. The clamour for him to sign was immense, and I didn't hear any complaints from the thousands who turned up to welcome him on the day he arrived."
Hull and Stoke are the only two clubs to have publicly confirmed their interest in signing Owen, who is desperate to resurrect his international career after falling out of favour with England boss Fabio Capello.
But Shepherd is adamant no-one could have foreseen the two serious injuries which have blighted his time on Tyneside.
He said: "At the time we signed him, his goals-per-game stats were about the best in the business and his pedigree second to none.
"Plus, he had had no career-threatening injuries and we had his fitness stringently checked out, as Real Madrid had a year before.
"Yes, things didn't turn out anything like we hoped and expected they would. But nobody - and I mean nobody - saw it coming."
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month