Today, footballer Michael Owen broke the news that he is to retire from all football at the end of the season. At the age of 33, it perhaps is understandable. Owen is not getting any better, and a lack of performances for his current club Stoke City has seen just 1 goal from 7.
On the other hand, as I write this, I have to genuinely say that I am gutted about his announcement today. For me, Michael Owen will always be my first ever football hero. He seemed such a fantastic person, and from the age of 18 was set to hit the big time.
Having read his autobiography, Owen constantly talks of his family in the highest regard, notably his father. In his statement given today, Owen refers to his family as the most important factor in his life.
I will never forget the happiness I felt after he scored a hat trick for England against Germany in a 5-1 win; my first ever poster on my wall.
I had quite a soft spot for his first club, Liverpool and Owen was an integral part of that team, scoring 158 goals in 297 appearances. For England, Owen hit 40 in 89 which put him high on the all time goal scoring charts.
In 2004, Owen left Liverpool to join Real Madrid; one year before Liverpool won the European Cup; an accolade Owen unfortunately didn’t win in his illustrious career. That day in 2004, aged 10, I felt somewhat empty as I do today as it is then end of an era.
Subsequent moves to Newcastle, Manchester United and now Stoke followed as injuries blighted Owen’s career.
Who knows what would have happened had Owen stayed at Anfield. I would like to hope more trophies as well as more record breaking goals for England. Nevertheless, winning European Footballer of the Year as well as many other accolades puts Owen as an all time great.
One will always have the memories of a humble and friendly, family man, who put smiles on so many faces. My boyhood hero: Michael Owen.