Is this the end for the golden boy? Stoke decide they won't renew Owen's contract

By Joe Bernstein


Michael Owen, the one-time golden boy of English football, may be forced into retirement at the age of 33 this summer after a decision by Stoke not to offer him a new contract for next season.

Owen's fate was sealed at a meeting of Stoke officials on Thursday to start planning for the next campaign.

Autumn of his career: Michael Owen left searching for a contract

Autumn of his career: Michael Owen left searching for a contract

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United striker has scored only one goal this season and failed to start a Premier League game after signing a one-year pay-as-you-play deal at the Britannia in September.

And having regularly affirmed that he would never drop down the divisions to prolong his playing days, that means his celebrated career could be over.

Michael Owen: Career in decline

Although Stoke have not spent much on Owen's wages, the club are embarking on a new strategy next season and do not foresee any long-term role for the England striker, who could be involved against Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday after recovering from a thigh injury.

If Owen, who burst on to the scene as a teenager at the 1998 World Cup in France, does not drop down the divisions, that leaves the Middle East or America as the only alternative to hanging up his boots.

But neither seem likely as he pursues a dual career in the media and as a racehorse owner. Despite a tame end, Owen has enjoyed a glittering career and became England's fourth highest goalscorer with 40 in 89 appearances.

At 18, his stunning solo goal for England against Argentina in St Etienne turned him into a superstar overnight.

And in 2001, he was voted European Player of the Year after winning a cup treble for Liverpool and scoring a hat-trick for England in a famous 5-1 victory against Germany in Munich.

As he said in a recent tweet: 'I shook the world in my day.'

Kop hero: Owen will always be welcome at Liverpool

Kop hero: Owen will always be welcome at Liverpool

Alas, that was as good as it got. A snapped hamstring while playing for Liverpool turned out to be the first of several serious injuries which ultimately affected his once-lightning pace.


He was sidelined for nine months after rupturing anterior knee ligaments against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.

And he pulled up with a hamstring injury after scoring for Manchester United in the 2010 Carling Cup final against Aston Villa and was out for the season.

He has made just one start for Stoke this season, in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace, and has come on as substitute six times in the Premier League.

Stoke are to make radical changes to their recruitment policy after figures released last week revealed an annual wage bill of 53million and debts rising to nearly 15m.

Buying senior Premier League players on big wages, such as record signing Peter Crouch, will be replaced by younger players and more foreign players under new technical director Mark Cartwright.

New buys must to be balanced by sales, which means 15m-rated goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is likely to leave in the summer with Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all having monitored him this season.

Manager Tony Pulis believes the club will also continue to look for players in America, having signed utility player Geoff Cameron, 27, and winger Brek Shea, 23.

'America is a place where, at a good age, you can get some raw material given the opportunity,' said Pulis.

'We've got a scout over there who knows the league very well and we might add another one next year. 'Newcastle have done fantastic with their French players and we're trying to find a market that suits us.'.



The comments below have been moderated in advance.

5 years ago was the end

Click to rate     Rating   105

Michael Owen sealed his own fate when he left Liverpool for Spain many years ago. He could still be partnered with Stevie G if his head hadn't been turned for, what he thought' bigger and better things. He is however, a very clever/business savvy man and has amassed a fortune on real estate etc. Perhaps it's time to hang up his boots.

Click to rate     Rating   66

I feel that statement that he is always welcome at Liverpool needs looking at!! Many of us feel contempt towards him as he left us without giving it a try under Benitez and we then went on to win the European Cup without him anyway. I always feel he had this big hang up about the supporters having more love for Fowler than him even though he was possibly a better all round player The fact that he says he is not injury prone however is a joke and if I was a Stoke fan I would be very annoyed with Pulis for what everyone could see from the off was a total waste of money. He went there for geographical and financial reasons and Pulis bought into that. To say he wont drop down a league? - well who would want this has been anyway?!!!

Click to rate     Rating   41

Don't know what Stoke were thinking of the the first place.

Click to rate     Rating   83

I think his PR company should create a brand-value portfolio and send it out to all clubs. Just an idea.

Click to rate     Rating   20

GOOD !!!

Click to rate     Rating   18

Never achieved the level his potential suggested he might, seemed his financial interest outweighed anything else. Please dont try punditry.

Click to rate     Rating   53

if he stayed in liverpool, things would have been different. 33 years of age, can't get a game.

Click to rate     Rating   31

his best career is in liverpool shirt and worst career is in man utd shirt.SAF killied his career.

Click to rate     Rating   9

"Owen will always be welcome at Liverpool"... hmm i'm not too sure about that

Click to rate     Rating   82

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