Magpies hit back at Owen

The Manchester United forward, who spent a disappointing four-year

spell in the North-East which was badly blighted by injury, made

his comments on Twitter earlier in the week. Owen, responding to

criticism after signing an extension to his contract at Old

Trafford, wrote: “Prefer playing less often in a top team than

every game in a poor team. Been there and didn’t enjoy it.” Having

splashed out £16million to land the former Liverpool favourite

from Real Madrid, the Magpies saw Owen score 26 goals in 58 Premier

League starts for the Tyneside outfit. But the fact that the

England international, who suffered a serious knee injury during

the 2006 World Cup in Germany and missed a significant chunk of his

Newcastle career as a result, elected to run down his contract and

leave for nothing still rankles with many of the Toon Army. Current

chairman Derek Llambias feels the 31-year-old would have been wise

to keep his opinions to himself, particularly given the sums

invested in his services by the North-East club. Llambias told the

Daily Express: “Michael is the most expensive signing Newcastle has

ever made and I’m disappointed with his comments. “Under Kevin

Keegan’s management, he was offered a one-year extension at

£140,000 a week which he did not take. He was already on

£133,000 a week. “Quite honestly, what did Newcastle United

get out of it? His time here cost £40-odd million, about

£1.3m per goal.” And former co-owner Freddy Shepherd, who

brought Owen to Newcastle from Real in the summer of 2005, also

believes the forward should show more respect to his old employers.

He added: “We might have been a poor team, but we made him a rich

man. “It works out at around £500,000 for every game in a

Newcastle shirt. Poor? Well, he wasn’t poorer for it. “He spent

more time ferrying between Cheshire and Tyneside in his £3.5m