Graeme Souness’ period in charge of Newcastle is marked by a catalogue of injuries to first team players that could go at some length to explain his unsuccessful time at St. James’ Park. After a disappointing first season with the Magpies, Souness decided to bring out the big guns, attempting to replicate the success of Kevin Keegan by shedding out a lot of green to lure an England legend to Newcastle.
4. Michael Owen
The initial price of Michael Owen was £17million. Flown in from Madrid, speculation arose over whether Owen would sign for Liverpool, Everton or Newcastle. Liverpool counted themselves out quite quickly whilst arch rivals Everton were favourites to sign the striker.
Unsurprisingly Newcastle were more keen to pay the expensive price tag as well as the player’s lucrative wage demands. Freddy Shepherd succumbed to the excessive requirements of the former Liverpool striker by paying a reported £110,000 a week in wages for his services.
Owen’s injury laden spell on Tyneside meant that he made just 71 appearances, scoring 26 goals…. over four years. The forward’s total wages are estimated to be around £25million, which works out at over £350,000 a game.
Unfortunately for Newcastle, no clubs took advantage of the £12million release clause in Owen’s contract with the striker leaving the North East club on a free transfer in 2009. If that wasn’t painful enough for the Toon Army, Owen went on to sign for Manchester United, taking a massive decrease in wages whilst the Magpies battled it out in the Championship.
Though on the surface Newcastle made an undoubted financial loss, it wasn’t enough to deem Owen as the Toon’s worst ever signing. Michael Owen didn’t just bring a statement of intent or a hell of a lot of shirt sales when signing for Newcastle, he also brought a lot of focus back to the North East club. 20,000 fans turned up to see the unveiling of the striker who’s luck with injuries was totally unpredictable. In theory, Owen should have been the man to lead Newcastle back to the higher echelons of the league. Instead, he’ll be remembered for Newcastle United’s darkest period in recent years.
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