Shepherd admits Owen woe
Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has conceded Michael Owen's time with the club was a disappointment.
Last Updated: 03/07/09 9:11am
Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has conceded Michael Owen's time with the club was a major disappointment.
Shepherd, who was the club's supremo at the time, paid Spanish giants Real Madrid a club record £17million to land the free-scoring striker in the summer of 2005.
Thousands of fans descended on St James' Park to welcome the England star to the club as they sought a long-term replacement for Alan Shearer.
However, Owen's four-year tenure with the North East giants was decimated by injury restricting him to just 26 league goals from 79 appearances.
The 29-year-old is now set to walk away from Newcastle on a free transfer at the end of the month when his lucrative contract expires.
Shepherd insists the club were right to sign Owen, who is now being linked with the likes of Stoke and Hull City, but that no-one could have foreseen the deal failing to prove anything but a successful piece of business.
"Hindsight is a great management tool - everybody's wise after the event," Shepherd told the Evening Chronicle.
"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.
"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."