Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A not-so-closely guarded secret

It's passed without comment for the past fortnight or so, but something needs to be said.

When the rumours surfaced a while ago that Michael Owen needed a second operation on that pesky metatarsal, it was quickly dismissed by Glenn Roeder, Owen and others who insisted that the operation had been a total success and his recovery was going to plan.

Of course, it's now transpired that there was substance to the speculation, that a new replacement screw did need to be inserted, and that it has delayed Owen's return to first team action. If we're lucky we'll have him back for the last two games of the season against Birmingham and Chelsea - but, lamentably but I suppose naturally, all the media attention has been on whether he'll be back in time to make it into Sven's squad for the World Cup, announced on 8th May. We just want to see him in a black and white shirt again.

Owen has recently been quoted as saying: "I feel a bit embarrassed, to be honest, having only played 10 games this season when they have paid £17m or £16m or whatever the fee was. For them to pay that money and me to only play 10 games - obviously, it's no fault of my own, I couldn't pull out when there was a chance to score a goal and these things happen in football - means there is still something inside me feels a little bit guilty for walking into the treatment room every day instead of walking out on to the training pitch. Whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel and I need to at least show my face one or two more times before the season finishes".

Certainly Owen's been fantastic when he's played, and his injury was sustained as a direct result of his determination to challenge Spurs 'keeper and England team mate Paul Robinson for the ball when the cause seemed lost.

But he perhaps should feel guilty - and so should Roeder and the club. After all, by trying to sweep the story under the carpet, they told bare-faced lies to us Toon fans (and to England fans too).

Another insult to our intelligence, and another instance of the incredibly shoddy way we're treated, I'm afraid.


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