Owen where be belongs? Man United?
It has been announced that Ex-Liverpool and current Manchester United striker Michael Owen will be playing in a Liverpool shirt for the first time in six years on Saturday. With Owen being employed by Liverpool's oldest and most arch rivals, questions have been raised to ask is Liverpool a legend and should United let this happen.
Owen is part of a "Liverpool Legends" team that will compete against Liverpool's neighbours Everton for Jamie Carragher's testimonial at Anfield on Saturday. It is reported that Owen will face backlash from United fans for playing in the game representing Liverpool. What makes the situation more difficult to stomach for some United fans is that Owen and Manchester United are due to play Liverpool competitively in two weeks time.
To make matters even worse, it has since been reported that Owen is said to be uncertain of the reaction he will get from the Anfield crowd but does not have great expectations considering the abuse he received when he returned last season for the first time since joining the Old Trafford side.
So if he is going to upset both sets of fans and face potential abuse then why bother playing in the game at all?
The former England striker has said that he has given his word to former colleague and best mate Carragher, however despite the upset that he will play in the match at Anfield; swapping the red of United for that of the club he started his career in the process. Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager has publicly sanctioned permission for Owen to play in the game for 45 minutes only to help the striker "gain match fitness".
Carragher has recruited former Liverpool stars like Jamie Redknapp, Jason McAteer, Emile Heskey, and Danny Murphy to play, as well as Steven Gerrard promising to return from England duty early to be a part of the reaction. Even though he has recruited these stars for the game, it was said that he had told Owen behind closed doors that he would understand if he thought that it may be a too delicate situation for him to face bearing in mind the rivalry between the two clubs.
As stated above, the reason Owen is going ahead with the plan is due to his regard for Carragher. Owen regards "Carra" as one of his closest friends inside and outside of football.
Organisers are hoping that this public display of affection towards the long-serving defender will persuade some of the Anfield crowd to go easy on the former player and maybe push the boat out and demonstrate some warmth for a striker hailed by Steven Gerrard as "the best striker in the history of Liverpool Football Club" and Phil Thompson as a "Real Liverpool Legend".
On the way home today I found the stubbornness of the Liverpool fans though quite shocking. The fans on a national radio station phone-in were claiming he is not a Liverpool legend and were refusing to acknowledge his achievements. In my opinion, he is a Liverpool legend even though he has signed for their arch rivals who I am a fan of. I am just worried that this bad publicity will leave a negative atmosphere for the Carragher appreciation match.
All in all though the question has to be asked....should he be allowed to play in a Liverpool shirt?