The perception of Newcastle Chairman Derek Llambias on Tyneside isn’t the greatest. Part of the ‘Cockney Mafia’, Llambias hasn’t helped out Mike Ashley with some of the things he’s said to the media in the past or, more accurately, hasn’t said. When Newcastle fans have been crying out for some communication from the board it just hasn’t been there. However, now Llambias has stood up to defend the club against one of the few people less popular than him with the Toon Army: Michael Owen.
The anticipation when Graeme Souness brought Owen to St James’ Park was clear for all to see, but so was the general malaise towards him when the striker left in 2009. Financially for Newcastle, signing Michael Owen was a disaster, not just in terms of the huge transfer fee paid for him, but also the ridiculous £130k+ a week wages he was on. When Newcastle needed a few goals from him to help keep the Magpies up at the back end of the 2008/09 season he just didn’t deliver. But if that wasn’t enough, now he’s started running his mouth off, too!
Owen is relatively new to Twitter, but that hasn’t stopped him from stirring some controversy. It was rumoured that the former Liverpool striker might have been on his way out of Manchester United in the summer, but the 31 year old was handed a one year contract extension by Sir Alex Ferguson. It appears that now he feels he’s in a position to stick the boot in and said on Twitter: “Prefer playing less often in a top team than every game in a poor team. Been there and didn’t enjoy it.”
This is a clear and unnecessary dig at Newcastle and for once Llambias has actually responded. The Newcastle Chairman stated: “I’m very disappointed. Under Kevin Keegan’s management he was offered a one-year extension at £140K a week which he did not take. He was already on £133K. His time here cost £40-odd million, about £1.3M per goal.” Not exactly great value for money and former chairman Freddy Shepherd added: “We might have been a poor team but we made him a rich man. He spent more time ferrying between Cheshire and Tyneside in his £3.5M helicopter.”
There’s nothing like a bit of Michael Owen bashing on Tyneside, maybe the striker would be best advised to keep his mouth shut in the future. Will this start a new trend of Derek Llambias actually acting as a spokesman for the club, or is it just a one off? Let’s hope that whatever striker Alan Pardew signs in the summer, he doesn’t end up being another Owen; one of those is more than enough!