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The more I read, the more I like Michael Owen

Michael Owen is the sort of footballer who, on paper, would make for the ideal girlfriend; intelligent, wealthy, good with balls and generally speaking you’d be more than happy to introduce him to your parents. Unlike say, Dirk Kuyt who is equally as much of a model professional but you couldn’t help but turn over every morning and think “Look at the state of that.” Michael would of course break your heart several years down the line and sleep with your worst enemy but by that point he’s so consistently injured you’ve traded him in for someone like Shola Ameobi anyway, someone you know will stick by you because no one else wants him. I digress, my point is that Michael Owen is a nice guy albeit one that’s slightly dull to listen to. To say he’s down right boring is a bit harsh. He’s boring in the same way that Bran Flakes are boring; they won’t set your breakfast experience alight but you rely on them to give you the energy and nutrients you need for the day ahead *Note to Kelloggs: I hope that was a long enough plug, please send my cheque to the address I provided*

Owen is one of those footballers who has taken to Twitter and the more I read from the guy the more I like him. He’s honest, answers to both fans and critics alike and comes across as a pretty grounded man, which is rare from someone who became an international superstar at such a young age. Following a footballer on Twitter is usually a bit like listening to Van Gough farting non-stop on the radio. You know they’re talented within their profession but all they seem to be offering in a public forum is hot air, yet you continue to listen based on your admiration for them in their day job. Michael Owen offers something a little more insightful and interesting. The other day, Michael invited his followers to take part in a Q&A session in which he answered questions from Manchester Utd, Newcastle and Liverpool fans alike. Amongst the usual Favourite goal and What’s your favourite brand of A4 paper questions, Michael touched upon one of the biggest burning issues within the sport with a short but valid response. When asked whether he thought footballers were paid too much he replied; “Not denying footballers get paid a lot of money. They do however earn their employers huge amounts. If that’s the case then surely they deserve their share? Nobody seems to mention singers, actors, golfers, F1 drivers etc that earn far more than footballers yet we take all the abuse. Footballers are entertainers, they draw in huge crowds just like those mentioned. Very unfair to then compare our wages to nurses etc. Of course they are superstars and I think everyone agrees they should earn more but how can you blame footballers for that? Most players give generously to loads of different charities etc. There are plenty of decent people that play football. Far too easy to just generalise. I may be wrong but I do think footballers can be easy targets so just wanted to stick up for the majority of good guys that play the game. Over and out my friends!.”

Granted, he ruined what seemed to be quite a good point with that reminiscently Thunderbirds sign off but that aside, I thought he spoke quite a lot of sense. The likes of nurses, firemen and the armed forces can look back on their life at the end of it and know they’ve made a difference to the world we live in, far more than any footballer ever could. However, wages are surely relevant to industry they work in. Do nurses deserve more money? Of course they do, but the NHS has an increasingly restricted budget to work with. Manchester United however, generates millions of pounds per game from TV revenue and ticket sales and that’s not to mention programmes, shirt sales and Norwich scarves (well, maybe not the latter.) If Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and the like didn’t turn up for the match there would be no crowd, no viewers in the far reaches of Asia and therefore no profit. In this age of foreign investment and Sky Sports HD it’s sometimes easy to forget that the players are still the most important part of the sport, without them football wouldn’t be a sport, just a series of board meetings. With that in mind, players who make up the squads of the richest teams in the world should expect to take home a share of the pretty green they make for those upstairs.

If Justin Timberlake somehow draws millions of cinema goers to a film about a world in which time is used as currency (I wish I’d made that up) then he deserves a cut of the profit that fills the pockets of the film producers. Mr. Timberlake will take home his rather hefty fee when this joke of a film finishes it’s worldwide cinema run, and will continue to do so when it makes the jump to DVD. He won’t however be subjected to the same flack that footballers receive regarding their earnings. When they don’t pull their weight, footballers deserve all the criticism they get from fans that spend their hard earned cash to watch them play, but that hard earned cash contributes to a very handsome total for the football club, a total they wouldn’t receive if the players weren’t there to entertain in the first place. So, the salary a footballer earns is just the going rate for the business they work for. A multi-national corporation like Starbucks generates far more per year than Manchester United but the reason they don’t pay their employees enough to buy a Ferrari every week is because they have thousands of employees, Manchester United have a squad of around 40, you do the math… because I don’t have a maths GCSE. Not everyone will agree with Michael Owen and it’s hard to find fault with those who claim that the sport is becoming more and more ludicrous and far removed from the real world with each passing year but to those people I’d recommend getting down to your local Vue and catching that new Justin Timberlake film.


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Article title: The more I read, the more I like Michael Owen

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