“The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” On the face of it The Boss and Michael Owen do not have a lot in common. For a start an interview with Bruce Springsteen does not leave the viewer wanting to pull their own face off out of sheer boredom. Yet that lyric from Springsteen’s epic Born To Run just about sums up the situation that Michael Owen currently finds himself in.
There is no doubt that Owen signing for Manchester United is the biggest story of the week. Due to the profile Owen has in the game whoever he signed for was going to make a splash on the back pages. However not many speculated that with their Ronaldo money in the bank, United would move for a man who could not get into the Newcastle team for their biggest game in years.
Before he moved to United, the only clubs to publicly register an interest were Hull and Stoke – a fair indication of how far his stock has fallen. Indeed his agents went to the trouble to producing a
brochure to try and drum up some interest in him. In fairness to Fergie it is doubtful that he signed Owen because he is “good looking” and “cool.” He is also apparently “clean and fresh” which as we all know are vital components that any major football player has to have.
This is Owen’s last chance in proving that he is closer to the fresh face teenager who burst on the scene at Liverpool than the injury wreck of a player seen (or rather, not seen) over the past four years at Newcastle. For all his goalscoring exploits this is his last chance to win some major honours, to show he loves football more than money and racing and to prove he belongs in the same class as Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan – true greats of the modern English era.
Sport is filled with moments where a plucky veteran has taken his last shot at the gold and came up trumps. Think about Goran Ivanisevic winning Wimbledon in 2001 as a wild card, Frank Bruno winning the WBC heavyweight title from Oliver McCall and in our own fair game Gazza scoring this goal against the Scots in Euro 96 when the majority thought his best days were behind him –
Will Owen take this chance or ultimately come up short? The argument goes that if Owen stays fit then he will get goals. Even with his wretched injury woes at Newcastle he managed 30 goals in 79 appearances, but that was over four seasons showing how often he was not fit. If he does produce the goods then surely Fabio Capello will take another look at him. England is not exactly blessed with striking talent at the moment and if there is still a role for an aging talisman like David Beckham in a England squad in 2009, why not Michael Owen? In fact his agents should have used that as their slogan for the brochure.
“Everybody’s out on the run tonight but there’s nowhere left to hide” When Springsteen wrote Born To Run, he described it as his shot at the title – a 24-year-old kid aiming to write the greatest rock ‘n’ roll song ever. If it wasn’t a hit we may never have heard from him again. The same can be said of Michael Owen. If he does not take this chance, we will not see him at this level ever again. This is his last chance to be a hero.
– Fun game for everyone, any song lyrics that sum up a professional football player? This writer would not be as cruel to suggest The Verve’s “The drugs don’t work, they just make you worse” for ex-Chelsea player Adrian Mutu but you can.