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Newcastle restore Owen's smile

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Newcastle restore Owen's smile

By Rob Stewart  (Filed: 05/11/2005)

 

 

 

His new surroundings might not provide the same glamour as Madrid but Michael Owen is relishing the down-to-earth attractions of North-East England - both as a footballer and as a family man.

 

Owen, who will be in Newcastle's team to face Birmingham City today, is clearly revelling in the knockabout humour of a dressing room now that language barriers have been eliminated following his departure from Real Madrid.

 

But his relocation has had other important spin-offs. England's millionaire vice-captain and conscientious father-of-one is thriving in the rustic charms offered by his new life in rural Northumberland, which is a far cry from his year in Spain.

 

"Madrid's a big city and when you walk out there's cars and buildings and everything else so it wasn't great for a child," he said. "Here, I've been getting out and about with my little girl [two-year-old Gemma] after training and I've quickly got to know where all the parks and the playgrounds and the farms are - everything to keep her occupied.

 

"I don't know about the shops around here yet though because kids come first so I might be looking a bit scruffy - I haven't had the chance to go shopping for clothes."

 

The superstar striker and wife Louise, who are expecting their second child in February, have bought a house less than two months after his £16 million transfer.

 

"I've settled in better than I thought I would," he continued. "It took a while at Madrid with hotel rooms and stuff, and we were dreading the first couple of months.

 

"I stayed with Alan [shearer] for a couple of days in his guest house and then we were in a hotel for three or four weeks. I don't mind living in hotels but you've got to feel for the family. Now we've settled in our own house and it really feels as though we're putting down roots.

 

"Our village is lovely and quiet and near the housing estate where a lot of the players live, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet or meet up with the players."

 

Owen, 26 next month, has scored four times in five outings for Newcastle and has quickly become assimilated among his new colleagues.

 

"When I joined Real I went to a place where I could hardly speak the language," Owen reflected. "It is not what you think it will be like when you move to a new club.

 

"But here it is. You get to mix with the lads a lot more and understand the banter in the changing room and everything else. It was an eye-opener moving back to an English club.

 

"I've found it really enjoyable although it's not every club when you finish work and you then go out with the same lads you work with. It's a special atmosphere."

 

With Owen spearheading Newcastle's attack, Graeme Souness' side is an upwardly mobile unit - quite a contrast to the team who gained just one point from 12 before Owen's arrival.

 

"You can tell in the city there's a buzz again and people have a spring in their step," he added. "It's nice that everyone is looking up the table and talking about who's third.

 

"If you get this club on the crest of a wave it will be a fantastic place. We're on the small start of that wave at the minute and we need to keep going.

 

"It's amazing how things snowball when everything is going wrong and then again when everything goes right.

 

"That's what happens at this club, and there are parallels with England, but it is magnified with England. When I joined here everyone was talking about managers and we won a couple of games and everything was looking great.

 

"Then we lose one and it is back on about the manager. I just thought if this goes on all season it'll do our heads in."

 

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Wearing his rose tinted specs tbh. :rimshot:

 

It's great to see he's settling in well - I've heard (evidently completely bollocks) stories of him commuting from Liverpool everyday. A happy striker is a prolific one!

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Something similar from The Journal

 

Owen so at home

 

Nov 5 2005

 

By Paul Gilder, The Journal

 

 

The picture painted by one of the most authoritative online travel guides suggests Madrid's reputation as one of Europe's most exhilarating capital cities is safe.

 

"This is Spain's headiest city, where revelling lasts long into the night and life is seized with both hands," reports the author, his enthusiasm for his subject apparent. "Strangers quickly become friends, passion blooms in an instant and visitors become swiftly addicted to its charms."

 

That Michael Owen's evaluation of Madrid's merits is less glowing is clear by the 25-year-old's admission that a quiet night out in Ponteland is a more attractive proposition.

 

Having made a conscious decision to embrace his new life in the North-East, Owen has discovered an appetite for the region which bodes well for his future at St James's Park.

 

"I have put roots down here," explained the Newcastle striker, who, since he moved his family into their new Northumberland home, has developed an affinity for his surroundings he never found during 12 unsettling months in Spain.

 

"We have been out and about in our village and it's lovely and quiet. Our new place is close to where a lot of the other players live so I have the choice between staying in and being quiet or meeting up with the lads and seeing the bright lights of Ponteland.

 

"It took us a while to settle at Madrid, what with all the hotel rooms, and we were dreading the first couple of months here. But we have the house, I'm good friends with a lot of the lads and my little girl has settled in, although there is still the odd tear when she goes to school.

 

"I have found it to be good, I have settled down much better than I thought I would."

 

Owen signed a four-year contract at St James's Park following his £16m move from Real Madrid, but those who believed United could never attract a player of his ilk remain unconvinced that he will remain for the duration of the deal.

 

On the day he was unveiled as Newcastle's most-expensive signing, the striker faced countless questions about his long-term future, while club officials were last month forced to correct reports suggesting he had purchased a helicopter in order to commute from his home in North Wales.

 

That his second child will be born a Geordie provides irrefutable evidence that a player with great affection for the North-East's countryside and golf courses is at home here.

 

"The baby is due in February," said Owen, who, along with wife Louise, has discovered Northumberland to be more suited to raising young children. "My daughter (Gemma) hasn't shown any signs of having a Geordie accent yet, but it's only a matter of time.

 

"I have been getting out and about with her after training and I have found out where all the parks are and where the playgroups are to keep her occupied. It wasn't good living in a hotel in Madrid. It's a big city and, when you walked out of the hotel, you had all the cars and the buildings and everything else and it wasn't great for kids.

 

"I stayed with Alan (Shearer) in his guest house for a couple of days when we first came and then we were in a hotel for three or four weeks. But we're settled in the house now and it's much better."

 

While his quiet life in the countryside is proving ideal for a renowned family man, Owen relishes the appetite for his new club he experiences on his trips into town. That Newcastle have made great improvements in recent weeks - winning four of their last six league matches - has contributed to his positive outlook.

 

"This is a city which is very passionate about football, it's a city with only one club and everyone is a Newcastle supporter," he said. "When I was in Madrid, I missed the passion of the man in the street. The passion of the fans was a big draw in me coming here.

 

"It means I wake up looking forward to playing because I know that when I go out there will be 50,000 people who are passionate about how I perform.

 

"When I went to Madrid, it was never going to be the same as what I was used to at Liverpool. I found myself in a place where I could hardly speak the language and I couldn't talk to many people.

 

"It wasn't the kind of thing you expect when you move to a new club, but here it's different. I mix with the lads a lot more here and I understand all the banter in the dressing room."

 

Not that he settled straight away. "He was quiet when he first came, it has taken him this time to settle, but he is joining in the banter now," said Graeme Souness, who is enjoying the benefits of Owen's contentment, as four goals in five games testifies. "He is now giving the other players abuse, that is part and parcel of the world we live in.

 

"The players abuse each other terribly and he doesn't escape it. He might miss a chance or two in training or miscontrol something and I get `how much did you pay for him, boss?'" It's all part of the togetherness which I know is so important if you're going to be successful."

 

For all his new acquaintances, it seems Owen is still closest to Shearer, his old England ally, who, while trailing him in the Premiership scoring stakes this season, still has the upper hand on the golf course.

 

"It's usually me and Alan against Steve Harper and Shay Given," he added. "Alan is really good at golf - better than me. But he doesn't play for England so he always has two weeks to practice when I'm away on international duty."

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Guest Sima
I've got a slight inkling he'll be off to Man Utd in the summer

53001[/snapback]

 

Even though they seem to be declining whilst we're coming out of a bad patch? :rimshot:

53014[/snapback]

 

They'll still finish above us and in a CL spot.

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Part of me still thinks he'll leave (particularly if he has an outstanding World Cup or we finish in a poor league position) but I'm more optomistic that he'll stay longer than a year now than I was when he signed.

 

And if he does go I don't think it will be there.

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I've got a slight inkling he'll be off to Man Utd in the summer

53001[/snapback]

 

Even though they seem to be declining whilst we're coming out of a bad patch? :rimshot:

53014[/snapback]

 

They'll still finish above us and in a CL spot.

53026[/snapback]

 

Bullshit tbh, they'll be lucky to scrape a UEFA Cup spot on present form.

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Guest Sima

Bullshit tbh, they'll be lucky to scrape a UEFA Cup spot on present form.

53032[/snapback]

 

Talk of Man Utd's demise is greatly exaggerated. They'll be back.

 

Interesting you think that we are coming out of a bad patch even though we were absolutely fucking shite today and were lucky to come away with all 3 points.

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Bullshit tbh, they'll be lucky to scrape a UEFA Cup spot on present form.

53032[/snapback]

 

Talk of Man Utd's demise is greatly exaggerated. They'll be back.

 

Interesting you think that we are coming out of a bad patch even though we were absolutely fucking shite today and were lucky to come away with all 3 points.

53034[/snapback]

 

We still got the 3 points though didn't we? We've won 4 games in a row now and they've been somewhat close together so the lads are bound to be a little tired.

 

If Luque is back and adjusts to the english game (for 9.5 mil he fucking better) that would give us a fucking awesome looking attacking game. :rimshot:

 

Hopefully we'll have a decent manager as well bet I'm being a little too optimistic now.

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Guest Sima
We still got the 3 points though didn't we? We've won 4 games in a row now and they've been somewhat close together so the lads are bound to be a little tired.

 

If Luque is back and adjusts to the english game (for 9.5 mil he fucking better) that would give us a fucking awesome looking attacking game.  :rimshot:

 

Hopefully we'll have a decent manager as well bet I'm being a little too optimistic now.

53042[/snapback]

 

"We got the 3 points but I still want rid of the manager \o/ \o/"

Edited by Sima

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Interesting you think that we are coming out of a bad patch even though we were absolutely fucking shite today and were lucky to come away with all 3 points.

53034[/snapback]

 

I've already heard the phrase 'the sign of a good team is when you can play badly and still win'- my view on this has always been that good teams realise when they've done well to get 3 points out of a match and work on how to improve their game for next week.

 

We've got a lot to work on. If we go out and play like that against Chelsea, we'll get hammered.

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Interesting you think that we are coming out of a bad patch even though we were absolutely fucking shite today and were lucky to come away with all 3 points.

53034[/snapback]

 

I've already heard the phrase 'the sign of a good team is when you can play badly and still win'- my view on this has always been that good teams realise when they've done well to get 3 points out of a match and work on how to improve their game for next week.

 

We've got a lot to work on. If we go out and play like that against Chelsea, we'll get hammered.

53047[/snapback]

 

Chelsea will be a very interesting yardstick. We usually (historically) are Ok and play well against the average teams and are dire against the good.

 

Having recently "won when playing badly" I'm looking forward to see if we're good (for 90minutes) against the current best team, who will undoubtedley "play" against us and not play to stifle us.

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