Newcastle United Message Board
Apparently this was Michael Owen speaking in his Times column on Thursday?:
Maybe you will not believe me if I say I’ve really been enjoying pre-season training, but I’ve got my reasons. For one thing, it is just great to feel like I am going into a campaign fit and well – touch wood – after the injury problems of the past couple of years.
Secondly, it has been an eye-opener to see the innovations from Sam Allardyce. We’ve been on a training camp in Austria and from bike rides at 7.30am to Pilates in the afternoon, we’ve been shown a different approach to the traditional slog of preseason.
That is just one small but significant part of the multitude of changes happening at Newcastle that give me even more hope that this season can be uplifting for me and the fans after frustrating times. We’ve got a new manager, new staff, new players and a takeover in the boardroom. Any one of those elements would cause excitement at a club and we’ve had a transformation from top to bottom. Crucially, everyone who has arrived appears to have big ambitions.
I am sure the manager sees this job as a fantastic opportunity for him to be challenging for trophies. It is not so long ago that this club was up there in the top four and, while no one is making any predictions, at the very least we should be up there going for Europe. Everyone knows that the fans and the stadium give Newcastle the foundations to become one of the biggest clubs in the country.
I believe that these can be good times to be at Newcastle, which is why I am more than happy to be here. There has been plenty of speculation about my future, but I can assure the Newcastle fans that I didn’t start any of it.
There was a lot of talk from other quarters and my attitude to rumour has always been to ignore it. I don’t really feel that I should be responding all the time to stories in the newspapers and I certainly didn’t want to be forced into making comments. I prefer to let my actions speak for themselves and I just wish there had been more opportunities to show the Newcastle fans what I am capable of. I am sure that is to come this season.
I met the manager when I was with the England camp at the end of last season, so we’ve been in a good dialogue all summer. He has brought in his backroom staff from Bolton Wanderers and shown that he intends to do things thoroughly. We’ve not seen him at work on a match-day, but you can see how meticulous he is.
Newcastle have not had a good time with injuries over the years and while some people have bemoaned bad luck or even a curse, the manager has set about rectifying it the right way – with hard work and medical science. If you need a chiropractor, he will make sure one is on hand. If a foot is giving you problems, he’ll make sure you are put on to a top-notch podiatrist.
I do think that there are distinctions between how English managers – not all, but many – and their foreign counterparts approach the game. I saw that when Gérard Houllier came to Liverpool and transformed the way in which we went about our daily work off the field.
From what I have seen, Sam Allardyce is a great combination of British and foreign strengths, a man rooted in the English game who understands its passions but is also open to new ideas. I can’t say that he has been participating in the early morning bike rides, the swimming or the Pilates too much, but then he would argue that delegation and knowing when to step back are important parts of management.
Hopefully all that toil has put us in good shape when the season kicks off because there have been too many years of underachievement on Tyneside. This club has so much potential. I want to help to realise it.
I thought the same as you that he only had the option toleave if we did not get a european place so i took a note out of kippers book and googled it (sad i know) and it didnt help in the slightest all i managed to do was confuse myself further.... I report said it was a 9 mill get out clause and the other a 13mill like martins none reffered to the playing in europe part so who knows??? I stick by what i have said before though I dont think he will be a big an asset to the club as people think i think that sadly liverpool had the best years of his playing career and he will not return to the form that he had then, he is too injury prone and the injuries he has sustained will effect his pace and his staminia come January we may be glad to get 9mill for him and let big sam have the money to scout round for some new blood.
In the jan window yes he will be able to leave for 9 million, but what about end of season IF we are back in europe. As i thought that is the only reason the clause could take effect if we weren't playing in europe??