The shamefully hostile reception given to former Liverpool pin up boy Michael Owen at Anfield on Saturday proves beyond doubt that legend Jamie Carragher was right on the money when he lamented that his club “need to get back to behaving in a way that wins respect.” Owen went out of his way to pay tribute to a close friend by agreeing to appear in his testimonial knowing full well that his efforts were unlikely to be appreciated by a section of bitter Liverpool fans – and his apprehension was not misplaced.
Carragher had even gone to the extent of publicly pleading for Owen to be shown respect on the day saying “I hope Michael’s move to United doesn’t affect the reception he gets because he deserves a great one for what he did for Liverpool. He was a fantastic player, right up there with the greats for what he did. The chance to go to one of the biggest clubs of the world was difficult to turn down.”
By all reports however, a large part of the 35,631 crowd ignored their hero’s request and booed Owen every time he touched the ball. Carragher went as far as to engineer a penalty for his mate to take but was forced to change his plan “I asked the referee to give us a penalty before half time because I was thinking about Michael as I wanted him to score” he explained “he’s my best mate in football and I think it took a lot of courage to come back today and do it for me knowing he would take a lot of stick. But I think the crowd would have killed him if he’d taken the penalty listening to their reaction.”
The ugly reception given to Owen confirmed Carragher’s earlier comments of how Liverpool’s lack of class and public image had taken a battering in the last few years as former boss Rafa Benitez found himself at odds with rival managers. “We had situations where Martin O’Neill and Steve Bruce were criticising Liverpool and they were right” he admitted “we shouldn’t be getting involved with stuff like that.”
“Everyone else should look at Liverpool and say they have dignity, class. It should be like the way people look at Arsenal” he continued “they do things right, conduct themselves properly. I’m not getting involved in what the causes were but we need to get back to behaving in a way that wins respect. I care about the club and it concerned me that last year, people just didn’t like Liverpool” he said “other managers hated us and stuff in the media was all negative. We weren’t doing well on the pitch to be fair, but it was just negative Liverpool all the time.
What happened on Saturday would have soured what should have been a memorable day for Carragher. It must have confirmed in his mind that the class and dignity which he believes Anfield has lost are still a long way from ever being regained.
Did Michael Owen do the right thing by paying tribute to his mate?
Our friends at The Republik of Mancunia is running a COMPETITION to: Wear Your Old Shirts For Liverpool Game – All summer RoM have been giving away old shirts in a bid to encourage fans not to go out and buy the latest strip. If you’re undecided or not sure, read the thinking behind this.
With the green and gold campaign proving to be hugely popular last season and generating a huge amount of media interest, it has been suggested that for our upcoming game against Liverpool, all fans should shun the latest shirt and instead wear an old one, which dates to pre-Glazer.
If you don’t have any old shirts or are considerably taller/fatter than you were pre-2005, you can pick up old shirts on eBay easily enough.
RoM will continue giving away old shirts as prizes and today are launching the latest competition. When United play Liverpool, whether you’re going to the game, you’re watching it in the local or somewhere else with your mates, take a picture of you in your old shirts and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The most inventive/amusing/interesting picture will earn you a shirt. Not just any shirt, but a 1999 Treble winning season shirt. If we get lots of good pictures, then we will provide more shirts for 2nd and 3rd placed pictures.
So, get your thinking caps on!