(Reuters) - Former England and Newcastle United strikers Michael Owen and Alan Shearer became involved in a war of words on social media on Tuesday over comments in Owen’s new autobiography ‘Reboot’.
In an extract from the book, which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, former Liverpool and Real Madrid forward Owen blamed Shearer for their heated rivalry following Newcastle’s relegation from the Premier League in the 2008-09 season.
Shearer was Newcastle’s interim manager for the final eight games of their ill-fated campaign.
“He was brought in at St James’ Park as the saviour... it could have been a great story. But he failed. Newcastle United were relegated... rather than examine his own shortcomings, it felt easier to blame Michael Owen,” Owen wrote.
“It wasn’t until three months later, I discovered that Alan was apparently seething with me. Not only that, it transpired that he was telling anyone who’d listen what he thought of me.”
Shearer responded with a post on Twitter that had a video of Owen saying he couldn’t wait to retire during the last seven years of his career, adding the caption: “Yes Michael, we thought that also, whilst on £120k a week.”
Owen responded suggesting he was not sure Shearer was “as loyal to Newcastle” as the 49-year-old made it out to be.
“I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out,” Owen said.
“My new book has made plenty of headlines this morning but they need to be put into context. I’ve stayed quiet for years whilst receiving plenty of criticism... Once you’ve read the book you’ll make your own decision.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson