So this morning Michael Owen has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season at the grand old age of 33.
Owen burst on to the scene as a teenager at Liverpool and made England’s 1998 World Cup squad aged just 18. He announced himself on the world stage with a memorable solo goal against Argentina in that tournament and scored a hat-trick as England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich in September 2001.
He has scored 220 goals in his club career, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup (three times) and UEFA Cup. Owen was named European Footballer of the Year in 2001 – the first Englishman to achieve the accolade since my own particular favourite, Kevin Keegan, in 1979.
“Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first-team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career,” Owen has written in a statement on his website.
But it’s not quite pipe and slippers time yet for Michael. He has indicated that he would like to become involved with Chester FC in some capacity when he retires, as it was his local team growing up and the team his father used to play for. As a professional footballer he can take benefits from his pension at his protected pension age of 35 and continue to play for, or be employed in a non-playing capacity with, any Football League club as long as he, for example, do not own or control the club.
So spare a thought for us mere mortals who will be working until we’re old and decrepit in a job we most probably despise before being eligible to retire. All you’ve had to do is run around the park with the lads for 90 minutes on a Saturday with the odd mid-week game and a few hours training each day for less than half the years we have to work. Am I jealous? You bet your sweet **** I am!!!