MICHAEL OWEN has paid tribute to Stoke City and the Club’s supporters as he prepares to bid farewell to the Britannia Stadium.
The superstar striker has decided to call time on his illustrious playing career and will retire at the end of Stoke’s Premier League campaign.
He will be involved in his final home game as a Potter when Tottenham provide the opposition in the penultimate fixture of the 2012-13 season which has been designated as the Club’s 150th Anniversary Celebration fixture.
And although Owen, who has been restricted to just eight league and cup appearances this term, admits he would like to have figured in Tony Pulis’ first team plans on a more regular basis, he insists he will look back on his one-season spell with Stoke with affection.
Speaking exclusively to The Potters Matchday magazine for this weekend’s game, the 33 year old revealed: “Obviously the sole intention of leaving Manchester United to join Stoke was to play a bit more.
“It’s not happened but I’ve not got any bad words to say about anyone at the club; I’ve never been one to rock the boat or anything like that, despite it only being healthy that I believe I should have played more and could have scored more.
“There have been times when we’ve been losing and I could have come on or started certain games – whatever it might have been – but that’s only natural, every player who’s not playing feels like that.
“But the last thing I would ever do to a club or a team is to be a bad apple and start saying things in the papers or anything like that. Yes, it has been a season of frustration but I’ve also been at a fantastic club with a fantastic set of supporters and a great group of lads.”
Owen, who will begin a career as a TV commentator next season, has also explained why he has decided the time is right to call it a day.
He adds: “I still feel as though I can play at the top level and contribute and score goals – I still feel as though I can do it but not to the level that I used to and that’s the key element in all this, not feeling like you can do what you used to be able to do.”
There’s more from Owen in the Matchday Magazine, which will be on sale prior to kick-off on Sunday, priced at just £3.50.
The 100-page perfect-bound publication commemorates the 150th Anniversary match and features interviews with ex-Potters stars Sir Geoff Hurst and Terry Conroy, as well as an exclusive column by Chairman Peter Coates.
Peter Crouch goes under the spotlight in our Socially Speaking feature, while Robert Huth is the subject of our Getting to Know profile.
Tony Pulis delivers his pre-match thoughts in his exclusive column, while Chief Executive Tony Scholes, skipper Ryan Shawcross, Nigel ‘The Voice’ Johnson, and fans-favourite Mickey Thomas offer their thoughts.
Make sure you pick up a copy ahead of the BIG game from one of the many distributors situated around the stadium or online by clicking HERE
Incidentally, you may have noticed a different spine on each of the Matchday Magazines for our 19 Premier League games.
This has been done to reveal a special message which is readable once all 19 issues are put together in order, from one to 19.