Arriving with great expectations, between them they have caused more gnashing of teeth than many who have gone before or those who will follow them onto that hallowed turf.
I leave you with an all-too-infrequent sight of the pair celebrating a goal. One of a handful of fleeting glimpses and empty promises of what could and should have been a great partnership. Both have undoubtedly had their injury problems which have plagued Newcastle careers which should have seen them projected to hero status. Owen for his undoubted goalscoring ability and overall professionalism earlier in his career and Viduka simply because of his genius, when he decides to turn it on.
However, for many fans, a glance back to their time at Newcastle United will be marred with massive disappointment. Not only because injuries and circumstance helped prevent whatever relative success they could have enjoyed here. But mainly because of the respective lack of desire shown by both over the course of their tenure at St James’. Viduka appeared to have lost his appetite for the game altogether and appeared to pick and choose when he could be bothered to play. Owen just seemed inexplicably detached from the club and the supporters from day one. Neither appeared to wish for any affinity with the people who could become their adoring fans. Both looked more comfortable keeping their distance and at the lowest points, Owen in particular, treating supporters with barely concealed contempt and appearing like he could smell something vaguely unpleasant. Perhaps that was his stinking attitude?
I spent months and months, sticking up for this pair but frankly with hindsight it’s clear that the main motivator for these two was the stuff which keeps them in horses and fine cuisine. Motivated by the money and rarely moved to treat this club as anything other than a means to an end. Money makes you do funny things. It encouraged Owen to sign for a club he clearly never wanted anything to do with and it has allowed Viduka to sell his football soul to the devil in extending a career that was finished some years ago because without desire to get out on that pitch he became a passenger and an expensive one which helped bleed us of money and aided our descent to the depths of The Championship.
I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Owen’s brochure coin the phrase “Because he’s worth it” on the front. Though perhaps even they concede you can stretch the truth only so far before you begin forming a genuine parody.
And so the end has arrived and these two are finally off to who knows where. And just to rub salt into the wound it’s understood that the squad, these two included, have been awarded loyalty bonuses. Fairly staggering really. So it’s time to say our farewells and thank yous. I’d love to say thanks for the memories but the ones involving Owen and Viduka bear witness to a sad tale with a bitter end. I’m sure Michael and Mark will know what to thank Newcastle United for next time they open their wallet. Money for nothing.
Goodbye, good luck and good riddance.