After much consideration, Michael Owen has gone from three years on Manchester United's bench to what he hopes is the resumption of his career as someone who actually plays football at Stoke. And now, he realizes that signing two contracts with Man United when they had no real need for him and listening to what Sir Alex Ferguson says was probably a bad idea.
From the BBC:
He [Owen] said: "In hindsight, probably with that extra year, it might have been better if I had moved in many ways.
"I was on the bench a lot of the time, but then when the manager says 'you have a big role to play and we want you to stay for another year', it was great to hear that from someone like Sir Alex Ferguson."
And then Owen went on to make just four appearances for Man United last season. One Premier League appearance as a sub last September (against Stoke!), two League Cup starts against lower division clubs and a start in the Champions League group stage against mighty Otelul Galati that ended after 10 minutes when Owen came off with an injury. That was his last appearance for Man United and it was last November.
Out of context it does sound like a misleading thing for Ferguson to say, but we really don't know how he said it. It could have been "You have a...big...role to play and we want you to, uh, stay for another year." It could have been, "Yeah, sure, you have a big role to play and we want you to stay for another year (eye roll)." Or it could have been, "What are you doing here?!"
Owen says he has no complaints though. According to The Sun, he added:
"But, in saying that, I was injured for most of that last year so it might not have mattered anyway.
But you won't hear me saying a bad word about my time at United — I had a great time."
It seems that stringing along fringe players is something Ferguson likes to do, though. This is very similar to what Dimitar Berbatov, another underused striker at Man United, said after joining Fulham. According to Berbatov, Ferguson told him 15 times that he was "an important player" and Berbatov also later realized that he should have left sooner.
Interestingly enough, this is all very similar to what Ferguson tells four of his seven wives.