The world of punditry has been set alight in the past few years with some new faces to provide viewers with a break from the golden oldies.
Now, the exuberance and technical nous of Alex Scott, Jose Mourinho, Robin van Persie and Kelly Cates have piqued interest and intrigue by giving football’s think-tank’s a more rejuvenated face.
But it’s worth taking a look at the era of pundits who were deemed as the so-called classics; from Graeme Souness’ controversial comments to Roy Keane’s stubborn rhetoric’s, it’s a line of ex-players who have made the transition from their playing days to Sky Sport’s comfortable chairs with ease.
One such man is Michael Owen.
Unlike any other pundit of his era, the former Liverpool striker was unplayable on his day in front of goal. However, it’s another story altogether on camera.
The 41-year-old has come out with some absolute shockers both on commentary and in post-match analysis, so we’ve taken a look at Owen’s top 15 best (Most suspect? Funniest? Down-right ridiculous?) quotes and commentary.
But first, take a read of this pearl…
15) “To stay in the game, you have to stay in the game.”
Expert analysis from Mike on how to, uh, stay in the game.
In all fairness, if Owen had said:
”to stay in the game you have to stay in the game *thumps table passionately*.
It would definitely make more sense.
But imagine, Owen’s dulcet tones uttering those words, and you can see why it comes across as, well, a little bit stupid.
So, budding footballers, take note of this vital tidbit of information. If you want to make it to the Women’s Super League or Premier League you gotta learn how to stay in the game. Twice.
14) “That’s a fantastic penalty, but he’ll be gutted it went wide.”
What a generous man Michael Owen is.
This particular gem in our top 15 best Michael Owen quotes and commentary was in response to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s missed spot-kick against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup.
A particularly interesting one, considering all the goals Owen himself has scored. Indeed, if an ex-striker utters that a missed penalty is still ‘fantastic’, you know something’s wrong.
Before we know it, he’ll come out with comments like ‘that’s a fantastic celebration, he’ll be gutted he broke his ankle’.
13) ”I doubt Everton are going to get anything out of this game.”
Let’s set the scene here before we start pointing any fingers.
Liverpool at Goodison Park, another electric Merseyside derby. 50 minutes in and the Reds are already 4-0 up courtesy of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, and Daniel Sturridge.
Yep, we too doubt Everton were going to get anything out of the game. A very intelligent conclusion to come to Michael. Well done.
12) “What a feeling it is to be a manager and bring someone on.”
This man’s analyses are truly phenomenal. It’s one our top 15 best Michael Owen quotes and commentary can’t omit.
At least we know that if Michael Owen ever were to make the transition from pundit to manager, whoever he manages will be in safe hands.
Never mind what’s been happening between him and Alan Shearer. Even if he has come out with stuff like:
”I don’t need to justify myself to f****** Newcastle fans”
Indeed, his knowledge of the sport knows no bounds. Which is why we feel as if FIFA and UEFA should continue to ensure that managers are able to bring players on, so football becomes a changed sport and everyone can feel the way Michael feels.
11) “It’s definitely hit Defoe’s hand as it’s gone in, but it’s not a handball for me.”
This one has obviously aged better than expected, given the current state of VAR-inspired football.
Before things got all techy though, this would go down as one of the most ridiculous pieces of commentary in the whole of football.
Nowadays though, intention, whether it was deliberate, and all that hoo-ha, saves Owen from any real ridicule.
But let’s pretend it’s the 2000s and laugh away. Especially with the next ten in the list to come…
10) ‘Footballers these days often have to use their feet’
Perhaps it’s unfair to call the Englishman out on this one, but in our quest to hunt down the top 15 best Michael Owen quotes and commentary, we’d go amiss if we didn’t mention it.
Maybe what the ex-striker was alluding to was not being able to simply use the ‘lob-it-up-front-and-hope-for-the-best’ approach anymore – technicality, skill, and verve are very much in trend in the current era.
But the better question to ask is ‘what did they use before, then?’
9) ‘He looks like a footballer’
Owen’s description of Manchester United’s Anthony Martial as his side played against Liverpool was pretty insightful stuff. According to the Chester-born lad, Martial, who was quite rightly playing football at the time, ‘looked like a footballer’.
If that wasn’t informative enough, the 39-year-old followed it up with more of the good stuff: a 15-minute conversation surrounding Martial and his teammate Paul Pogba’s socks.
Clearly exactly the kind of conversation one expects to have when discussing all things football with Owen.
8) ‘He’s elbowed him in the head, but there’s nothing in it for me’
Very Keane-esq from the former Liverpool forward to imply that an elbow to the head is a pretty standard thing to experience during the game.
And that’s not the only controversial things he’s said while watching games…
It looked good on paper and it looks good on grass too. Pogba class. The Premier League title is heading to the North West this season.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) August 19, 2016
Owen himself was impartial to cries and screams of pain, all induced by one tug of the shirt.
A comment like this is pretty heartless. What else is there to say?
7) ‘Alderweireld? A Spurs player?’
Alright, sure, that’s not exactly what Owen said, but it’s probably the kind of thing he would say.
What the ex-striker really came out with was much worse.
When speaking about the Belgian Toby Alderweireld, the Englishman spoke about his inclusion in the squad as if Spurs and Tottenham were different teams.
Proof that, as Owen himself says, the impossible is possible. The same man can play for the same team.
So, could the centre-back transfer his from Tottenham to Spurs? Well, Michael, I hate to break it to you, but…
6) “That would’ve been a goal had it gone inside the post.”
The more we travel further down our list of top 15 best Michael Owen quotes and commentary, the more you get the feeling that the pundit’s understanding of football is next to none.
This may seem harsh – for all we know perhaps football was a different game back in the black and white days of…1990. Ahem.
Which is why for someone playing football as recently as the 2000s and working as a full-time football (emphasis on football) pundit, comments like ‘that would’ve been a goal had it one inside the post’ are especially puzzling.
Before you know it, he’ll be coming out with gems like ‘you need to score more than the opposition to win a game’.
5) ‘It’s hit the facial part of his head, there’
The ‘facial part of his head’, is more commonly known as the face.
But in the world of Michael Owen, these are two separate entities. Next up, watch as he describes a goal as having struck the ‘footy part of the foot’. Or worse, a handball as having hit the player’s ‘handy part of the hand’.
4) ‘If there’s a bit of rain about, it makes the surface wet’
Now, this particular piece of outstanding analysis definitely deserves a special mention in our top 15 Best Michael Owen quotes and commentary list.
When discussing Liverpool’s win over Newcastle last season during an especially wet evening on Tyne Side, Owen had this to say about the weather:
‘If there’s a bit of rain about, it makes the surface wet’.
Now, if we’d have known that Owen had a degree in meteorology, this wouldn’t be an issue. But as a football pundit, it’s definitely one of the stupidest things we’ve ever heard.
Who knew that water was wet?
3) ‘An unstoppable shot…that should’ve been saved?’
Exactly our thoughts – and probably the thoughts of even the most die-hard Owen fans – as we read the Owen caption that’s wagering in as top three of our top 15 Michael Owen quotes and commentary.
As the horse-racing guru commentated under the floodlights of the Emirates, watching the Gunner’s take on their North London rivals Arsenal, Thomas Rosicky’s rocket of a shot put Arsene Wenger’s side up 1-0.
More importantly, led to this pearl of a comment:
‘That’s completely unstoppable, but the keeper’s got to do better for me’.
The question in response isn’t ‘how much better can a keeper do with an unstoppable shot’. But ‘how does Owen keep trumping himself with these thoughtless comments?’.
The answer may never be found.
2) ‘It’s a good run, but it’s a poor run if you know what I mean?’
No, Michael, we don’t.
Are you trying to say that that the bloke in question didn’t run in the right direction? Was he running away from his goal? Running too slow? Or was he running too fast?
However, we’ll never know because Owen never clarifies things whenever he periodically comes out with an absolute shocker.
And as absolute shockers go, this is right up there.
1) ‘When the ball is that still, it’s wobbling in the air’
From meteorologist to the physician, the gem of a quote that’s leading the race in our top 15 best Michael Owen quotes and commentary list is:
‘When the ball is that still, it’s wobbling in the air’.
Here we have the 39-year-old in his natural habitat, redefining the laws of physics. Because of course, in the Michael Owen world of commentary, science is no longer science, and inanimate balls can be still and moving all at once.
If that doesn’t convince you of his punditry incompetence, then there’s not much more we can offer to do the trick.