Michael bloody Owen. This man has plagued me for over a decade. It is only now that I finally feel capable of putting my complaints into words a little more constructive than expletive strewn rantifications.
Which is rather good timing… as something tragic has recently happened. Freshly signed on a free transfer by debt-ridden Manchester United, he has been given the symbolic number 7 shirt. As worn previously by “great” players such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona… and more recently David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. All players who, in their own ways, were/are more dramatic than the average footballer.
Owen himself has said this about the matter: “I was quite shocked when the manager asked me to wear it, but obviously very honoured… You only have to look at the last half a dozen players to have worn the shirt. There are some fantastic players and I’ll obviously do my best to continue that tradition, score a few goals and to do the shirt proud. I know it means a lot to the fans. That’s what the manager said to me straight away. He said I’d need broad shoulders to wear it and I told him that was fine, that I could handle that responsibility.” (from Goal.com)
I propose that, even with “a few goals” he will fail. I do not doubt Michael Owen’s “greatness” in terms of the development of the specialist technical and physical skills of Association Football. He is a significantly more efficient team member than you, me or indeed many other Premiershit footballers. I don’t even mind that he is seemingly permanently injured… The problem is thus: Michael Owen exemplifies the boring workmanlike unaesthetics so prevalent through sport. It’s hard to describe him, of course, for he is tedious, mindnumbing. Paint drying and all that.
These unaesthetics help deprive consumed sport of its greatest tool – a powerful narrative legitimized by the “undecided” authority of sport – storytelling in realtime with the conclusion literally balanced on a knife-edge… a story so “real” not only are you left guessing the ending, but so are the storytellers.
But what are stories without great characters?! Michael Owen is so… noting… zilch. His existence does not matter. His dreary politeness insults my Love of the DRAMA football is so fabulously capable of. I find Owen to be pathetic. If boring art is a waste of canvass than this boring man is a waste of life.
Of course, Owen is not solely responsible. Indeed the increasingly sterilized world of football is a much bigger worry. After all, this is the postmodern industry so happy to make this nothing waste-of-space a poster boy. Owen is a symbol of something wider. But I believe in striking against symbols. Damn you Michael Owen! BECOME INTERESTING!!