Michael Owen bemused by Newcastle United boos
Manchester United striker Michael Owen says he was disappointed after being booed by Newcastle fans during Tuesday's 0-0 draw at St James' Park.
The former Magpies man was jeered when he came on after 81 minutes.
Owen said on Twitter: "Got a poor reception off the home fans which was disappointing. Was desperate to score!"
He added: "Knew I would get booed as that's what a lot of fans do but if they knew the facts then they may have a different opinion."
Owen joined Newcastle from Real Madrid for £16m in 2005 and scored 30 goals in 79 appearances in an injury-hit four years on Tyneside.
The England striker was unable to prevent Newcastle being relegated to the Championship in 2009 and left the club that summer to join Manchester United on a free transfer.
After Tuesday's match, Owen, 31, hit back at negative comments from Magpies' fans, saying (hereafter all quotes are reported verbatim): "From what most of you Newcastle fans are saying you should be pleased I left the club! If i had known that earlier I could have left sooner!
"For the record, I tried my best in every game for Newcastle. Under KK (Kevin Keegan) I played well and i'll never forget the 2 I scored against Sunderland (on 20 April 2008).
"When I meet Newcastle or Liverpool fans they all respect what I've done for their clubs. In stadiums it changes, 1 boo and the rest follow.
"By the way, im not looking for sympathy. As long as my family don't boo me when I walk through the door I couldn't care less!!!"
Owen had expected a difficult reception on his return to St James' Park, saying prior to the game: "What a day, it's even sunny here in Newcastle! Looking forward to seeing old friends but I doubt the fans will give me a warm reception!"
The result meant Manchester United missed the chance to open up a nine-point gap at the top of the Premier League table - with Arsenal seven points behind with a game in hand.
Owen added: "Disappointing result but credit to Newcastle, they played well and put us under plenty of pressure especially in the first half an hour."
But after the game, Owen, who has more than 120,000 followers on Twitter, was involved in a frank exchange with the Daily Mirror's chief sports writer Oliver Holt on the social networking site.
Owen and Holt's Twitter exchange in full:
Holt: "Honest question then Michael: why don't you tell them the facts?"
Owen: "I try to answer most questions Ollie but can't be bothered* being a back page story so some things don't need to be said!"
*The BBC has substituted "bothered" for the word Michael Owen actually used
Holt: "Fair enough, Michael. But I think sometimes if fans and journalists knew facts, there would be more sympathy with players."
Owen: "Fair point. The relationship between players and media is poor and needs improving as the people who suffer are fans."
Holt: "Probably worse now between media and players than back in 97-98 when you burst on to scene. More contact then, I think."
Owen: "If papers printed what is actually said then i think players would talk to you more openly. I know I would."
Holt: "You have spent a lot of your career writing for our newspapers, though Michael, both tabloids and broadsheets."
Owen: "It's the sensationalising of headlines that annoys most players. It makes us look like clowns when most lads are normal."
Holt: "Headlines are a problem for a lot of writers, too. Comes down to trusting a journalist to look after you, I suppose."
Owen: "But I made sure I had headline approval! My point is, the articles are fine, it's the headlines that make us look stupid."
Holt: "Agreed. Think we are at a point where writers need to fight for right headline to ensure bit of trust with player spoken to"
Owen: "And there is my point. The trust just isn't there hence the relationship between players and journalists is non existent."
Holt: "Players and media stuck in bad cycle now. Understand why trust has broken down but less contact is making things worse. Part of problem is no contact. GNev (Gary Neville) said journos should stay in England hotel so we'd have to face you after bad piece."