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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 02:03 GMT 03:03 UK
Owen reveals Shearer role in move
Michael Owen
Newcastle striker Michael Owen has revealed Alan Shearer played a major role in persuading him to join the Magpies from Real Madrid.

Owen, 25, who will be officially unveiled by Newcastle on Wednesday, has agreed a four-year deal and is believed to have cost a club record 17m.

"Alan was a great help throughout and was instrumental in my decision," said Owen, writing in The Times newspaper.

"He even offered to give up his number nine shirt, but I've declined."

I was uncertain that a Liverpool bid would be accepted in time and I wanted to play for a club who really wanted me
Michael Owen

On Monday, Owen travelled to England from Spain and met Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez for two-and-a-half hours on Monday before going to Northumberland.

There he met Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd and his son, manager Graeme Souness, captain Alan Shearer and coach Dean Saunders.

Newcastle's red carpet treatment finally convinced Owen to join the club rather than his old team Liverpool.

"I was uncertain that a Liverpool bid would be accepted in time and I wanted to play for a club who really wanted me.

"My mind was made up, particularly when I thought back to the excellent meeting I had enjoyed with the Newcastle directors, management and Alan Shearer.

"We met the large Newcastle contingent at a grand country house, although I didn't know there were cameras in the bushes.

"The meeting went on for almost three hours and what was said made a very strong impression on me.

"Alan should work for the Newcastle tourist board when he finishes playing football."

This is Shearer's final season as a player, and Owen said he was thrilled by the chance to play alongside him and in front of the Newcastle fans.

"I will regard playing alongside him in his last season as an honour," he said.

"There is no way Newcastle should be where they are in the table with that calibre of player.

"I have a lot of good memories of St James' Park, including a hat-trick on my first visit with Liverpool.

"I was clapped off by the home fans that afternoon and I only hope that I can give them plenty more reasons to cheer me."


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