Shearer and Owen in bitter Twitter row as new book escalates feud
They are two of England's greatest goalscorers and former team-mates, but a bitter feud that has been simmering in private for years between Alan Shearer and Michael Owen has suddenly gone public in an ugly Twitter exchange.
Shearer and Owen's relationship soured badly when they were together at Newcastle United and the pair have been exchanging barbed text messages for some time.
But when Owen chose to go public with the dispute in his new autobiography, 'Reboot', mocking Shearer's short managerial career in an attempt to defend himself from criticism after his injury-plagued spell at Newcastle, his former captain did not take it well.
While in the manager's chair, Shearer had questioned Owen's reluctance to play for Newcastle at the end of the 2008-09 season that ended in relegation.
Earlier that season, with his contract due to expire, and despite a succession of injury absences, Owen's representatives had produced a brochure insisting their client was 100 per cent fit in an effort to drum up interest in the striker as he entered the final weeks of his deal.
That did not sit well with Newcastle fans, who had questioned his desire to be at the club almost as soon as he arrived in a then club-record £16 million deal from Real Madrid.
Owen admits in his book that he did not want to sign for Newcastle in 2005, but defended himself after accusations he refused to play in the relegation run-in.
"There has been a lot of lies, bulls*** and general misinformation surrounding the end of my time at Newcastle," said Owen.
"Sadly, this feud (with Shearer) has continued. The more I think about it, the more I understand why Alan behaves the way he does and continues to spread negativity about me. He was brought in at St James' as the saviour, the local boy. It could have been a great story. But he failed.
"Shearer's record as manager in the last eight games that season was dire: lost five, drew two, won one. Hardly God-like stats."
Shearer's response on Twitter was brutal as he retweeted an interview in which Owen said: "All I did for the last six, seven years of my career, I hated it. I couldn't wait to retire for most of the back end of my career. Yes, Michael, we thought that also, whilst on a £120,000 a week."
"Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate," replied Owen. "I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench."
Shearer did not respond but has always denied he wanted to leave St James' Park for Liverpool.