Former Newcastle United and England internationals Michael Owen and Alan Shearer have become embroiled in a bitter online spat, re-igniting what Owen calls a decade-long "feud".
Writing on Twitter today Shearer took aim at Owen over his last years at the St James' Park club, sharing a video of Owen saying he "couldn't wait to retire" at the time with the caption "Yes Michael, we thought that also, whilst on £120k a week....."
Owen then took the bizarre and very public spat up a notch by replying with a dig at Shearer's loyalty to the Magpies.
"Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate. I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out."
Former Spurs, Barcelona and England star Gary Lineker, who has worked alongside Shearer on Match of the Day, says the back and forth is "awkward" before adding "There appears to be a bit of history here? I like you both so don’t want to pick sides. *removes creosote from arse."
Owen replied by saying "Are you surprised he’s manipulated a tiny part of an honest answer to aim a cheap dig at me? Most ex players I’ve spoken to aren’t."
Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out mate. I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out. https://t.co/ZQBrlojeEv
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) September 3, 2019
The timing of the row is interesting - Owen has his new autobiography 'Reboot - My Life, My Time' coming out this Thursday, in which he discusses his disappointment in moving to the North East from Real Madrid, after having his heart set on a return to Liverpool.
Parts of the book have been serialised in the Daily Mirror. There Owen writes about the reasons behind the breakdown in his relationship with Shearer, the Premier League's all-time top goalscorer with 260 goals.
"Sadly, this feud has continued to the present day. The more I think about it, the more I understand why Alan behaves the way he does and continues to spread negativity about me whenever he can.
"He was brought in at St. James’ Park as the saviour, the local boy. It could have been a great story. But he failed. Newcastle United were relegated. Perhaps rather than examine his own shortcomings, it felt easier to blame Michael Owen."
Owen also took a swipe at Shearer's brief caretaker manager spell at St James' Park.
"When you analyse it, it all makes sense. Shearer’s record as manager in the last eight games of that 2008/2009 season was dire: lost 5, drew 2, won 1. These are hardly God-like stats."