If there ever was a day Michael Owen could relive, it would be the 2001 FA Cup final. With about three to four minutes left of the match between Liverpool and Arsenal, he sprinted past Lee Dixon and Tony Adams, and scored the winning goal for The Reds, proving that he has a strong left foot after all.
“It was the exact moment my boyhood dreams came true,” says the 43-year-old, who also played for Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Stoke City, and England (89 times), before hanging up his boots in 2013.
“When I was a kid, the FA Cup final was one of the biggest games of the year. But lifting up that trophy is just the icing on the cake. The true feeling is the 10-15 seconds after scoring a goal and realising that you are going to win. That’s the moment.
“You have an adrenaline rush and lose touch of where you are. Listen, it’s been 10 years since I retired and I [still] can’t find anything in life that gives me the same feeling. Just incredible.”
Owen, who is also a regular TV pundit, doesn’t miss playing football but has found other ways to maintain his “absolute love” for the game. “I watch games from a different perspective now, especially since doing a lot of TV work. I’m always thinking about how I can inform the viewer, share insight, and bring my own experience into it,” he says on a Zoom call from his home near Chester.
“I’m also at the stage in my career and life where clothes are pretty important to me too. I’m not running around the pitch or promoting energy drinks and sportswear anymore. My work is now about being seen on TV and appearance is a big part of that. So it’s important to look presentable and feel good when you are about to go on air.”
Owen’s personal style has always been pretty consistent: classic, smart, and gentlemanly. He stays within the boundaries of never wearing anything “really outlandishly mad” and doesn’t mind a bit of colour here or there.
“But I’m a father of four and my children are at the age — my eldest is 20 now and my youngest is 13 — where they all have their own opinion about my fashion choices. I get more tips nowadays than I ever have before,” he says.
So when England’s 11th most-capped player started working on his own menswear collection, called The Michael Owen Edit, with British high-street brand Peacocks, it was an eye-opening experience.
The collection includes casual staple pieces, such as chinos, knitwear, a bomber jacket, smart polo shirts, and stretchy jeans, all in high-quality materials.
“I wanted the collection to fit and suit me. It felt right straight away. I had no idea so much thought and attention to detail went into a simple t-shirt,” he says. “I’ve loved learning more about menswear and helping design pieces that I think represent my own style.”
His love for learning new things is also what convinced the former professional footballer to buy a farm at 24 and turn it into Manor House Stables. It’s at the heart of Cheshire near Malpas, and the home of his business, The Michael Owen Racing Club, which allows racing fans to experience racehorse ownership with an annual membership of the club for £95.
“I’ve been trading at Manor House for 20-odd years,” Owen says. “I started very small. We were trading 10-15 horses, now we’re trading 110-115 horses. It’s a big business — we employ 40-odd people — that has been really popular for people who want to get a piece of the action for a small amount of money.
“It’s a sport I feel like I know, because there’s a relationship between football and racing. We are doing the same thing. We’re trying to train a body and mind to be fast and durable. It’s a competition. It’s people. It’s social. The whole thing is a massive passion of mine.
“And [the] horses are magnificent animals that we treat with utmost care. We give them the best feed, the best care, the best everything, to be legends themselves in many ways.”
Owen didn’t know what he had to do to lock in his status as an England football legend, but he’s really grateful. “You don’t get called that at the start of your career, and I was always so focused on the next thing and never really looked back. I don’t think about it much or know how to feel.
“It’s why I have great admiration for footballers such as Marcus Rashford and Jude Bellingham, who are brilliant on and off the pitch. I know this path and how hard it is. You’re only taught to be a footballer, but because you are a footballer, you get pushed in front of hordes of press to speak on behalf of the nation. But even though our voices travel far and wide, we aren’t politicians.
“It’s about being confident and learning fast; understanding what’s right and wrong. My family always teases me and says I think I’m bloody good at everything. If I was playing Tiger Woods in golf, I’d probably think I’m going to beat him even though I’ve got no chance. But I’m a bit delusional like that. And I guess football has driven that since I was a kid.”
The Michael Owen Edit is available now online and across the 340 Peacocks stores nationwide. Peacocks offers fashion for all the family at affordable prices and great quality.