Former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United striker Michael Owen has been involved in the gambling scene for a very long time.
Breaking into the Liverpool first team at just 17 years old, Owen soon found himself amongst the hustle and bustle of away day card games such as poker, which would be played on away day coaches and in hotels. His card playing antics would later hit the headlines as it emerged that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney had built up gambling debts to the tune of £70,000 whilst playing poker with Michael Owen.
Owen’s love of betting soon moved into the horse racing sphere. Introduced by his father at an early age, Owen would help his dad pick horses for weekend accumulator bets. Once earning huge amounts of money through being a professional footballer, he decided to take his passion one step further and become a racehorse owner.
“£10 on a horse is not going to interest me, so instead of £10 you bet £100, or whatever is relative to you.”
Spending £100,000 on his first two horses (Ettiene Lady and Talk To Mojo) Michael has gone on to co-own Manor House Stables in Cheshire with Betfair founder Andrew Black. 2013 Goodwood Cup winner Brown Panther is owned by the pair.
Michael Owen admits he doesn’t bet as much as he used to these days, telling the Radio times “Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the buzz of backing a winner. But on average it will be two or three horses a day now. It used to be a lot more in the days when I had no family commitments, and after finishing training I’d either play golf or watch racing.”
His partnership with Andrew Black is big business. The Manor House Stable employs over 40 staff and looks after around 100 horses, all of which are trained by Tom Dascombe.
Football and horse racing are well and truly combined when you take a look at some of the owners Michael Owen has on his books. Wayne Rooney has his own racehorse, fellow Manchester United player Tom Cleverley owns a share in another, and Charlie Adam also has a quarter share in a horse under Owen’s care.
With all the negativity hitting the news recently about betting within football circles, match fixing and corruption, Michael Owen has maintained that gambling has never been a problem for him. His personal betting account history was made public which alleged that he lost amounts running into very large figures.
Owen responded by stating “You don’t ideally want it in the public domain. Why would I want to rub anyone’s nose in it? But the fact is that £10 on a horse is not going to interest me, so instead of £10 you bet £100, or whatever is relative to you.”
Problem gambling amongst the professional football community is very much on the increase but Michael Owen appears to have his head screwed on and is making his passion for horse racing pay. Maybe Michael Chopra should’ve asked Mr. Owen for some advice?
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