Sunney Nunney with Gregg Nunney

Michael Owen's goal against Argentina was so long ago it was in black and white!

Michael Owen's goal against Argentina was so long ago it was in black and white!

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In the midst of stories of economic despair and debates over foreign policy you may have missed the news that one of the most iconic faces of my generation has, at the age of 33, announced his retirement.

Fifteen years ago Michael Owen was a big name in football, second only to a certain Mr Beckham.

He burst on to the scene during the 1998 World Cup and scored an amazing goal in that second round match against Argentina.

I remember watching it at the Pemberton Centre in Rushden – what a day. The first World Cup I had really thrown myself into and the shocking red card that, for a few months at least, made Becks public enemy number one.

Back to Michael Owen.

For a few short years he could do no wrong.

People respected his devotion to Liverpool and his placid and staid demeanour was a contrast to the excessiveness of the likes of Fowler, McManaman and the emerging ‘Spice Boy’ footballer generation.

Sadly, in the years that followed, he was plagued by injury and spent an ill-advised couple of years playing second fiddle at Real Madrid.

Michael Owen, the sports star of the day, became a figure of ridicule overnight. For the final chapter of his career he’s been largely a bench-warmer at Stoke City where, this season, he has only made six appearances.

When you like sport as a kid all of your heroes are older than you.

As you grow up you identify with those – like Owen for me – who are the same age and then there comes a point, as I discovered this week, when those very stars hang up their boots and retire.

The new generation of soccer stars weren’t even born when ‘football came home’ in 1996 and have lived their entire lives with Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United. Imagine that.

Still, whatever happens, I can always take comfort in the fact that I’ll never be as old as Ryan Giggs…