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“I honestly almost smashed my radio…” – Michael Owen launches bizarre rant following Gary Neville’s Man Utd doping claim



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Michael Owen has launched a bizarre response to former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville after he spoke about doping in football.

The former Premier League striker has refuted the idea that doping is widespread across the game after Neville’s recent comments on the subject.

Earlier this year, the ex-United right-back explained that he had concerns that Italian clubs were doping when United would face them in the Champions League.

“I think there were a few teams we played against who weren’t clean. We thought it at the time,” he recalled on the Stick to Football podcast.

“My point is when you look back at what came out after in cycling and other sports with doctors, you do think. We thought it at the time that there were things.

“Physically, we were fit, we weren’t drinkers [but] that’s not right, there is something not right. I came off the pitch, and I thought, that’s not right, that’s not right. I’m sorry.

“I know that a couple of the other lads in the mid-2000s thought exactly the same thing. But there are no excuses.”

Now, in an interview with BetIdeas, Owen has launched a response to Neville and an overall rant about the idea that doping is a regularity in football.

“I’m not denying Gary Neville, he might’ve thought somebody was running a bit further than he was at the time, but I’ve never seen anything or heard anything in my time, and I think the testing is pretty damn robust, personally,” he started.

“I never normally listen to the radio but I was driving somewhere the other day. I think I was picking my daughter up from athletics and for some reason, the radio was on and people were debating it.

“I think a journalist was saying that the only reason that more footballers have not been caught is because the testing is rubbish, this is probably why I don’t listen to the radio. I honestly almost smashed my radio and phoned up the channel.

“You wouldn’t believe how stringent the testing is. Even when I was playing about 15 years ago we had people turning up to training regularly for random checks before games and after games.

“You could hardly get home after finishing a game dehydrated and sat in the stadium for three hours because you can’t pee and it’s virtually happening every single game.

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You have all these spot checks and you had to write out a diary every week of where you were going to be for every single minute of each day. And if you’re not there, let’s say my kid needs picking up and I’m going to do it, if they turn up and you’re not where you said you were going to be at home, let’s say, I’d get a big mark against my name. If you get three then you would be banned. It’s the most intrusive thing in the world that they do.

“I’ve never seen or heard of anybody taking anything in my life and I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m not stupid, I can see how people would get a slight advantage by taking something but football is so much more about intelligence and skill. Yes about being able to run fast or whatever but for the punishment and minimal gain?

“The game is about the brain. Why aren’t all the 100m runners in the Olympics footballers, because there is much more money in the game? It’s much more fun surely, if it’s not just about athleticism.

“So I’ve never really believed it. I’m not daft enough to think it doesn’t happen in real isolated incidents but I don’t believe it’s widespread at all and anybody that says the testing is rubbish and all the rest of it, that’s the most flimsy and uneducated comment in the world.

“15 years ago it was really intrusive and borderline ridiculous, I can’t imagine it’s more slack now.”