Owen defends Shearer

first_imgFormer Newcastle striker Michael Owen has insisted Alan Shearer was not to blame for the club’s relegation in 2009. Owen added: “It was a steady progression over a period of time more so than what Alan did. Everyone was really up for the fight when he came in. The enthusiasm was there and the crowd were up for it. Unfortunately, things just did not work the way we hoped.” Newcastle were ultimately relegated after a final day 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa in which Owen was only able to appear as a substitute because of a muscle injury. It proved to be his final game in a black and white shirt at the end of a four-year stay following his £16million switch from Real Madrid. Serious injuries severely limited the England international during his time on Tyneside, although he strongly refutes suggestions he simply did not care about the club’s plight. He said: “I was hurt and it is ridiculous to suggest anything else. I had a lot of pride. I wanted to do it for the fans and the friends I had made up there. We all wanted to. “As I was leaving soon after, I was an easy target. Whether it was myths about helicopters or me not living up there. Then it all goes into one pot and gives people the wrong impression. “I just felt I was an easy target by the end of my time.” Shearer, who was in charge for the final eight games of that season, and new director of football Joe Kinnear, who had presided over the club for a little more than six months earlier in the campaign, have had a very public difference of opinion over who was responsible for the Magpies’ demise. However, Owen, who has also been criticised for his contribution to a survival fight which came up short, is adamant a combination of factors was to blame. He told the Chronicle: “Certainly Alan Shearer was only in charge for a short period of time at the end. You certainly cannot blame him for us going down.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Women’s Basketball Signs Pair of High School Standouts for 2020-21

first_imgStorr is a 5-9 guard for Kankakee High School. She had an outstanding junior campaign, averaging 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game helping Kankakee go 31-1 and be  all-city champions. Following her junior year, Storr was an Illinois Miss Basketball nominee, a first-team all-state choice, the South Suburban Conference Most Valuable Player and a USA Today Illinois First Team selection. She is a member of the Chicago Hoops Express club. “We are ecstatic to add these two women to our Bulldog family,” Baranczyk said. “Courtney and Ambranette make up another class that adds to our chemistry and culture.” “Ambranette is a natural scoring guard who has a competitive drive and deep passion for the game,” Baranczyk said. “She has the ability to add another level of rebounding toughness to our guard positions.” “Courtney has a ridiculously high motor, is athletic and versatile and holds an unmatched passion for the game,” Baranczyk said. “She figures out ways to make an impact and knows how to win.” DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University women’s basketball team signed a pair of high school student-athletes, Courtney Becker (Fountain City, Wis.) and Ambranette Storr (Bradley, Ill.) to National Letters of Intent for the 2020-21 season, Suzie Glazer Burt Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk announced Wednesday, Nov. 13. “Drake fans and her future teammates will love Courtney. She is a tough, gritty, unselfish, athletic player. Courtney is all about winning – team success is more important than individual awards or the number of points she scores. Fans are going to love the relentless energy she plays with! Courtney, on the Nike EYBL circuit, was matched up against the best players in the country and always found a way to make plays. Off the court, she is a sweetheart of a kid who has an infectious energy about her that draws her teammates in. We will miss not having her in the club next year. She never missed a practice even though she was nearly three hours away.  She was on teams that were not only the best in Minnesota but one of the best in the country.  She epitomizes everything that is right about youth sports – a great kid from a great family, who values team success over individual awards.”Gerard Coury and Greg Dietel, North Tartan Girls Basketballcenter_img What They Are Saying About The 2020-21 Drake women’s basketball signees…”I am so incredibly proud of Courtney becoming a part of such a successful program. Courtney has a relentless work ethic who can utilize her athleticism to score from all areas on the floor. She will be a great fit for the style and intensity which Drake plays at which includes attacking the rim and knocking down the three”.Dave Donarski, La Crosse Aquinas Head Coach “Ambranette is a hard-working, dedicated and committed student-athlete who is always striving to be the best that she can be on the court and in the classroom.”John Maniatis, Kankakee High School Head Coach Becker, a 6-0 forward, is a multi-sport standout athlete for La Crosse Aquinas High School. She helped the school’s basketball team win back-to-back state titles, the track and field team claim the team state title last spring and the volleyball team finish as state runner ups this fall. On the basketball court, Becker, averaged 14.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game her junior season helping her earn first-team all-state honors. She is a member of the North Tartan club. “Ambranette committing to Drake has special meaning because I remember her mom playing in high school and for a short time her mom played for me. To come full circle with the family and watch her from a young age realize her ultimate dream of playing division one basketball is incredible. She had multiple offers but Drake did a great job of making Ambranette feel special. They paid a great deal of attention to her as a person getting to know her, not only just through her but they got to know her coaches back to her junior high years. I remember coach Jennie (Baranczyk) playing in college and through the years have gotten to know her and the type of coach and family person she is. I felt this was a great opportunity for Ambranette to go to a very good school that has established a winning tradition. As a player Ambranette brings toughness and tenacity. She is a prolific scorer who finishes well attacking the basket along with developing the ability to score on all three levels. She is a good rebounder from the guard spot and a solid de sfender. She is projected to finish her high school career around 2,600 points. She is quiet by nature but has a great personality and her easy-going nature draws people to her. I feel Ambranette will represent Drake well and be an ambassador for the program.”Jerald Davis, Chicago Hoops Express Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more