Michael Owen: From Ballon d’Or winner to owner of one of the best stables in the world

Professional footballers aren’t guaranteed a successful second act after retirement and the harsh reality is that a large majority of them arrive at this stage of their lives unprepared and unsure about what to do next. Michael Owen, however, is the exception to the rule given that the former England striker began building the now famous Manor House Stables four years before he retired.

In short, Owen has been hugely successful with this venture, and tellingly, the Goodwood racing odds indicate as much having priced one of his horses, Ever Given, at just 20/1 to win the Goodwood Cup. It’s worth pointing out that the latest Goodwood tips, which provide the inside track for the entire week’s races, do predict that other horses will finish ahead of Owen’s but still, the former Liverpool player has got to the stage where his horses are able to compete for the biggest prizes in the world.

It has been a remarkable journey that began in 2007 when Owen was plying his trade in the North East for Newcastle United. At the time, Owen was so invested in building his stables’ brand that he would use a helicopter to get to and from training which would involve a 45-minute flight from Cheshire to Newcastle.

Understandably, it was a decision that caused a fair amount of dissent among the Newcastle fans who were riled up at having to fight relegation whilst their players seemingly lived the high life. In Owen’s case, this couldn’t be further from the truth as the Englishman burned the candle at both ends in order to score goals for the Geordies while putting the foundations in place for life after football.

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Up until then, the striker had enjoyed a glittering career having played for Liverpool and Real Madrid. It was in 2001, six years before Owen began transforming an unused barn into the Manor Hosue Stables that he won the most prestigious accolade any footballer can, the Ballon d’Or. This was without a doubt the pinnacle of Owen’s career with major trophies eluding to the forward despite being one of the best players on the planet in the early 2000s.

Irrespective of that, it was a remarkable career still and one that Owen will look back on with an immense sense of pride.

There is a chance though, that Owen’s second act could outdo his career as a footballer after turning Manor House Stables into one of the best in the world. Indeed, Owen has had winners in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot back in 2011 as well as at Ebor Festival in York, where Ever Given won in August 2021.

It goes without saying but it’s evident that the former Real Madrid player has found a winning formula and knows what he’s doing in a field that he has had to work tirelessly in so that he can rub shoulders with the industry’s best.

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It’s been an inspiring journey so far and a life well lived by a man who shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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