Michael Owen: Chester still hope to sign former England striker

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Michael Owen

Michael Owen's hometown club Chester have not given up on the former England striker playing for them next season.

Owen announced on Tuesday he was to finish playing at the end of the season after a 16-year career.

But Pat Cluskey, chief executive of the Blue Square Bet North leaders, hopes the 33-year-old might join them if they win promotion to the fifth tier.

"If Michael wants to play again then we'll happily reserve the number 10 shirt for him," he told BBC Sport.

Owen, who currently plays for Stoke City, is no stranger to the Deva Stadium.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United player attended the venue with his father Terry, a former Chester player, as recently as 4 March to see them overcome League One Tranmere Rovers in the Cheshire Senior Cup quarter-final.

Chester are 16 points clear at the top of the tableexternal-link with eight games remaining, and are already planning for life in the Blue Square Bet Premier, the division below League Two.

The supporter-owned club was formed after the demise of Chester City, wound up at a High Court hearing in March 2010 and a Football League club as recently as 2008-09.

The Football Association has opened talks with Owen about a possible ambassadorial role with England.

But Cluskey says Owen's affection for the club is clear.

"He is from the area and very proud of where he was brought up," he said.

"He has promoted the club on Twitter. He sponsors some of our players and has recently donated a pair of signed boots to raise money for the youth section.

"We'd love to see Michael wear the blue and white shirt.

"We already average gates of around 2,500 a game, but if Michael came along then that would double.

"It would be a great boost for the club and the city."