Newcastle United's already troubled season hit more problems Wednesday when Michael Owen and Joey Barton both suffered serious injuries in the team's 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, while manager Joe Kinnear said that the club's owner, Mike Ashley, was suffering hard from the economic downturn and might be struggling to pay the players. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Shay Given will likely leave for Manchester City before the Feb. 2 transfer deadline.
"Mike has lost £2 billion [$2.86 billion] in his own business because of the credit crunch," Kinnear said. "It's not easy for him. He's paying the wages, just about. But it's in the [financial] records, you just have to look."
Owen suffered a broken ankle that will put him out for at least six to eight weeks, while Barton's injury looked like a broken metatarsal, which Kinnear called that "that dreaded word again, and the docs are saying 10 weeks." The loss left Newcastle five places off the bottom and without a win in their last seven matches.
Kinnear said that it was tough to look at a team like Tottenham Hotspur offering huge sums for various players, and said he would "love to go and spend millions like that and I wish I was in the position to do so. But you can see why a lot of big names out there didn't have the arsehole to take this job. You can see why so many people bottled it."