For those who think footballers are entitled types, always flashing their money around, here’s a story.
I had been using a gym in Manchester that had a water treadmill – a piece of equipment that was important for knee rehab in that you could exercise without having to bear weight.
Because he’d been injured at Newcastle , Kieron Dyer had seemingly been there at some point prior. Rightly or wrongly, from the beginning of his career, Kieron had this image of being a bit of a boy who liked to go out in town.
Whether he did or not, I have no idea. And even if he did, that was probably more to do with him being nineteen or twenty at the time than because he was a footballer.
One day I was doing some exercises in the gym and this fella approached me.
‘Can I just tell you one thing?’ he said. ‘My disabled son was getting lowered into the swimming pool and Kieron saw us.
‘He came over and talked to us. He was genuinely interested in us and how we coped with my son’s condition.
‘Then, the next day, he came in with a chequebook in his hand and wrote us out a cheque for twenty grand. “I want you to take your son to Disneyland,” he then said. “But I don’t want you to tell anyone about it”.’
Kieron never once told me about this. I consider this to be a great quality. People shouldn’t have to brag about charitable work or going the extra mile for somebody.
Don’t believe everything you read. The Kieron Dyer story really reinforced this for me. I’ll never forget that guy telling me this story with tears in his eyes. I thought, if only people knew…
Michael Owen: Reboot – My Life, My Time, published by Reach Sport, is on sale Thursday 5th September in hardback, ebook and audiobook.