Times Online reveals today of a remarkable twist in the trial involving former champion jockey Kieren Fallon in London yesterday. Fallon told police that Michael Owen, the Newcastle United and England striker, contacted him every day for information on his rides.
Regular contact between Owen and Fallon surfaced when the latter was questioned about providing information to his former chauffeur, Philip Sherkle. Sherkle subsequently passed the information on to Miles Rodgers, who allegedly backed or laid horses through Betfair on the basis of Fallon’s texts.
Michael Owen, was reported to have lost around £20,000 and £30,000 in between the year of 2003 and 2005. Owen emphasised that racing was his other passion outside football.
Three months ago Owen unveiled his Manor House racing stables, which embraces 130 acres in Cheshire. Nicky Vaughan is the resident trainer at a site Owen plans to develop into a 100-box facility.
Michael Owen was not the first player who have passion in betting and gambling. Keith Gillespie was the other Newcastle player who also addicted to gamble.
In the mid-1990s, Keith Gillespie, while he is still playing for Manchester United, going to Manchester bookmakers after morning training to put bets on for his manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) and the other players. Gillespie later admitted to a gambling problem and once lost £47,000 in a single day.
Ferguson’s fondness for gambling is well-known in soccer circles. In his unauthorised biography of the manager, journalist Michael Crick writes: “It is no secret that Alex Ferguson loves a bet. Gambling and horse racing are almost in his blood. As a boy his father employed him to take bets to his local illegal bookmakers. As a player in Scotland, he and his colleagues spent much of their day mulling over the racing pages.”
According to players, Ferguson has in the past allowed his squad to play card games for substantial sums of money, occasionally joining in himself. In the early 1990s, players would lose up to £200 a hand at a time when they were earning £1000 a week.