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Life After Alex: the Owen Saga as a Commoner – Part 2: a Pub in Canada

May 30, 2011

Owen: the sad ballad continues...

My first week back in Alberta was a quiet one.

I had forgotten how much space and silence there was in Canada. A vast land where nature rules and the people are few.

Soon after my arrival, my agent arranged for an interview with the local sports channel.

The interview never happened, though.

According to my agent, they had to drop me at the last minute because some big hockey story had just come up.

It was NHL play-off season after all.

They said they’d call back the next day.

It’s been days, and they remain silent.

Ah, what the hell. They must be busy anyways.

And I have been very busy too, of course.

Unpacking wasn’t easy. And it took me a few hours to learn how to drive on the other side of the road again.

Little things like that can take up a lot of your time, you know…

But today, Saturday, I am determined to give myself some leisure time.

I plan on going to town to find a pub, and watch the final of the Champions League between Barcelona and Man United.

It will be nice to see Sir Alex and the boys once again.

Maybe it will even feel like I’m right there, with the lads, cheering each other on.

Maybe…

I walk into the pub, and see a sea of red.

To my surprise, the pub is filled with United fans. Just a handful of Barcelona supporters sit by the corner.

I make my way over to the bar and find myself a seat, next to a quiet young man who drinks a Budweiser.

I’m a little late, and as I sit down, Pedro scores for Barcelona. 1 x 0.

Silence takes over the place. No curses or anything of the sort. Just silence.

As if they had been expecting tragedy to hit.

This was Barcelona we were playing after all.

Rooney didn’t care, though, and decides to tie the score.

What a goal. It lifts me from my seat. I want to celebrate!

Without thinking, I desperately look around for Alex and Michael, Rafael and Scholes…then I remember.

I am not sitting on the United bench.

I am at a pub.

In Alberta.

Canada.

Far away from the homeland.

But wasn’t Canada the homeland?

I’m confused…

Everything gets darker from here.

Messi and Villa revoke Alex’s Knighthood, and bestow a King’s crown upon the shaven head of their stylish boss.

Barcelona 3 x 1 Manchester United.

And the knot in my throat is as tight as the angry fists of Alex, the Knight reduced to a stable boy.

I call the bartender over, and ask for the bill.

This is no leisure time.

It’s torture. All over again.

The bartender comes around. And then he stops. And stares at me.

“Holy crap, it’s you! Owen!”, he says in excitement.

“Michael Owen? What?”, says the Budweiser guy to my left, jumping in.

“No, no. Hargreaves! Owen Hargreaves, right here! The Canadian-born English player”, the bartender corrects him.

“Ah…”, exclaims the man next to me, completely indifferent to the information provided by the server.

“I heard you were back, man”, continues the bartender. “Hey, too bad about your Man United Owen. Maybe if you were there, this wouldn’t have happened, eh?!”

He concludes, smiling at me, somehow feeling the need to cheer me up.

“Yea, maybe!”

I tell him, smiling in gratitude.

The bartender hands me another pint, and then pours himself a drink.

He lifts his glass up. And I follow suit.

We clink glasses.

We share a little chuckle and sip our drinks.

As we turn our attention back to the television, the referee blows the last whistle.

Manchester United were humiliated.

The bartender shrugs his shoulders.

Both him and I know that me being there would not have changed anything.

Barcelona would have been Champions regardless.

But just the thought…the thought of playing at another Champions League final…what a great feeling.

Memories…

The man to my left downs his beer and puts his bottle on the countertop.

He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and then says:

“Alright! Mr. Hard Graves, the game is done and I’m getting bored. Now…”

(he pauses for a second)

“…tell me your story.”

RB.

Click here for the Prologue to my Owen Saga.

Click here for the First part to my Owen Saga.

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