Date: 22nd August 2009 at 9:54am
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Football Transfers – Michael Owen Bucks the Trend

London, Friday, 21 August 2009: A PR Week report out today has found that newly signed Manchester United striker Michael Owen is the only footballer to emerge from the 2009 transfer window with an enhanced reputation amongst fans.

The report is based on 1062 responses to a survey commissioned jointly by specialist sports PR agency, Braben Sport, and industry leading research company, Football Fans Census.

The survey saw fans rate the conduct of Michael Owen (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City), Darren Bent (Sunderland), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Carlos Tevez (Manchester City). The national survey was conducted online between 4-5 August 2009 and supporters of 119 football teams were represented, including all clubs in the Premier League and Football League. A total of 54% of overall respondents were season ticket holders.

Owen was the only player to come out of the transfer window with his reputation boosted. In total 41% of fans thought he conducted himself ‘very well`, and a further 27% felt he conducted himself ‘well`. 26% said their opinion was ‘more favourable` following the transfer, and a further 13% said it was ‘much more favourable`.

By comparison, just 4% of respondents felt Cristiano Ronaldo conducted himself ‘well`, and 35% said he behaved ‘very poorly`. But it seems that UK fans never thought much of Ronaldo in the first place – 50% said their opinion of him was ‘about the same`, with a further 23% saying their opinion was ‘much less favourable`. But the player faring the worst overall was Adebayor, with a remarkable 59% rating his conduct ‘poorly` or ‘very poorly`, compared with 8% who approved of his behaviour.

Danny Rogers, Editor of PR Week, said: “With the exception of Michael Owen, none of the players featured in the Braben Sport/Football Fans Census survey did themselves any favours with fans, but it`s interesting to note that their conduct appears to be accepted, almost expected behaviour, with around half of respondents stating it didn`t really make any difference to their overall opinion of the player.”

Rachel Froggatt, director of sport at Braben, said: “This year’s transfer window has demonstrated how far removed footballers can be from the fans. There is obviously a great deal of cynicism about player motivations. Transfers should be opportunity to connect with fans off the pitch. Skill and popularity are a powerful package for sponsors – something players must consider when looking to life after football.”