Michael Owen has launched a passionate defence of his conduct at Newcastle, after ending four unhappy years at St James' Park this summer to sign for Manchester United - where he scored his first goal on Saturday.
A couple of major injuries in his early years did not help and then when he was fit, the Magpies had descended into chaos under the ownership of Mike Ashley, ultimately ending in the humiliation of relegation into the Championship.
As his contract ran out, Owen knew he would not be following them and instead took up a surprise offer from Sir Alex Ferguson to join Manchester United, and he scored his first goal against a Malaysia XI on Saturday. But the star striker has been stung by repeated criticism of his behaviour, particularly helicopter flights back to his Cheshire home from the north-east and a fledgling horse-breeding business being run by his wife Louise.
Both have been used as evidence Owen's heart was not with the Geordies, a damning verdict on their £18m record signing which he is anxious to counter.
"You learn to understand the reaction but if you do step back, you think it is strange or unfair," he said. "When you are being relegated, nobody is interested in listening to you. But I knew it was all to do with me not scoring.
"If you don't score and you don't win, you are wrong to have a helicopter and fly home each week to see your kids. You are wrong to have a business outside of football. You are wrong to plan for the future.
"If the goals had been going in I would have been a great lad, popping home to see my three kids and be a family man on a Tuesday after training. I would have been thoughtful and innocent little things would not be misrepresented."
In fact, for the team Newcastle became, returns of 13 and 10 goals respectively during the past two seasons were not bad totals. Yet Owen knows he was capable of much better, as he hopes to prove at Old Trafford.
His affection for Newcastle ensures he will not launch an all-out attack on a club that seems on a mission to self-destruct. However, mere commonsense dictates the backdrop to live on Tyneside meant producing his best form was impossible.
"There is no hiding from the fact it was disappointing at Newcastle because the team got relegated," he reflected. "I played 33 games, so I will not shirk my share of the blame. What I would say is whether you are the best or worst player in the world you are a human being. You are affected by the surroundings, the mood of people, by confidence.
"I could have done more and score more goals but the team was lacking in confidence. It was not playing well, there was a manager every two minutes and unrest at board level.
"In a situation like that you cannot name many players who have played well on a consistent basis over the years. Everyone's standards drop.
"I don't want to say I was dragged down by Newcastle because I have a lot of respect for the club and had some good times but I do believe I play better in a team full of confidence."
As a striker, once things start to go wrong, individually and collectively, blame soon follows at Newcastle. The club of Jackie Milburn, Malcolm MacDonald, Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer needs its forwards to be heroes. That naked desire is why so many turned out to welcome Owen's arrival from Real Madrid four years ago.
That a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered at the 2006 World Cup with England kept him out for a year only made matters worse.
"It was Newcastle and it was me, so maybe it was worse," he said. "If another player had flown home to see their family it would not have been such news.
"They had paid a record fee for me and I broke my foot trying to score goals for them. But when I was out for another year playing for England it hindered me.
"Probably if I had done my knee playing for Newcastle, there may have been more support. I was on the back foot straight away and reversing it was difficult."
Michael Owen has called on all his new Manchester United team-mates to ''step up to the plate'' as they look to replace the man whose shirt he now wears.
''Hopefully I might add something the team haven't got at the moment,'' he said. ''Nobody is going to replace Ronaldo, even though I wear his shirt, but if someone like Wayne (Rooney) could improve his game five per cent, that would help. I can add a little bit, there is Antonio Valencia.
''Everyone is going to have to step up to the plate a bit more to make up for him.''
For Owen, a first Manchester United start on Monday will offer another opportunity to impress, having only been highlighted in the centre of Ferguson's radar when Karim Benzema rejected Old Trafford in favour of a move to Real Madrid.
''In previous years it has been the little things that have gone against me, like clubs not being able to agree a fee, but this time it has gone in my favour,'' reflected Owen.
''You have bad and good luck in your career which people don't get to find out about it.
''I don't care whether I was first or 100th choice. I just want to do well for Manchester United.''