Former Newcastle United and England teammates Michael Owen and Alan Shearer have become embroiled in an ugly Twitter spat over Owen's explosive comments of his troubled time on Tyneside.
The strikers - once a deadly strike force for the national side - have clashed after Owen lifted the lid on his strained relationship with Geordie fans during his stint with United which was disrupted by repeated injuries.
In his new autobiography, Owen claimed he never wanted to join Newcastle from Real Madrid and that Newcastle were "only a big club in the sense that it has a lot of fans and a big stadium".
Owen, who also played for Liverpool and Manchester United during his career, claims in Reboot - My Life, My Time - that his relationship with fans never recovered when he saw and heard on Match of the Day as he was carried off injured those fans chanting "what a waste of money".
He says in the book that he thought then: "I don’t need to justify myself to f****** Newcastle fans."
But Newcastle idol Shearer hit back at the claims, tweeting a clip of Owen telling BT Sport in 2018 that he "couldn't wait to retire for the final six or seven years" of his career, and adding: "Yes, Michael, we thought that also, whilst on £120K a week."
Owen, 39, returned in kind, questioning whether Shearer was quite as loyal to the Geordie cause as he made out, accusing his former strike partner of trying "everything to get out" of the club.
Owen later said in another tweet: "My new book has made plenty of headlines this morning but they need to be put into context.
"I’ve stayed quiet for years whilst receiving plenty of criticism but there are two sides to every story.
"Once you’ve read the book you’ll make your own decision..."
Shearer managed Newcastle for eight games at the end of the 2008-9 season, which saw them relegated.
He won just game during his time in charge - described by Owen as a "dire" record - but many fans still point the finger at Owen for failing to live up to his billing.
Their spat drew Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker on to the field, describing it as "awkward", adding: "There appears to be a bit of history here?
"I like you both so don’t want to pick sides."
Owen, who spent four years with Newcastle from 2005 scoring 26 goals in 71 appearances, says in his book that joining from Real Madrid was a "downward step".
He says: "I should have followed my gut instincts, I didn't want to go there - my heart was set on a return to Liverpool."
But, apparently, Real could not match Liverpool's offer so he went to St James' Park.