LIVERPOOL legend Michael Owen has revealed that he was BANNED from wearing new boots during the 2001 FA Cup final.
However, the French manager instructed him to wear a specific pair of boots – for luck.
Recalling the build-up to the final in an interview with Danny Murphy for the Daily Mail, Owen said: “I had a contract with Umbro and they were about to launch a new boot for the following season, which they wanted me to wear for the final.
“So in training during the week, I started wearing these different boots.
“The only problem was Gerard Houllier was mad on superstition.
“Basically he didn’t allow me to wear the new boots because I was on fire with the old ones!”
Arsenal dominated the final and eventually took the lead through Freddie Ljungberg in the 72nd minute.
However, momentum quickly shifted when Owen equalised in the 83rd minute.
The striker then capitalised on tired legs to score the winner with just seconds to play.
He added: “Arsenal had great players – Seaman, Adams, Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry. They were probably considered slightly better than us, but at that age I didn’t have any fear about the opposition.
“In Cardiff, I’d hardly had a kick going into the final few minutes, but clung onto the mindset that I’d never played a game and not had a single chance. Finally, Gary McAllister’s free-kick was nodded down by Markus Babbel and the opportunity presented itself.
“I’ve never known a game in which the momentum swung so completely in one moment, from all looking lost to ‘we’re going to win now’. Even though it was still only 1-1, there was total certainty.
“As I jogged back after scoring I looked up at the clock and thought, ‘have I got time to finish it now or wait for extra-time!’. I saw Vieira and Henry and they were shot. They’d thrown everything at us.”
The FA Cup was one of three trophies won by Liverpool in 2001.
They also clinched the League Cup and the UEFA Cup.