By James Harris: Port Vale player-coach Gareth Owen said he is delighted to represent League Two after being voted onto the PFA management committee.
The 29-year-old is eager to get involved and will join a select group of players from all four divisions, including Everton captain Phil Neville, Fulham’s Brede Hangeland and Blackburn striker Jason Roberts.
Owen said: “I’m obviously delighted to be appointed onto the management committee of such a fantastic organisation. It’s a massive opportunity for me both personally and professionally.
“I never thought it would happen as I thought they would go for a more prestigious name as people like Phil Neville, Brede Hangeland and Jason Roberts are also on the committee.
“I’m a bit nervous to be rubbing shoulders with these calibres of players, but I will do my best to voice the opinions of the lower league footballer and represent the name of Port Vale with pride.”
The experienced defender is looking forward to joining up with the committee and wants to repay some of the help the PFA has given him over the years. However, he is still unsure of what his role will involve.
Said Owen: “I’m not exactly sure what I am letting myself in for just yet. All I know is that I will be part of the decision making process at the PFA. Any decision or campaign that is launched has to be approved by us.
“The union is run by footballers for footballers so we will always have footballers’ interests at heart, and my aim is to bring a lower league perspective to proceedings.
“I know time is ticking on my footballing career and being on the committee is another avenue that will hopefully be open for me when I finish playing. I’m also curious as to how the PFA works as a lot of what they do goes largely unnoticed. The PFA is the best union in the world and I want to be a part of that.”
It is fair to say that Owen likes to keep himself busy – not only is he a professional footballer, but combines this with being a coach and reserve team manager for the Valiants, along with studying for a media degree at Staffordshire University.
When asked if he was taking on too much, Owen replied: “That did cross my mind. But it was too big an opportunity to pass up. Just like being reserve manager and a coach. I know I will have to retire soon so I want plenty of options when that time comes.
“As a footballer you do have plenty of time on your hands and I’m making the most of that time so I’m not stuck in later life. It helps that all the things I do, I really enjoy. I don’t consider any of them jobs, they are all hobbies and I can talk about football for hours.”
Owen, sidelined recently with a groin injury, has ruled out a comeback when Vale take on Dagenham and Redbridge this Saturday.
But he is back in training after missing the last four games and is eager to get back on the pitch.
He said: “I’ve been playing in pain since August but the exact injury has been hard to diagnose. I could play a match but then couldn’t train for days after. It wasn’t much fun if I’m honest but it’s all sorted now.
“I’m back in training but the game against Dagenham has come a little bit soon for me, although I’m hoping to be available for selection for our game against Aldershot on December 17.”