A word in your ear - February 9, 2012

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MICHAEL Owen – the one time boy wonder of English football – caused something of an internet tsunami this week, and surprisingly it had nothing to do with John Terry.

While Owen’s former Newcastle sidekick Joey Barton was running the risk of a red card from the Attorney General, by debating the impending court case of the ex-England captain on Twitter, Owen’s messages were less contentious.

I’m a follower of his ramblings, football and otherwise online. I enjoy his Twitter spats with Liverpool fans who will never forgive him for joining Man Utd while it appears his obsession with the game of darts is bordering on addiction.

But that is not what sparked mad debate. No, that would be his open question: “What is your favourite chocolate bar?”

Before I could get the words Green and Black’s 80 per cent cocoa (it’s the Red Bull of chocolate) the World Wide Web was almost brought crashing to its knees with responses.

Wispa, Bounty, Mars (Owen disliked these, he thinks they’re boring), Double Deckers, Caramac, you name it, they were in there.

Big names from the world of golf, football and even Piers Morgan offered up their favourites.

The only ones left out, from what I could gather, were two of my favourites from my youth – Taxis and Highland Toffee.

When I mentioned this in the office it was like stepping into a Back To The Future-style Delorean and transporting myself to 1982.

I started the ball rolling with Highland Toffee. They used to cost 5p from the vending machine at my local swimming baths – 6p if you upgraded to the luxurious chocolate-covered variety.

I used my whole 10p pocket money to buy a normal one and a bag of Football Crazy crisps – balls of golden bacon with a 1970s-style footballer on the packet.

They were eaten while playing the arcade game of the day which, when it wasn’t Frogger or Paper Boy, was Track & Field – the electronic decathlon game.

Cue me and my newsdesk colleague Paul the Pom tapping our fingers on the desks in stereo recreating that arthritis-inducing slamming of buttons needed to get a three pixel version of Daley Thompson to run down a track. You push the dangerous button badged ‘nostalgia’ and look where it leads you – from a chocolate bar to a classic video game.

I wonder if Michael Owen has got any Highland Toffee bars, then again maybe he has got an original Track & Field arcade machine in his games room at home, complete with the customary full size snooker table and 100in TV.

As yet, no word from Joey Barton as to what his favourite chocolate bar is. Then again that lad has the uncanny ability to rub people up the wrong way I bet he loves Revels – and the coffee ones at that.

* Follow Jon Rhodes on Twitter at @gazetterhodes