Friday 22 October 2010
So now we can all go back to our normal lives. We got angry. We kicked and screamed. We felt mugged off. And now.....a feeling of empty hollow with a touch of strange jubilation.
To view the events of this week in chronological order would be a waste of time. Everyone including their Mothers had their say, and eventually Rooney signed his contract...you know?..the one he didn't want.
In short, it was one great big happy domestic mess. Today the Manager and the Boy Wonder posed together in family bliss and all is (sort of) forgiven and forgotten. But I'm yet to hear a fan that represents that picture of bliss. Some fans are still fuming. Others feel dejected. A section wish to punish Rooney with their silence at games. Others say he is no longer "one of us" This family is now officially dysfunctional.
Personally, I do feel bit sick by it all. It's like one of those crass pantomimes that get put on at Christmas...the ones with the mildly sexist/racist jokes that turns your stomach every three minutes..all cheap and poorly acted. It was NAILED ON that Rooney was going. The City link was entirely credible and it seems it was just a matter of time before we saw Carlos Tevez Part 2. But somehow...the pre-emptive strike never came.
I feel Rooney and Stretford had every intention of taking their business elsewhere. The £400k a week on offer was just too good to turn down. Which makes it even more strange that Rooney has remained at United on a deal that is less than half that amount. On Twitter I hammered Rooney for being the epitome of greed. I understand that there's no loyalty in football..not really. But when someone is prepared to trot across a city to our biggest rival, and wear their filthy strip week in week out, rubbing it in our faces like that Argentine does, well it just doesn't sit very well. However, Rooney's statement in reaction to Fergie's orchestra of melancholy at Tuesdays press conference was not entirely untrue. In fact it was fairly accurate. Rooney questioned the future squad (note: not the current squad) and the clubs ambition to win trophies. This is nothing compared to what we've all said about the Glazers and their finances! He also hinted at the possible retirement of Sir Alex being a factor. Again, he is right. We all fear that nasty day when Fergie retires to that great big wine cellar in the Cheshire sky. But the fact remained he was saying to the world that he was leaving Manchester United...and it hurt us like hell!! It was the equivalent of fan rape.
The situation seemed like it could not be rectified. So what happened? Fergie gets everyone in a room and does one of his famous Jedi mind tricks. Just as he did to Eric Cantona post kung fu kick when he chased the King to Paris, sat him down and did his best Yoda impression, leading the Frenchman back to a court house in Croydon. The manager is the master of things like this. And his most hated enemy...the press...has been manipulated into becoming his most powerful weapon in his quest to retain Rooney. It's up there with anything Shakespeare wrote. A majestic tragi-comedy. It appears all Wayne really needed was great big cuddle...and an extra £90k a week..or the equivalent amount to which ONE of Yaya Toure's legs earns every week. It's a bit of a bargain when you look at it like that. If Fergie had really questioned Rooney's desire to wear the shirt then he would have been gone. Or Ruud Van Nistelrooyed as I call it.
Sir Alex is the ultimate chess player. The ultimate politician. The ultimate reverend preacher. He sells United to the world..and to his players. The protector of the faith. He said that "Rooney just needed reminding how big Manchester United are"..in a way that a priest takes confession and dishes out 3 Our Fathers and 4 Hail Marys..giving the member of his flock direction, forgiveness and absolution. Rooney has fallen back in line having well and truly seen the light. A vision of the future burned into his mind by Fergie. And for those jumping on the conspiracy theories, you need to calm down. This situation is not the same as Beckham or Ronaldo. Firstly, the boss wanted shot of Becks, and with Ron we knew he was always going to go to the club of his dreams. Neither of these apply to Rooney's situation. I doubt Wazza has ever dreamed of wearing one of Ricky Hatton's cast off strips!
So now we have to trundle along in a temporary kerfuffle. We're all a bit dazed. A bit confused and punch drunk. But the minute Rooney pulls on that shirt again, and produces the form he had pre World Cup...I get the feeling we will start to forgive a little more freely.
Time is a healer. Trophies cure disease. Rooney's rehabilitation starts today.
Monday 18 October 2010
Football is without doubt the biggest, most stupid sport in the history of the planet. The unthinkable regularly happens like a London bus timetable. And not just on the pitch, but also behind the scenes.
You probably live and are reading this article on Mars if you haven't yet heard the 'new' Wayne Rooney rumour..you know? The one about him wanting to leave our club. However, just as with his infidelity against his wife was about as secret as Ronaldo's desire to join Real Madrid, this new rumour is anything but....new.
Behind the scenes Rooney and his agent have been playing the same game that many before him have played. Rio Ferdinand did it. Psycho Vidic also did it. Even Roy Keane once did it. Hell! Denis Law even once made demands that made Matt Busby red with anger! And that is come contract talks playing the 'Well I could always leave' card. However, there is a clear difference between Rooney, and all the other great United players of the past. And that is that Roos form and reputation are currently residing in a bin bag. The always smiley Scouser has now replaced that with a permanent grimace. His life is in shreds. He can barely trap a ball. And now he has to go to Fergie and the Glazers and start telling them he thinks he is worth more than £120k a week.
There's a lot of half truths in this whole scenario. Do I think Wayne truly wants to leave? No. Do I think there is a real possibility that he will go. Absolutely yes. People forget how close Rio came to leaving after huge money demands. Many United fans haven't forgotten that and still mention it with venom today. Rooney's backroom team were always going to play this merry-go-round game..the one that Carlos Tevez played with us not so long ago. But with the way the money balance books look at the moment, I think that now in 2010, United have almost no opportunity to say NO to a humongous transfer fee that we once could have denied with ease. Of course, expect in the next few hours the official club statement that will say "Blah blah blah we will not sell Wayne Rooney blah blah" but the truth is that the club lie to us fans all the time...every single day of the week.
So the next question is 'Where will Wayne go?' Well I tell you now as it currently stands it wont be Spain. If Wazza wants to keep his wife happy (with a very sick sister) and he wants to earn the biggest amount of cash he could humanly earn, then there is just ONE CLUB he will go to, and we know who they are. If Wayne's agenda was purely football then I think I wouldn't be writing this article. We would be where we were 12 months ago..with Roo enjoying his football, finally showing the world class qualities we all know he can produce and scoring goals for fun. However, we now live in a world where Rooney is public enemy number one and his football has become a non productive side show. He is making errors with his touch and his positioning that he was when he was 18, and he clearly is a very unhappy individual. I thought he was more thick skinned than all this but I was very very very wrong.
Manchester City will pay the transfer fee that will make the Glazers wet their bed in excited delight. And they will pay the wage that will convince the boy from the council estate that he should just stare at his increasing bank balance daily to quell the noise of hatred coming from his former fans in Red. Shut the gates at Chez Rooney. Ignore our feelings. Have a bit of fun with a few ladies of the night. Read Ashley Cole's autobiography. All these things will protect him from this huge decision's ramifications. He will earn 2...3....maybe £400k a week. He could name his price. Even for a footballer it would be like winning the lottery of all lotteries. And at the moment he is vulnerable to such advances...just as much as United are vulnerable to anyone who has any cash they could chuck our way.
As it stands, MUFC are no longer a player in the big money market. Yes we probably could move a few things around and wheel and deal, and bring in the odd excellent player. The £30m spent on Smalling, Chich and Bebe shows that there is some sort of cash in the coffers, hidden under the couch. But we will not see us competing for the very best players. If we were, we would have stolen David Villa a year ago. We would have wrapped up Benzema long before Madrid ever even thought about him. We would have signed David Silva before he even knew what Eastlands was. But the truth is we don't have the clout. Yes we're the 'Biggest club in the World' dot com. But when it comes to brass tax, if you are a marquee player, or even a potential marquee player like Mesut Ozil or David Silva, you will sit back..listen to the highest offer, and then equate it to whether you could win trophies at said 'best offer' club. City, Madrid, Barca, Chelsea...damn even debt free Liverpool can all potentially offer bigger riches than Manchester United will be able to in the next few years. The pull of playing for Sir Alex Ferguson will soon also be gone. Sign for a club so much in debt that when they make a record turnover they still make a loss deep in the tens of millions? If I was Wayne Rooney these things and facts would go through my defused mind at the minute.
So just as Tevez thought it would be great to leave a club that just won the Premier League three times in a row for a team with literally more oil than most of Arabia, I think the Evertonian lad will be tempted by the same wares. Why should he be different to the Argentinian?? Cos hes English? Rubbish quasi-thinking. I'm sure the part of his ego that thought he would never get caught with his pants down will probably take the reins of decision making once it comes to crunch time. Not for a minute do I think Fergie and Rooney have fallen out...no way. But Sir Alex has zero control on monetary matters at MUFC anymore..as much as we would all like to pretend that its still the year 1996. And Rooney's advisers will do exactly what Kia Joorabchian did, and that is advise his brainless client that 'maybe it's time for a move..you know lad that football is such a limited career' Wayne Rooney will sign for Manchester City because it will be even harder to actually sign for Manchester United. Do you think Wayne looks at the money elsewhere, seeing all the uber players joining the likes of City and that he doesn't think...'Id like a piece of that.' Do you think he looks at United's recent signings and that he thinks we have the same ambition and potential as Madrid or City? Do you think he thinks the Glazers are good owners? Do you think he may smell a ship sinking and that he's got the keys to a speedboat to paradise? None of us could ever have predicted this position, but this is reality and this is where we and Roo sit...on the edge of a cliff watching the Blue ship sail off into the distance. All we can do is pray is that that ship has great big hole that will make it sink...but it's looking more and more like a cast-iron battleship everyday!
If you had told my United loving family in 1968 as The Babes paraded the European Cup to all, that they would be watching 2nd division football in just a few short years, they would have told you with the same confidence that we have that its IMPOSSIBLE for such a fall in grace. But I always believe pride comes before a fall. If we batten down the hatches now, throw all the non believers off the cliff a la Rooney, and concentrate on the Chicharitos, and Rafaels, and Cleverleys in our ranks...we may...WE MAY....just surprise the superstars of Man City and their piers. Its time to take stock. Its time for a new direction.
We love Manchester United. No player...no damn owner...will ever change that. We could be playing lower division football and we would still sign the same songs that we do today and yesterday. The heart of Man Utd belongs to us...and not Rooney, and not Tevez, and not the Glazers. Adversity may be looking us in the eye, but we will spit in it. We may be about to take a huge emotional pummelling, but as we fall to the canvas all bloody and broken, we will look up at our detractors and enemies...and we will laugh at them. Yes the joke will be on us, but we are galvanised by history. Things may be about to get ugly...but that's life. The bookies now have Roo at 1/6 to leave..that's incredibly short odds, with only 7/2 to stay. The wheels have started to turn. If he stays we will rejoice. But if he goes we will be ready to roll up our sleeves and we will build again.