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More Rooney PR in The Mirror

Last month The Mirror served as a mouthpiece for Wayne Rooney in his “transfer saga” with him looking for a move away from Manchester United again. With a few weeks having gone by and United rejecting an offer from Chelsea, Paul Stretford has been a busy bee and has briefed the newspaper yet again. This time it is Brian Reade, a Liverpool fan who grew up ten minutes away from Wayne Rooney in Huyton, who has been all too happy to serve as Stretford’s PR machine.

The latest piece starts by explaining why people may feel negatively towards Rooney for wanting to leave United, Reade is quick to turn it around to justify the player’s behaviour.

When a “confused and angry” Wayne Rooney feels he’s being constructively dismissed by Manchester United (for having the audacity to pay him £250,000-a-week without guaranteeing he’ll play every game) he garners as much sympathy as an investment banker being mugged at a cashpoint. But when you look past Rooney’s arrogance and pay-slips, it’s easy to see why he feels that, for months, he’s been eased towards the exit door. Which puts a different perspective on his current behaviour.

Reade blames all of this situation on our former manager, not Rooney, claiming: “the person with his fingerprints all over this mess is Sir Alex Ferguson.”

Remember that game at the Bernabeu when Rooney looked like a lost boy and put in arguably his worst performance of the season? And Danny Welbeck scored our only goal? Ok, just checking.

He [Ferguson] bizarrely dropped Rooney for that crucial game against Real Madrid, which back-fired horrendously.

The decision to drop Rooney after his woeful performance in Madrid was a brave one but it certainly didn’t backfire. Rooney’s replacement, Welbeck, was probably our Man of the Match (if not Giggs) and United were in control of the game. Unfortunately, we were given a referee who didn’t know the rules of the game (or was paid off) and we went down to ten men. The decision to drop Rooney was the correct one and the only people who would believe otherwise could only be the player and his agent. To even suggest that Rooney’s absence contributed to our defeat that evening is laughable, particularly given just how poor he was in the first game against them.

He [Ferguson] announced, unprompted, that Rooney had submitted a transfer request, despite the player’s vehement denials.

Firstly, Ferguson never claimed that Rooney had submitted a transfer request. Ferguson announced that Rooney wanted to leave the club. Secondly, Ferguson wasn’t unprompted. Having not played Rooney in the game after learning the striker no longer wanted to be a United player, the manager was asked about Rooney and he replied. Thirdly, the player hasn’t denied anything, let alone “vehement” denials. Rooney took the time to release a statement to talk about the trivial matter of a bio change on Twitter but has not once denied Ferguson’s claims and has not once said he wants to stay at United.

After hearing Moyes say Rooney was now nothing more than back-up for van Persie, it’s not hard to work out what the mentor has told him to do: Marginalise him.

You would think that being able to read would be a basic requirement for a journalist, wouldn’t you? We can all pick quotes out of context to imply a different meaning to the one intended. I’ll have a go at doing it from the same Moyes interview Reade is referring to. “I think he’s [Rooney] got a major role to play because we need to try and get as many goals as we possibly can. I think Wayne can play up-top he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is he’ll be key. I want to be able to play the two of them [Rooney and Van Persie]. The first year I think I have to get a chance to see (all the players) and how best to use them. It’s a chance for me to get Wayne right back to where he was. That’s the challenge and a challenge I want to take on.”

Don’t be conned by the Rooney PR machine. The club are adamant they won’t sell and Stretford is getting desperate.

Why did Fergie allow this to happen? He must have known the incredible pressure that Rooney agitating for a move would put on Moyes and new chief executive Ed Woodward as they tried to find their feet. Why, once he knew he was retiring, did he continue his ruthless attempt to turn the fans against Rooney and push him out? Might it be that old habits die hard and he couldn’t help himself? Right to the bitter end, regardless of the risk to the club, he had to show there was no-one at Old Trafford bigger than him. It was one last hit before the sheriff handed in his gun. With deputy Moyes being left to mop up the blood.

An easy solution is to blame Ferguson, who is no longer manager, instead of pointing the finger at the player or the club. It’s not unimaginable that Ferguson held some resentment towards Rooney for his behaviour less than three years ago, but to suggest that Ferguson is going to purposefully sabotage David Moyes’ start at United and the future success of the club because he was pissed off with Rooney is ridiculous. Is it beyond Reade to imagine that one of the reasons Ferguson made Rooney’s desires public when he did was to protect Moyes? Knowing that Rooney wanted to leave, Ferguson wanted people to know this whilst he was still manager, so Moyes couldn’t be blamed for it? So that Moyes’ first task as manager could be trying to convince Rooney to stay (and possibly being successful) rather than being blamed by the media and fans for the exit of one of the club’s best players?

We don’t know all of what’s gone on behind the scenes but it’s patently clear that Reade doesn’t either, with him more than happy to print the version of events the Rooney camp have briefed him on, seemingly unconcerned with whether it’s true or not.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. King Eric says:

    Oh god more spin and more Rooney. Yawn. sick of the whole saga. For a dipper Brian Reade is usually OK but what do we expect, siding with his fellow scouse bastard. EvenMacari and Tony Coton were sort of blaming Fergie last night on the MUTV propoganda machine.

  2. OJM says:

    Oh god, I read this article last night and it made my blood boil. The Mirror have been doing it for weeks now. I wonder where Mr Stretford has his closest journalistic sources … hmmm …

    The bloke that wrote the article comes across as a prick of the highest magnitude and to be fair, seemed to be getting quite a lot of stick BTL for this piece (of shit). As he should.

  3. Thommy Van Nistlerooy says:

    Great blog post, completely agree. I stumbled across the Mirror article last night. It seems senseless with nothing to back anything up. I suppose that’s how journalism works these days.

  4. pjch says:

    Must admit I’m sick and tired of the Rooney speculation. If he stays he stays if he goes he goes.
    I do wish though that he would come out and say that he was staying. I can understand him being reluctant not wanting to put a transfer request in because of him losing a percentage of the fee if he did.
    Just a few words would end all this unsavoury saga and we can get on and look forward to the new season

  5. Warringtonred says:

    I was chatting about the Rooney situation yesterday with a work colleague who mentioned about Fergie starting it. I said to her, let’s rewind to the previous week and rumblings of Rooney wanting to leave, fast forward to the Scholes interview before the Swansea game and PS laughing that Fergie retiring and Rooney asking for a transfer had taken the heat off him. Then we heard from SAF after the game say the lad felt he wasn’t mentally sound to play as he’d asked to leave the club but told he isn’t for sale.

    People especially journos and Talkshite presenters have completely ignored the chronology of events leading us to where we are now.

    Rooney or his twat of an agent ( from Warrington) haven’t publicly said anything. They have drip fed the media one way supposition and propaganda. Many articles all follow Uniteds mantra of he is not for sale with ‘ he hasn’t said he wants to stay ‘ well I would argue he hasn’t actually come out and said he wants to go either. Fact is he hasn’t said anything. This is the reality of modern day transfer business.

    Yesterday the papers ran with United won’t sell even if he puts in a transfer request. That may have been briefed by the club knowing that the tide seems to be turning after the scorn and ridicule by the public to the apparent anger and confusion quotes by a SKY representative whose demeanour and over exaggeration could give Robert Peston a run for his money. Much of these acrimonious transfers are played out to garner public support. Rooneys camp are losing it so are getting desperate.

    Next will be stories about keeping Rooney against his will, causing him and his young family mental anguish etc. Expect it to crank up with Platini Blatter and the Government getting involved. It’s United after all. I hope United use this episode to show their mettle and unsettle the whole league that even without Fergie, we will not cower or be bullied.

    I feel that other clubs and Stretford think we are soft without Fergie at the helm and take advantage. The stuff up to now has been warning shots across the bows. As this plays out, the guns will turn towards the target and one will sustain a fatal blow. The question is, who will pull the trigger first?

    I firmly believe that United will win this battle.

  6. Costas says:

    The club’s stance has been quite shady. I can’t tell if they want to sell Rooney or not. But Rooney’s stancehas been pretty clear. He’s been nothing but an arrogant prick throughout this thing.

  7. kel says:


  8. mark says:

    in the words of Wayne himself, “what,? Fu**cking what?” or whatever he ranted against west ham!

    Let the white Pele go. he failed to live up to his potential anyway. Sick of it now, sick of his agent talking crap and Rooney not making any denials whatsoever. He wants to leave. He wants the big pay rise, he wants to get a loyalty bonus when we accept the bid, which is bound to be in his contract. It all shows he is greedy. He has never asked for a transfer, so if he wants to stay, come out and say “I want to stay.” like Cesc, De Rossi and Bale are doing. If he wants to go, man up and just say it! Or is it all about money, Wayne?

    Agent leading him to Chelsea with temptations of gold. All the agents are having a field day, and glad we aren’t going stupid offering silly money for Jovetic or Cavani. (I’d pay up to 80 for bale though as he’s British and top class, young and will bring in 20mill a season!)

    It’ll be a long frustrating season for us fans. Toyed with and teased by Thiago and Cesc. We have little chance of Bale unless it’s 80mill, which we won’t do (our record isn’t even £35mill.) Still expecting Fellaini to come in. And before you all rant like Rooney vs west ham, who else is out there that is proven to be half-decent at our level in the premier league, that Moyes can buy without being outbid by oil money?

    For the above reason alone, I think we are keen for Rooney to stay, as a show of force, as a show that we can keep our stars, but more because we may not sign anyone better or at all with all the money. if we have an unlimited budget as Moyes said, and we are struggling to sign anyone, selling a top player when on form, Rooney, for £40m and adding £40m to an unspent, unlimited budget makes zero sense whatsoever.

    This will run and run, and take away from the lack of top name signings we have this season. good PR move for us, I guess. With a good team bonding, teamwork, I just hope we kick off next season just like last with the men we do have. We won it last year, I can’t see the others being that much better this year. Jovetic is not better than Tevez etc. great names replacing great names. Benitez did a good job for Chelsea, mourinho will too.

    A few weeks to endure then the men we do have can kick some arse, and footballs!

  9. Sophiepaddy says:

    Unless we get offered stupendous money with the realistic prospect of replacement, wind his contract down, use him as and when, let him go for nowt at the end. We will have had our money’s worth…

  10. markdegea says:

    Let’s sell him already

  11. mark says:

    @Warringtonred well said! We should show that Moyes is still a tough manager to face. I read somewhere today that the “new Godfather” of the EPL is Mourinho now Fergie has retired. Hmmmm, not so sure of that one myself. Wenger is back with new bile after the RVP transfer and looks ready to spend and play mind-games like the invincible era, and Moyes, well Moyes always had fire in his belly, is training our tropps harder than fergie was according to rio and evans. He’s like a young fergie in everyway. We wont be cowed by oil money. not just yet.

  12. markdegea says:

    if chelsea so eargerly wants him, how about hazard plus 5 million

  13. parryheid says:

    Forget the 5million + Hazard just give us the 40+ million and we will buy our own players thank you very much.

  14. Kings says:

    The sooner we turf that fat cunt out the better. Typical media, siding with anyone who shows the club contempt. The whole thing is becoming a fucking snore fest.

  15. mjcRED says:

    That a scouse knuckle head and a former vacuum cleaner salesman are given so much publicity and column inches is an absolute joke. With each passing day we’re associated with these classless clowns our clubs dignity and reputation is taking a hit.

    As evident in his lacklustre displays for the past couple of seasons, It is clear Rooney’s heart and future lie elsewhere and I think the clubs insistence that he’s not for sale is a little misleading and is in danger of underestimating the majority of supporters feelings on the issue.

    Sell him to Chelsea or whoever, I really don’t care, just make sure it’s done quickly.

  16. Xtoparkk says:

    Sometimes i wonder if its really true chelshit included mata 10m in the said deal we rejected??? Or is it some kind of a joke???
    If it was true they did,,i wouldnt ve given it a second now,rooney would ve been a chelshit player and mata a united player!!!

  17. TheCANTONA says:

    “Is it beyond Reade to imagine that one of the reasons Ferguson made Rooney’s desires public when he did was to protect Moyes? Knowing that Rooney wanted to leave, Ferguson wanted people to know this whilst he was still manager, so Moyes couldn’t be blamed for it?”

    THIS! couldnt say it better Scott. great article!

  18. gazzer says:

    I don’t think we should get rid of him.
    If he is going to play this cute game of not denying he has asked to leave and if he continues to have surrogates put out that he is angry and confused, then the club should simply pretend they have not heard him. That’s what they are doing, and I think it is the right thing to do.
    If he bucks his ideas up and has a monster start to the season, they we are all back to being happy again. Who knows, maybe a team will come along that thinks he is worth more than $20 million.
    Incidentally, given that Andy Carroll went for $35M, Rooney should think long and hard about who it really was that brought him to this point.

  19. red Steve says:

    I say keep Wayne he’s done a lot for utd, just think footballers should get rid of those greedy bastard agents


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