At 10.30 last night RoM posted up news that The Sunday Mirror would be publishing a story in the morning which claimed Wayne Rooney had slept with a prostitute when his wife, Coleen, was pregnant with their son Kai.
At around 11.15 last night, The Mirror had the story up on their website. The News of the World quickly followed suit, with their version of the story, which also claimed to be an exclusive.
It’s now coming up to 3 in the afternoon the following day and we’ve yet to hear anything from the Rooney camp. Some reports suggest that Rooney is likely to travel to Switzerland with the England team, according to FA sources, whilst other reports claim he is likely to receive compassionate leave after a conversation with Fabio Capello today.
With there being no confirmation or denial as yet, we are working with a somewhat hypothetical situation, with people still deciding whether they believe the allegations or not. I have to stress that these are just allegations and anything I write is just an opinion on these allegations, rather than claiming this story is fact.
However, sadly, I’m inclined to believe the allegations are true, mainly because no newspaper in the country could afford to print a story of this magnitude if it wasn’t true. For two papers to have the story simply adds weight to it being true. The ramifications this story has will have on Rooney’s personal and professional life are absolutely enormous and he could therefore put them out of business with a lawsuit. The press print all sorts of rubbish but I don’t believe they could think they would get away with printing this without concrete evidence.
I know this opinion is premature, given that we haven’t heard anything from Rooney about it, but then again, we might not hear anything until he releases the next edition of his autobiography, so this is where we’re up to with it at the moment.
Honestly, I’m absolutely gutted. I loved Rooney for what he does on the pitch and the way he speaks about United. Whilst I was happy when he settled down and had a kid, the way Ferguson likes our young players to do, I’ve never had a big opinion of him off the pitch. He seems like a nice enough lad, doesn’t appear to have let his fame and ability go to his head, but obviously, I don’t know him personally.
So, when people question what difference an allegation like this makes, it is hard to try and justify it. Why should it matter what he does with his personal life?
Because I can’t respect a man who would do this to his wife. There will be plenty of people who will think I’m a soft lad for that, but it’s honestly how I feel. If you’re unsure, how would you feel if your dad had a 4 month fling with a dirty prostitute and only ended it when your mum was 8 months pregnant with you? It’s vile behaviour and the fact that he is a great player, who scores loads of goals and inspires our team to success, doesn’t change that this allegation, if true, makes him a disgusting human being. To cheat on the missus regardless is wrong, but to do it with a prostitute, when she’s carrying your child? Appalling.
Then you have to consider what this means from the point of view of the club, and this can be broken down. Firstly, Manchester United has a reputation to uphold, a reputation which Sir Alex Ferguson has worked very hard to maintain. Just over the summer, the manager was talking about how at United we strive to make not only better footballers, but better human beings.
This stance is something which is widely acknowledged, with Matt Dickinson, The Times Chief Sports Correspondent, talking about it on March 9th 2010: One of his greatest legacies at Old Trafford, something as impressive as filling the trophy cabinet throughout more than two decades, is Ferguson’s achievement in turning United into not merely a football club, but an educational establishment; in producing not just better footballers, but better people. And Beckham, despite being cast out, is more than happy to add his glowing testimony. Speak to Beckham about his formative years at United and he will talk, as will any of those who have come through the youth ranks, about the lessons repeatedly drummed into them: humility, respect for elders, desire, determination, loyalty, good manners.
This all came to mind the other day when a fascinating observation was offered by a senior England official: he could differentiate clearly between the players of Chelsea and United. One group had a swagger around the camp, a confidence that sometimes seeped into cockiness. Those from the North West, he said, were more humble and respectful.
In a fascinating interview recently, he talked of his paternal pride and his joy when those young players uphold the best values. He smiled as he revealed a text from Cristiano Ronaldo: “I miss you so much”. But he also talked about how Wayne Rooney’s humility was not to be taken for granted in a cossetted age.
“He’s a one-off in terms of the modern type of fragile player we’re getting today, cocooned by their agents, mothers and fathers, psychologists, welfare officers,” Ferguson said. “Rooney’s a cut to the old days.”
This business will be humiliating and painful for our manager, who has been so paternal towards and protective of Rooney. He always defends the lad, he’s always on his side, he can’t speak of him highly enough, and now we’re left with this situation. The manager will be cut up about this and one can only imagine what he is going to do.
This leads to the second point, in that this allegation, if proven true, can only have a detrimental effect on the club. Our next game, as fate would have it, is away to Everton. When Rooney played there the season before last he was visibly riled, kissing his badge and repeatedly holding his finger to his lips as he told them we were number 1. They give him a torrid time, singing about him dying, now about his kid dying, and God knows what else, just because he chose to leave them 6 years ago. He got booked (harshly) that day and Ferguson withdrew him early on, claiming that it was because the referee was listening to the crowd and would probably send him off at some point. Whilst there is truth in that, Ferguson probably didn’t also want to admit that Rooney was just as likely to do something stupid and deserve the sending off.
Can you imagine him at Goodison Park next weekend? They would absolutely crucify him. The songs would be relentless, Rooney has shown he can’t handle their taunting in just an ordinary fixture, and anything could happen. For this reason, I don’t think Ferguson will even put him in the 18 man squad. It’s just not worth it. But it does mean that we will be playing against a team that beat us 3-1 last season without our best player. We’ve already dropped points at Fulham, we really could do without dropping them at Everton, but any game that doesn’t feature Rooney makes the probability of us dropping points higher.
But it’s not just Everton that will give him a hard time, it’s every set of supporters. They will be loving this, just as we would be if it was someone else’s player. The chants of ‘you fat bastard’, which he hears every week, will be kind in comparison to some of the stuff he will hear now. What effect is this going to have on his game? Best case scenario is it inspires him to go out and do well. Worst case scenario is it fucks Rooney’s head up and his form goes out of the window.
The final point in relation to the club is the impact it has on us, the fans. Week after week we will now have to endure song after song slating our player. In the locals, we will have to respond to all the piss taking that will come our way because of what our player has done. As a fan, who has so much pride in the club, we have to hold our hands up and acknowledge that one of our players has behaved like a total scum bag. It’s embarrassing.
The only saving grace for us at the moment is the Pakistan cricket scandal, which seems to be dominating the headlines today. It’s wishful thinking to expect this to be swept under the carpet though. (Hold on to your hats though, with two more high profile England players having injunctions out, there might still be more to come for United fans yet.)
People say that players are entitled to private lives and I completely agree. They’re not robots, they are human beings. But the moment their personal life has an impact on the club, then that is a problem. Whether or not you’re bothered that Rooney did this is by the by at this point, when the issue that connects us all is the concern for the well-being of our football club. Rooney’s behaviour off the field drags our club’s name through the dirt and will almost certainly effect his form on the field, therefore our team’s form on the field.
If how players behaved off the field was irrelevant, then why does our manager work so hard to instil morals and values in our players? Why is it so keen for them to get married and settled down? How our club is viewed is vitally important to the manager, he works hard to protect it and makes sure our players understand that. If the manager didn’t care, we’d hear scandalous stories in the press all the time. It’s no coincidence that it isn’t our captain beating innocent people up in clubs and that our players aren’t sleeping with the mother of team’s mates’ kids. If it is irrelevant what Rooney (or any of our other players) did in his private life, then the manager wouldn’t be so tireless in his efforts to make, as he says, “better human beings.”
Rooney hasn’t just totally disrespected his wife and child here, but our club too, and I honestly believe you’re in denial if you can’t see that.
This doesn’t mean I’m about to turn on him, that I would boo him or do anything I believe will further hinder us on the pitch. He is still our player and we must support him. But I’d be lying if I said I felt the same way about him. As many regular readers of RoM will know, I’ve loved Rooney and always fought his corner, but if this is true, I cannot view him in the same light.
Like I say, this is a premature reaction and prompted by the emotions that the disgust this news brought about, but Rooney is a different lad to me now and I don’t think I could be more disappointed about this if I tried.
The RoM 2017-18 Season Preview is available for just £5. It includes an EXCLUSIVE interview with Paul Scholes, a Q&A with the country's top journalists about our transfer targets, articles by brilliant United writers, and so much more. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.