Wayne Rooney was a devout Everton fan as a little lad. He travelled to Wembley as a member of the Youth Team and celebrated as hard as any Evertonian when his side finished the day 1-0 winners against United in the 1995 FA Cup final. He went from strength to strength in their team and the fans loved him for it. “Once a blue always a blue” was the writing on the shirt he revealed after scoring against Spurs. Rooney was one of them and the Everton fans could not speak of him highly enough.
However, friction developed with manager David Moyes and Rooney had aspirations to play for the best. Everton finished just one place above the relegation zone in Rooney’s last season with the club. They lost their last four games of the season, winning just one out of the final ten games they played. Was Wayne Rooney, the boy who was already tipped to be the future of English football, going to stay with a club like that? Is it fair to expect him to?
So Rooney did what any professional at a relegation fodder club would do, and he signed for Manchester United when they came knocking. “I hope the fans at Everton will one day understand my reasons for leaving,” Rooney said. “They were brilliant to me while I was there and it was tough making my mind up to leave. Obviously there were going to be a few fans who wouldn’t accept it no matter what – but their reaction hasn’t spoiled my move. It was a tough decision, but I spoke with my agent Paul Stretford and told him what the situation was, where I wanted to go and let him get on with it. To play for Everton was a dream for me as an Everton fan – but to think I have now joined one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am playing for my country every time. It’s amazing. I know it is difficult for the Everton fans because I have left, but there were only three teams I would have considered leaving Everton for. I thought the time was right to come to Manchester United. Once I knew they were interested there was never any doubt that I wanted to come here.”
He is much loved by our fans, his fiery nature and 100% commitment to the cause aiding our appreciation of him. “Once a blue, always a red” we sing for him now. From him kissing our badge to his desperation to be our captain, Rooney’s allegiances have obviously changed.
However, this transformation would not have taken place if it was not for the vile treatment Rooney has got from his former club’s fans. The people who idolised him and hailed him their Messiah, now rip him to shreds, calling him Judas, scum, and much worse. They never loved him at all if they begrudge him wanting the best for his career. Did they expect or want one of the brightest prospects in World football to stay on with a club who were painfully close to relegation? Well maybe they did, as that could be the only justification for the treatment he gets from them. “Die die, Rooney Rooney, die!” they sing, and they were in full voice with that chant yesterday.
Since Rooney left, he wrote in his autobiography that David Moyes has a lot to do with his decision to leave the club, claiming that the manager forced him out (which Moyes has later sued Rooney for). ToffeeWeb revealed a story which suggested Everton Chairman, Kenwright, sought out a move for Rooney, due to the club having financial difficulties. A cover up to make Rooney appear the bad guy, whilst the club looked the victim, ensued.
Still, neither of these stories stop the venomous Evertonians who bay for his blood every time the clubs meet. Fortunately, we’ve had the better results in the majority of these games, to give Rooney the last laugh. United have beaten Everton home and away this season, home and away last season and picked up four points from them the season before. In Rooney’s first season with United, we managed only a draw and a loss against his former club, although did knock them out of the FA Cup at Goodison.
Rooney spoke out today about the importance of beating Everton. “Of course, it is extra special to beat my old team,” he told MUTV. “There is a bit of banter between myself and the Everton fans. Sometimes I come out on top, sometimes they do. But the most important thing is that we got the three points.”
Yet again, Rooney came out on top yesterday. Once a blue, always a RED.