Ahead of kick-off, it was the reaction to Wayne Rooney’s name that was most heavily anticipated. Cheers came for all our players, quieter when they got to the subs… until Rooney’s name was read out. Disappointingly, there was a definite difference in volume when it got to his name, with him getting the loudest cheer of the subs. Hard not to find that embarrassing when legends like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are named on the bench.
It was fairly ironic that Scholes and Rooney came on together, although something well planned by the manager. Here’s Scholes, a player who doesn’t have an agent, one of the most talented midfielders this country has ever seen, who never has had a fuss over his contract, who’s never flirted with other clubs to boost his salary, and who has never contemplated leaving. In contrast, we have Rooney, a player whose agent has total control over him, one of the most talented forwards this country has ever seen, who has been in talks with our biggest rivals for months behind the back of the club, released a statement for the whole world to hear about his desire to leave, before settling on a much improved contract, making him easily the highest paid player at the club.
Any negative reaction that Rooney would get would in part be masked by the unavoidable positive reaction which always greets Scholes.
With some fans, who had played the indifference card when the team sheet was read out, feeling frustrated with the cheers, the reaction to him coming on the pitch was a lot more negative. There were still sections of the crowd cheering and clapping loudly as he came on but there were plenty of audible boos around the ground too.
Moments later, Paul Scholes’ song was sung loudly by all, to illustrate the point. Rooney didn’t get a song all game.
But whether booing or cheering, both reactions do our fans’ reputation no favours. Had the situation not been resolved and it looked like Rooney would be leaving in January, then boos would be more than acceptable. But given his U-Turn and decision to sign a new 5 year deal, booing your own player just isn’t on.
Equally, why on earth would people in the ground think he is deserving of cheers or special treatment? How small time is that? The lad told everyone he wanted to leave United and we know his chosen destination was Manchester fucking City, yet we’ll welcome him back with loving arms like the Prodigal Son because he decided he would wear our shirt for a mere £180k a week! On what planet do you have to be on to think he should be cheered for coming on the pitch?
For the time he was on the pitch, the reactions continued to be mixed. Some from the Stretford End tried chanting his name, whilst others tried to drown that out with boos. The same can be said at full time when he applauded the Stretford End as he walked off the pitch.
In terms of his performance: he missed a sitter, lost the ball too easily on a couple of occasions, and played a couple of really good balls. So, no different from the past 8 months.
Indifference is all the lad deserves. When he scores, we’ll cheer, because United have scored, but the small club mentality we witnessed today, in regards to both the boos and cheers, was very disappointing, although if we’re honest, totally expected.
I can’t imagine I’ll ever sing his song again. Very sad.