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The Mirror Doing Their Best To Make Rooney The Victim

A couple of months ago stories started circulating in the papers that Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United. The claim was he was fed up with being subbed off and not starting every game. You had to laugh, given that the last time Rooney wanted to leave it was because he didn’t think the squad was good enough. We’ve signed the likes of Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, meaning that Rooney is no longer guaranteed a place in the team, and so now he wants to leave again.

Following these initial stories, several newspapers claimed that Rooney had changed his Twitter bio to exclude “Manchester United player” and instead just referred to himself as a “Nike athlete”. It turned out this was nonsense, shoddy journalism, and Rooney quickly took to his website to confirm that his bio never mentioned United and that the change had been under the instruction of Nike, as it had been with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Phil Neville whose bios also changed to include “Nike athlete”.

Rooney was so angry about and adamant that the journalists were wrong with their Twitter story that he felt he needed to make an official announcement to deny it. In this statement, he made no mention of the stories claiming he wanted to leave the club and certainly did not deny them.

For Sir Alex Ferguson’s last home game in charge of United, with us set to lift the Premier League trophy, Rooney was left out of the match day squad. After the game, our former manager explained Rooney’s absence. “I don’t think Wayne was keen to play simply because he’s asked for a transfer,” he said. “I think he wanted to think that through in his mind and it’s maybe a good idea. We aren’t going to let him go. He should go away and think it over. He’s not happy being taken off a couple of times this season, but Rooney in top form wouldn’t have been taken off.”

Rooney hadn’t (and still hasn’t) denied the stories that he wanted to leave and Ferguson confirmed that they were true. Just as Ferguson outsmarted Paul Stretford and co. last time Rooney tried to leave the club, he beat them again, totally taking them by surprise, and putting the ball in their court.

When Rooney asked to leave in 2010, he had the whole world at his feet and his choice of clubs to move to. He was 24-years-old, ready to hit his peak and had just 18 months remaining on his deal. Bizarrely, the club he (and Stretford) chose was Manchester City. However, following the blinder Fergie played in the press conference, Rooney’s image and reputation was seriously at risk. How could any player claim they wanted to leave Manchester United to win trophies? Ridiculous. He was being exposed as a money-grabbing mercenary and the Rooney camp had to change direction pronto, meaning he was offered a contract that reportedly made him the best paid in the country to stay at United and win stuff, which he has.

Less than three years later, Rooney is in a very different position. Whilst Stretford no doubt had plans this summer to try and get a bigger contract for Rooney elsewhere and a huge slice of it for himself (when negotiating the transfer, Chelsea paid Eden Hazard’s agent what we paid to buy Javier Hernandez, £6m), the pressure is really on them. Some stories this week claim that Carlo Ancelotti, as manager of Real Madrid, would be interested in Rooney. Arsenal have been the most vocal and public about their admiration and desire to sign him. Mourinho has told Rooney to do whatever makes him happy. There has reportedly been some interest from Monaco and PSG. At this stage though, there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of excitement about the prospect of signing Rooney, North London aside, leaving a fairly anti-climatic position for the striker and his advisers.

However, after Ferguson landed Rooney in it with his surprise confession, the player has been keen to ensure he doesn’t burn his bridges at United entirely. The Mirror has been the voice of the Rooney camp since the beginning of this mess, with them repeatedly claiming that Rooney did NOT hand in a written transfer request.

Fine.

Who said Rooney did hand in a transfer request? Not Ferguson, not the club, not any newspaper.

This tactic of repeatedly trying to argue that Ferguson has done something underhand here, that he has lied about Rooney’s actions and that player is now being made a “scapegoat” is ridiculous, and has obviously come from Paul Stretford.

Take this morning’s article by Steve Bates:

The England star feels betrayed by Ferguson who, after his Old Trafford farewell against Swansea last month, ­announced publicly Rooney had asked for a move.

I understand that United accept that the England star did not hand in a transfer request – and that could clear the way for a kiss-and-make-up that will keep him in Manchester.

For Rooney to have formally asked to go he would have had to put his request in writing – a move which would have meant giving up a percentage of the transfer fee – and no such letter was ever drafted.

But United will have to make a public climbdown if they want to keep the 27-year-old striker, who is adamant he won’t be made a scapegoat.

Rooney’s camp are still fuming at Ferguson’s public outburst. And the backlash from United fans since Fergie’s claims has only hardened Rooney’s resolve to set the record straight.

Does it matter either way? Whether Rooney told Ferguson he wanted to leave or whether he wrote down on a piece of paper that he wanted to leave, does it change the opinion of the fans? If Rooney said it, rather than wrote it, does that mean he is any more entitled to an apology from the club for Ferguson’s “OUTBURST” revealing Rooney wanted off? Out of interest, is Rooney asking for an apology for Paul Scholes’ earlier “OUTBURST” when he too revealed that Rooney had asked to leave, when being interviewed by Gary Neville about his retirement, before the Swansea game?

Let’s get it straight. Rooney isn’t being made a “scapegoat” by the club. Whilst I think it’s fairly amusing that Fergie stuck the knife in Rooney, possibly as pay back for him dicking the club around in October 2010, it’s ridiculous to suggest that it was a total fabrication. Repeatedly claiming that Rooney didn’t hand in a formal transfer request doesn’t make what Ferguson said any less true. Rooney asked to leave, Ferguson confirmed it, and now Rooney is shitting himself because no offers have come in for him. Whether his request was written formally on paper or given verbally is neither here nor there, and the suggestion from The Mirror that the club need to make a “public climbdown” is an obvious attempt at trying to con people, United fans, that anyone other than Rooney has done something wrong here.

I genuinely won’t be surprised if Rooney is a United player next season, more so because clubs outside of England haven’t paid anywhere near the sort of attention to him that Stretford would have been hoping for, and United will not be willing to ship him off to Chelsea and help their title challenge with his best bud Ashley Cole. But the notion that Rooney is owed an apology and the belief that anything he could do now would mend the shattered relationship with the fans is ludicrous. Indifference is the best that Rooney can hope for now.


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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315 Comments

  1. FletchTHEMAN says:

    NBI…… erm like Georgie Best then? Or Becks…… Or Stam….. or Cantona

    All shipped off or shipped themselves off under rather mysterious circumstances.
    All Certified greats Best and Cantona Legends even….

    Not one of them a perfect human being or a perfect red…. (Becks actually maybe the closest of the 4)

    Just saying its a very complicated issue. Rooney has 2 hampsters for brain cells.
    Been playing his lights out for club and country since he was 15 and at top level since he was 18.
    Even Giggs has proven that temptation (of a different kind) is hard to resist.

    Sure there are many on here will pick this appart.

    Just saying we are all lucky Rooney hasn’t ended with alcohol or worse.
    We are long past thinking our heros are perfect… anyways I am.

    People are upset because he has been taking some shots at fergie.
    If you read the last 2 years of ROM, you will see lads saying WAY worse.
    If you look at the first 4 years of fergie, you will see loads of really vial abuse.

    If Rooney leaves, he is dead as Becks was to me. But hey, I feel much better about DB7 in 2013 then I did in 2003… time heals some wounds at least.

    Soon enough he will have some major club records….. like Cantona..and Law…. The pain of their eventual departures may well ease with time.

    Just saying, think I will cut the lad some slack if he stays. Fergie definitely kept Rooney on a very short leash. Time will tell if that was the correct way to deal with him. (Best was treated like that by Doc Docherty and it ended his Manchester United career)

  2. King Eric says:

    Wayne. Hello mate. I wouldn’t listen to a word Tony Adams says. He’s a fucking moron. Full of shit.

  3. King Eric says:

    Ha. Tony Adams dishing out advice on off field behaviour. Yeah the man who did bird for crashing his car into some cunts garden while pissed up. Nice one Tony. Same bloke who wanted Rooney dropped in 04 Euro’s. As I say he’s a clown.

    Anyway this thread has brought about some belting debate. Great stuff.

  4. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Fletch – I think Rooney is lucky he is at United, he was surrounded by world class players and a great manager and facilities. When he plays for England he is poor and the only reason he gets respect is because of his United form and because SAF bought the best out of him. United made him a star, it was a mutually beneficial relationship, it no longer is.

    The difference between Rooney and the others is his motivations are mercenary and he does not give a shit about United and he is a liar and the others did not turn up unfit and fat.

    If someone wants to play for a different Club to get more games or because its their youth club or offers the experience of a different league, no problem. I don’t have a problem with Pogba for that reason, he wanted games.

    Rooney, is just a liar who disrespects the club and has an inflated sense of self.

    Let us not forget, United did not open negotiations with Rooney on an extension, his tantrums came after that, I don’t think playing in MF was the issues, his ego was hurt as he DEMANDS to start and he wanted a nice big deal and United were not and are not interested in offering Rooney a new deal, certainly not on current form and terms.

    Rooney’s agent was no doubt pissed that United have not opened negotiations. All the signals from the Club are he is disposable and overrated, no longer worth what he was and if a good offer comes in sell and strengthen. Why else were we looking at RVP and Lewandowski.

    It is a completely correct assessment. Rooney is past his best for 2 years now. There are better players for equal or less money, hell he even earns more than Ronnie.

  5. wayne says:

    erm none of those players slagged off or disrespected the club,don’t see any connection to those players and what Rooney has done
    King Eric don’t pay any attention to him mate just agree about what he’s saying about Rooney

  6. NBI Red Onion says:

    As for Rooney being stupid, he is not stupid, he is greedy and he lacks any sense of loyalty, dignity or values on or off the pitch he is a whore.

  7. NBI Red Onion says:

    He is same as Tevez.

  8. Wee Toms Ligaments says:

    Come now. Rooney has not been in top shape for a while now.

    The man can score goals and even chips in with excellent passes.

    That does not make up for asking to leave twice in 3 years. He wanted more money and a better team around him. Fair enough. Van Persie has raised the bar and Rooney has not accepted the challenge.

    Simple as. Rooney wishes a move. United should oblige.

    Van Persie, Chicharito, and Welbeck will score. End of.

  9. samuel - united WE stand says:

    keep highlighting yourself as a super fan, we all know the history and tradition but I have my views and that won’t change regarding rooney. He’s a key player that does need replacing if he leaves, if he stays then so be it. Read properly

  10. FletchTHEMAN says:

    NBI One story of why Cantona left, that he has actually repeated. Is that the club, and maybe Fergie (it’s not exactly clear), lied to him. It’s nice to think we have all the facts, but we just don’t.

    Personally, I hope he stays. If he doesn’t, then thanks for the memories.

    Right, he was an extraordinary player before Fergie touched him. He IS the guy who ended the Invincibles 30 odd game streak. It was Everton 1 – Arsenal 0.

    Manager by the name of Moyes,
    Goal from the gods care of the 17yo wayne lad.

    People who are saying some of our legends didn’t have mercenary tendencies are just living revisionist history.

    True enough United is a top tradition and top team. But many (Keano, Rio, Stam, etc etc) came for money as well as the trophies. The 2 go hand in hand.

  11. wayne says:

    there’s a big difference between a Rent Boy and a player looking to make a decent living,it just stands to reason if a player becomes a regular in Utd’s first team he’s going to make a nice pay packet.As Rio recently said he’s had chances to leave for more money but a few thousand a week somewhere else isn’t worth it to him,it’s about Utd’s history tradition and winning trophies.
    That’s a player giving the club the respect it deserves

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Wayne, Fair enough. Think we can all get behind that statement! Cheers.

  13. Mr C says:

    @NBI Red Onion says:

    ‘United DON’T need Rooney, Rooney needs United. He will be Torres Mark II once he leaves, he’s finished as a player mentally and physically’

    You got it in a nutshell mate.

  14. Mr C says:

    In fairness Rooney’s given excellent overall service for United.

    He has the ability to play shit and still score goals (@ EPL level anyway) …an odd talent that. However the man Rooney never really developed the promise the boy Rooney had, although in the past he’s sacrificed body and soul for the club.

    On the minus side however Rooney clearly feels he has to be the main man, undroppable. Hence all that ‘ambition’ rubbish. And as the main man, for where United needs to be, he ain’t good enough. However Wayne and and his agent do not not understand this. United really don’t do that main man stuff anyway, albeit I think Wayne was over-indulged at the expense of others.

    Oh and he’s a greedy rent boy to boot.

    Personally I would have been happy never to have seen him in a United shirt again after the ambition nonsense in 2010. I certainly don’t want him anywhere near Sir Bobby’s scoring read, and he’s crossed the Rubicon (again!) with his latest antics. I hope he fucks off elsewhere but I can’t see many wanting to pick up his tab.

  15. Chris says:

    I can see both sides of this argument; on his day Rooney is a fantastic talent but its quite obvious that he isn’t committed to United any more and IMO we should get shot of him while we can still get a decent transfer fee which should be reinvested in the midfield.

    While its still too early to say for definite I can see shades of Michael Owen in Rooney, peaking early in his career and going into decline earlier than the majority of players, the reason I say this is because Rooney hasn’t looked ‘right’ for two seasons now, that could be down to him generally unhappy but he also seems to be getting injured a lot more and his fitness is a huge concern.

    On top of all that if Rooney has expressed a desire to leave twice he can just fuck off, end of. I hope Moyes won’t try and convince Rooney to stay because his appointment hasn’t been best received by the fans and this would be a good way to get everybody onside while also showing a strong hand to the squad and making his mark early doors.

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