Some of the best Manchester United writers going have kindly taken time away from their own blogs to voice their opinions on Wayne Rooney for RoM.
1. Who is responsible for this mess?
2. How do you feel about the player now? Is that going to change?
3. Do you have any sympathy with what he was saying?
4. Where did you think Rooney was going to go?
5. Which club would have been the worst destination for you? Why?
6. Do you think Rooney will now spend the rest of his career/most of his remaining years at United?
7. Do you think United will now show ‘ambition’ by spending big in Jan/next summer?
8. Where does this rank amongst Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements?
1. Responsibility for me it largely rests at Stretford’s door. He has a direct influence on Rooney and his decision making. I have no doubt that he brokered a deal away from the club for Roo and would have completed the deal had United not gone public. Id love to blame the Glazers for all this but its just your typical agent contract game.
2. I feel quite apathetic towards Rooney now. It’s never good to hero worship any player, but its true to say we all thought he was ‘a different kind of player’… apparently not. He starts at day dot as far as I’m concerned, but there’s no bitterness towards him. He just has to prove himself all over again which may not be a bad motivator for him. I’m sure with time he can convince most of us to cheer him once again, but it’ll be a little while.
3. I think the statement he released after Fergie did his interview on Tuesday wasn’t that badly worded and was accurate in its sentiment. We’ve all questioned the long term ambition of the Glazers in terms of signings. We’ve also questioned how long can Sir Alex last. I think due to the way the situation unfolded over Tuesday and Wednesday, and the high emotion we were all feeling, I think we just interpreted the statement as a FU to United and the fans. In retrospect it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time.
4. Where was he going? Man City. A source of mine first told me of contact between the parties around the World Cup. It was as good as a done deal.
5. Worst destination would have been City. Just seeing him in blue would have killed. I’d rather see him in a Liverpool shirt. Plus there is a real chance that City will win the league very soon, and for him to be a part of that would have hurt badly.
6. I think its 70/30 he will remain at United for the rest of his career. The rest of this season and the way he mends his private life will be pivotal in all this. Things in football change very quickly, but I don’t think he has a huge desire to represent another club. But money could change his mind.
7. Yes, I think United will bring in players. How big in terms of transfer fee those players will be is another question. Its folly to think United will spend hugely as the club have never done that, even pre Glazers. Personally I’d like to see Cleverley, Eikrem and Pogba get blooded very soon before we buy.
8. This really is Fergie’s greatest bit of spin. He’s manipulated the press to drive the story in a certain way. He turned it all on to Rooney (he knows the boy’s weaknesses) and he got the result he wanted in a crazy short amount of time. He is the master. It’s up there with convincing Cantona to play on post kung fu kick.
1. Fucking everyone, which is what makes it all so depressingly depressing. The Glazers for filching all our money and creating the whole despicable mess, Fergie for falling out with Coolmore, allowing them in when he promised us he wouldn’t and sucking them off at every opportunity since, Rooney for thinking it acceptable to move to City and for having Paul Stretford as his agent, and Paul Stretford for being a talentless leech.
All in all, it’s impossible to know how to feel. I don’t know if I’m pleased Rooney’s staying because I want United to win, or annoyed that people may again think that maybe those Glazers aren’t so bad. Similarly, I hate the fact that when United win, my and our joy intersects with that of the Glazers, and also with some of the less pleasant of the club’s staff. And then it winds me up that I have to think about it in those terms.
2+3. Yes I do – it must be as dispiriting for him as it is for us to look around the the squad and see almost all the class acts close to the end and contemplating five years of Park, Gibson and the rest. In a sense, as supporters, we’re not that bothered about who’s in the team – we go to watch United with our mates and our family because it’s United, and watching them is what we do – we didn’t start going because of the quality of what was on the pitch. We’re addicted to and in love with what United represents in its purest form: flair, joy, rebelliousness, attitude, risk, community, determination and strength.
But for Rooney – an Everton fan who left his club as soon as he could – there’s no reason to expect or demand any loyalty.
On top of that, despite the apparently undignified way in which he went about it, we all owe him one for drawing attention to the criminal under-investment in the squad. If I could be bothered, I’d hate him for almost going to City, but I’m also thankful for the way in which he teased them into thinking it was done, before dashing their hopes at the last moment. Oh yes.
So I doubt my feelings towards Rooney will change much. He’s a good, though not great player, but he’s not a United supporter and I never expected him to become one.
5. City – the notion of them taking our best player would have been utterly unbearable, though paradoxically would have been worth it all were it to have convinced people to take the only action that will rid
us of the gimps and stop going to OT.
6. No. It’d be unsurprising if he went in the summer.
7. No. I think we’ll get a promising youngster or two, and probably one star.
8. Nowhere – it doesn’t come close to the trophies won, nor in persuading Eric and Ronaldo to stay, though I suppose keeping him from City might elevate it to similar level. That said, I doubt Rooney ever really wanted to leave – rather the prospect of wasting his peak years in a shite team forced his hand. Presumably, along with a fat raise, and assuming for a second that he isn’t just going to leave in the summer, promises have been elicited in terms of investment, which was all Rooney needed to hear. But the Glazers have promised plenty, and never failed to deliver fuck-all, so whether Fergie’s actually accomplished anything will be proven only when we see what happens with that.
1. It is almost entirely the fault of Wayne Rooney and his agent. History and reputation dictates that we blame Paul Stretford but Rooney put his name to the hardball negotiating tactics so his has to shoulder his fair share of the blame. Rooney has shown disrespect to his manager, players, fans and the club as a whole and its entirely unacceptable. The apology should be forthright and totally unconditional. He did at least highlight the mess that is the Glazer ownership.
2. Love, they say is blind, but then so is the hurt caused when somebody you love betrays you. Emotive words perhaps but then that’s football isn’t it? There’s nothing rational about fandom. No amount of goals, badge kissing and great performances will change the fact that Rooney was perfectly happy to depart for Manchester City unless United had come up with a contract large enough for him. Rationally, there’s nothing wrong with an employee seeking the best deal possible, especially in a career which is short. But there’s that irrationality of football fandom again.
3. Rooney lost the PR battle because United tugged on the heart strings of the fans. But, objectively, Rooney is right that United have lacked the ‘ambition’ – read money – to compete with Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona over the past five years. The black and white facts show that United has spent less in the transfer market and pays less in wages than that quartet. It will factor into the club’s success – in fact United is successful despite the economics of the club in recent years. Will it change – we’ll see. The cynic might suggest short term spending to placate the protest movement is likely but that financial problems are only being pushed back for another date. Unless debt is paid down United will need to pay back, directly or via its parent company, £1.1 billion in bond and PIK debt by 2017. There’s no getting around that stark truth.
4. Manchester City is the obvious choice and word on the street was loud and clear about the £260,000 post-tax contract offer that had been made. Chelsea’s management is trying to break even, and Barcelona is entering a period of austerity under its new President. Real Madrid was desperate for a player of his profile but was never a likely destination. Can you see Rooney speaking Spanish?
5. Manchester City for obvious reasons really: the local rivalry, the plastic fans, and the fraudulent nature of the club’s sudden wealth. It’s a club that stinks of everything wrong in football. City deserves our total and unconditional contempt. In many ways so does Rooney for even contemplating moving there.
6. The next three years represent Rooney’s best years but off-the-field distractions and the player’s lifestyle will inevitably lead to an early peak and decline. United’s best strategy might be to sweat the asset for all its worth now and then sell him to the highest bidder in 2013-2014. Cynical perhaps but then that’s the game Rooney has played with the club.
7. Best guess – United will spend around £60 million in the summer 2011 transfer window on a replacement goalkeeper and a central midfielder, plus perhaps one or two younger squad players. Is this spending comparable to United’s place in the world? No. Will it placate the fans who are happy to be bought off by spin and some shiny new players? Yes. The economics of spending more do not stack up. That PIK debt is growing by the day – the only calculation the Glazers will make is what spending is required to a) keep United in the top four and therefore the Champions League b) ensure people sign on the dotted line when season ticket renewal comes round next summer.
Conveniently UEFA’s financial fair play kick in on July 1, 2011 so the smart money says all spending will be done before that date – in United’s current financial year and before the season ticket renewal deadline.
8. What has he won – 27 major trophies? So somewhere after 28. It was all about money. Cynical perhaps but that is apparently the nature of fandom these days. Christ we need an actual game after this week!
Ivor Irwin, The Offside
1. Paul Stretford is definitely the Prince of Darkness. Virtually every manager in the Premiership over the last 20 years is a shareholder. Look at United’s media from years ago and it’s all produced by Stretford. He got squeezed out by the .plc board and then the Glazers, so now he’s getting a pound of flesh. The Gaffer should not have told porky pies about cash availability, either.
2. Wayne has dug a deep hole for himself. I think we all thought of him as a working class kid who was slightly naïve. If he scores goals again, things will be okay, but he’ll never be loved again in the same way.
3. The Gaffer and the Glazers got called out for all their bullshit rhetoric about “Value in the market.” Surely promises were made about the club buying quality midfielders in January. I just think Wazza and Stretford did it the wrong way.
4. He definitely bottled on going to Shitty. Their image rights demands would definitely have put off Real and Barca even more than the wages.
5. Definitely seeing him in Shitty blue would have killed me. I remember the sectarian wars in the 60s. I still despise them. For me to see Wazza and Tevez against us would have just killed me.
6. Honestly, I see a huge seed of self-destruction in the lad. A couple more seasons and his lifestyle may kill his quality prematurely. As he’s signed for five years, however, the club ought to get serious money for him later.
7. We definitely need to fortify the midfield in January with, say, Diarra and Defour. I expect the long knives to come out in the summer for Ando, Carrick, Gibson, Park, Brown, O’Shea, Kucszak, Owen, Welbeck and Hargreaves and a lot of new young faces to come in. A lot of players know they’ll be fighting desperately to save their careers.
8. Pretty good, unless you peel the onion and start asking questions about Magnier and Magnusson leaving the barn door open for the Glazers. At any rate, the Gaffer comes out smelling like roses while Gill looks like the flunkey he is. The thing is, depending on whether you think he’s Superman, Fergie really is getting old and this kind of stress surely either takes its toll or is exactly what he needs to resuscitate his desire every bow and again.
James Ryddel, A Kick In The Grass
1. I think everyone involved should take some of the blame, if blame is the right word. This wasn’t a row over wages – we can forget that because City could have blown United out of the water on that particular issue.
Rooney clearly has serious ambitions about winning many more trophies and following the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez, Fergie hasn’t done enough to replace those world-class strikers: so Rooney was quite rightly not happy about the direction of the club. The mistake Rooney made was making this public, but this in itself is no bad thing because hopefully his actions will result in more money being spent in the transfer market and United will be the stronger for it.
David Gill shouldn’t have allowed the situation to get so far out of hand, he should have signed Rooney up sooner.
As good as his performance was, I’m not sure about the wisdom of Ferguson making announcements about the future of any player, but it seems churlish to complain now given the outcome.
2. My own feelings for Rooney haven’t really changed. He is a scouser after all – he is playing for United because he is a professional, it doesn’t mean he has to love United as I do, because I was born and bred Red, he was not.
Rooney was prepared to move because he felt the club wasn’t trying hard enough to match his own ambitions: He shouldn’t be attacked for that, if he’d joined City that would have been slightly different…
3. Yes, absolutely, I agree with everything that he’s said, but perhaps making it public was a mistake.
4. Without any doubt Manchester City. Like it or not, they could soon become Manchester’s ‘top club’ in the short-term (but they will never be bigger than United). We have to face facts, we cannot match their spending power and when Fergie goes, lord knows what will happen, but hopefully the leeches that are the Glazers’ will soon follow Fergie out of the door and then perhaps we can start to really move forward as a club without these crushing debts.
5. Manchester City. Despite their new found wealth, they are still something of a joke club who’ve been elevated beyond their fans wildest dreams, but it won’t last, because it always goes wrong for City, it is a question of when and not if.
I really do not need to tell any United fan why Rooney signing for City would have been the worst of all scenarios. In case anyone needs reminding: The animosity between the two sets of fans is only going to get worse and I have no doubt there will be more violence and fighting between the fans, Rooney would have made the situation a whole lot worse.
6. I hope so because he’s a very good player on his day. But, I wonder if any get-out clauses have been inserted into his new deal: such a clause could be activated should United fail to back up any promises about bringing in new players…
7. I doubt any major moves will happen in January. I also fear that United have missed the boat with reference to signing players like Sneijder or Ozil: this calibre of player does not become available that often and it’s clear that United didn’t act quickly enough to sign either. United should have asked for first option on Real Madrid’s quartet of big Dutch stars when negotiating the Ronaldo deal – that was a major missed opportunity and it was plain dumb not to do so … it was amatuer hour.
8. We all love Fergie, but let’s not forget he’s made mistakes that have to a large degree led to this situation, but perhaps his hands have been tied, so on a positive note let us hope the purse strings will be loosened following Wayne questioning United’s lack of ambition.
1. The responsibility must lie with Wayne Rooney. People point to Stretford and his advisers, but he is a 24 year old man who needs to take responsibility for his own actions. The statement he released on Wednesday was of course articulated by his agent and wasn’t really bought by United fans. i do agree with the content of statement (i.e. The current ownership of the club is hindering United), however this wasn’t what motivated Rooney to request a move.
2. Yolkie: I explained in my interview with CNN that he will get a chance with United fans. Because, if nothing else, we give our players a chance. His behaviour with the prostitute disgusted most of us but we resolved to separate that from football matters; there can be no hiding from the fact this would be his last chance. How do I currently, personally feel? Nonplussed. I don’t hate him, but he has a lot to prove. If, as I mentioned in the interview, he makes some kind of statement to the fans, then that’s a big step towards that. Time is a great healer; words at this moment in time would be brilliant, eventually, actions, as the analogy says, will speak louder.
3. I don’t believe what he was saying was the truth. United finished a point behind Chelsea last season even though we had Carrick and Fletcher playing at centre half over Christmas and of course a very controversial Drogba strike at Old Trafford. So no, I don’t have any sympathy with him.
4. KDill: It was between Manchester City and Real Madrid for me. Honestly, I thought he was being driven primarily by money, so I figured he’d probably end up with our noisy neighbours. At the same time, with the abuse we would’ve gotten (and actually already did get), he may have preferred to leave the country and join Real Madrid. If forced to choose between the two though, I’d say Eastlands was the likeliest destination.
5. KDill: Manchester City. No doubt in my mind. Would’ve been revolting to see him in City blue. There is no team I hate more than City with their big talk and foolish spending, to see a player who has done so much for us go play for our noisy neighbors would’ve been vomit-inducing.
6. I do think he will be at United for some time, as long as United keep challenging and can pay him the wages he believes he deserves. Players fall out with their clubs, it happens, but I don’t believe Rooney went about it at all in the right way. I wrote on our website about Charlie Mitten going into Sir Matt’s office and requesting a pay rise after interest from other clubs, which ended with Mitten apologising and leaving the manager’s office, with no pay rise! Guess time have changed since then.
7. Yolkie: You never know. The balance books aren’t great, why be naïve about it now we’ve doubled Rooney’s wages? Great he’s staying, bad he’s helping to financially cripple the club. Why couldn’t he have stayed on the same wages, did doubling them help prove our ambition? The inside talk is that Henderson and Rodwell are very high possibilities. Great. But, if we’re talking “ambition” on the scale that Rooney suggested and Gill has claimed is in the bank, then I’d be on about a bold move for Bale, and a cheeky bid for Ronaldo if, by January, the Real fans have another spat at him. I was told in September – and had it re-affirmed recently – that Sir Alex is very much keeping an eye on Cristiano. Nothing would provide a statement of intent like an £80m bid straight back at them. Personally, again, I think we’re skint and can’t afford it. I don’t think we can really afford Rooney’s wages. But, time will tell. Bale is the one name I’ve banged on about for a year, we missed a chance to get him cheap when he was out of favour at Spurs, and now he’d cost upwards of £25m, if he could be convinced to move.
8. We don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but if indeed Sir Alex convinced Rooney that Old Trafford was indeed the place to play his football – then it is a massive achievement, but he of course is an inspirational figure considering the egos he has worked with over the years. Roy Keane signed a new contract in 99 after interest from Bayern Munich and chased Eric Cantona around Paris in the summer of 1995 – so he knows how to manage big players. The gaffer is usually spot on when assessing whether or not a player’s time is up, with the exception of Jaap Stam, and will fight tooth and nail to keep players he feels are important to the side. The Ronaldo situation was different to what has happened over the past week.
Shaun Limm, The Offside
1. Would like to lay all the blame on his agent, but I’m sure Rooney is smart enough to know what he was getting himself into before this whole fiasco played out the way it did this past week.
2. Personally, it feels like being dumped. I definitely don’t feel the same affection I used to and I am undecided as to whether or not I can wear my Rooney jerseys again. I feel like he was selfish in looking out for himself with little regard to the team and the timing of his comments earlier this week just prior to the CL game was incredibly ill advised. I want to back him again and root for him with everything I’ve got. But he’s got to put in the effort and desire we used to see in prior years. Finding his goalscoring touch again would definitely help. At this point, he’s got a long way back in my book. Maybe if he dumped his agent, that would be a nice touch. But that’s highly unlikely.
3. Sympathy, no. But it hurt to hear what he said publicly-that our team essentially isn’t the force it used to be (on the field and in the transfer market). There’s validity in that regardless of whether we point the figure at our debt, or stubbornness to budge on our valuations of players who have transferred for relatively low prices (Ozil, Sneijder). However, to say it so openly and to question the ambitions of a team with a history like ours was like a stab in the back.
5. City without a doubt. As many had speculated earlier, we would have rather sold him to Chelsea and kissed any chance of the title goodbye for the next half decade or so. But the thought of having him suit up in a City jersey was too much to handle. With that said, his character and judgment had taken a serious hit, so I think many of us had braced ourselves for the inevitable-that a contract dispute over wages would lead a player to sign with the club that has the deepest pockets. Also, you don’t kiss our badge, proclaim your love for the club, and then sign with City. Ever.
6. I used to think so. Not anymore. Knowing that his head and heart are so easily turned, I see him leaving in a couple of years to Madrid perhaps. Or maybe even to City if they’re still rolling in the money. Hopefully by then, we have a much stronger team that is less reliant on him and perhaps, his leaving would be on our terms and not his.
7. We have to. Otherwise, we look stupid and merely prove Rooney’s initial claims to be spot on. I’m not saying that we should recklessly sign anyone who’s available or overpay for certain players, but we could maybe tie up some individuals that we’ve been monitoring for a while-Defour perhaps? Some of the midfielders (Diarra) at the Bernabeu that we’ve been linked with would be good signings and a good sign that we’re heading in the right direction.
8. This man never stops being amazing. I don’t think he single-handedly changed Rooney’s mind knowing how stubborn Rooney can be. I think Rooney may have started realizing how life really isn’t better outside of OT and Sir Alex with his people skills somehow nudged him to eventually put pen on paper. Hopefully, we’ll know more as time goes by.
David OLoughlin, The Promised Land.
1. Wayne Rooney. As much as I want to blame the Glazers for Rooney’s actions, its him and his agent that are behind this whole debacle. I have no doubts that Rooney flirted with leaving the club just like Stevie Me and John Terry have in the past and the amount of stick we’ve given them, it would be hypocritical to shift the blame off Rooney. He wanted more money than he was being offered, but whats the price of loyalty? Whats the price of the fans love? Would this have happened if Malcolm Glazer wasn’t here holding an axe over the club always damaging it? No. But in a tough time for United Rooney has made us look like a laughing stock, he’s affected on field performances and the statement he made will never be forgotten. He’s damaged Manchester United all for a few extra thousand on the millions the club gives him every year.
2. It’s tough, on Monday I has hopeful, Tuesday I was just hurt and Wednesday I was fit to kill. When I heard he had signed a new contract I sat there with no real reaction. I should have been jumping for joy. But in the back of my mind he has killed my ideas of club loyalty. He was supposed to be the next Giggs/Scholes/Neville, Manchester United to the core. But he’s not. I will never love Rooney the same way again. In seven or eight months if he scores the winner in the Champions League final I’ll go wild, but for Manchester United. I’m sure these feelings will soften but they’ll never be the same.
3. Yes and no. When Roy Keane came out with his infamous rant against some of the dross we had at the club at the time, I was furious then and he was much more correct than Wayne. I feel the same now. In a couple of weeks when Rooney lines up with Nani, Hernandez, Carrick, Rafael etc. will they be playing, thinking “this guy thinks we’re shit”. Will Nani go for a shot to prove himself to Rooney when a pass would have made a goal? Will Rafael try too hard for a tackle and get sent off? He’s undermined all of his teammates by coming out and saying they’re not good enough. Now while I agree United need strengthening, NO player should say that publically. Thats a private issue and Rooney used it to boost his contract, not for the good of the club.
4. Naivety tells me Real Madrid. I refuse to believe he’d go to City. Its stupid, but if I believed that then I could never watch Rooney play for United again. Call me delusional if you like, but its the way it has to be
5. Manchester City. For every reason possible. I hate Carlos “Scarface” Tevez more than any other player alive or dead. if Rooney did what he did, then it would be catastrophic. They would gloat for as many years as they’ve not won a trophy. Not only that but I do believe with Rooney they’d have a real great player. He may be a mercenary but Wayne Rooney would fight harder in the tough situations then most of the players there looking to just pick up their paycheques. If United failed to spend the money then City would overtake them and that would be too painful
6. Well he’s signed up till he’s 30 but we all know in two years time this will all start again. I can see Rooney leaving at about 28. He’ll be at his peak then and his agent will demand some ludicrous fee and unless United are dominating all around them, they should let him go. I always felt Rooney was a lifer but no more. I don’t however think Rooney has signed a new contract to increase his sale value for United. If he was so desperate to leave, tying himself down for 5 years would be insane
7. They have to. Not just for Rooney, in fact in spite of Rooney. I’d love to back the club to the hilt and say we don’t need anyone but we do. A new goalie, replacements for when Scholes and Giggs take their well earned retirement, a complete revamp of midfield. I see maybe one new signing in January and a couple in the summer. The glazers have to realise if they don’t spend then they will lose everything like Hicks and Gillett did at Liverpool. They lost a hundred mill each because Liverpool almost went bankrupt due to lack of success. But don’t expect 60 million transfers for Kaka or Aguero. Rodwell and Bale should be targets number one and two.
8. I think he played it masterfully. He forced Rooney out into the open. He showed him to be a money hungry cunt. But to be honest its killed Wayne’s relationship with the fans. Its all been a terrible week and now we have a player that a lot of fans hate for 5 years. Its bittersweet. If its the first step in rebuilding Fergie’s last great team then it could end up ranking extremely high. If not, then its just bittersweet. Nowhere near the almost endless list of achievements of the great man.