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Why We Want Rooney To Mean What He Says

Since signing for United, Wayne Rooney has always had a brilliant relationship with our fans. Ignoring his great ability and the goals he scores for a minute, his passion and his determination to see that United win always keeps us on side. He could be having a lousy game, but he’d still got his song sung every day he sprints 20 yards to close a ball down, or is straight at a player after he loses possession. His work ethic is admirable.

For a modest lad off the pitch, who doesn’t indulge in the partying life style and prefers a night in with the missus, we have certainly seen a lot of column inches about him over the past couple of months. His brilliant form for both United and England has seen the British press cooing over him, and following yesterday’s match against Everton, we’ve seen even more written about him.

From George Best to Eric Cantona, Roy Keane to David Beckham, this country has developed an obsession with United players. Hailed as legends and heroes one minute, torn to shreds the next. Journalists have dedicated hours of them time writing about them, good or bad, whilst the general public has spent hours reading about them. Now the obsession is for Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Much has been made already of Rooney’s badge-kissing at Goodison and this over-reaction doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Here is what The Times has to say.

Just when you thought Wayne Rooney was growing up, he goes back to his roots. Surely he must have learnt to press the mute button when he returns to Goodison Park. But no; given a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Mikel Arteta, he reacted to the predictable abuse by provocatively kissing the crest on his United shirt in front of the fans at the Park End.

Am I the only one who doesn’t get what the fuss is all about? Just like Gary Neville against Liverpool, Rooney is involving the fans in the game. Any interaction with those on the pitch is something I enjoy. The weekly chants of “Fergie, give us a wave” are met with loud cheers every time the manager acknowledges us. In the last home game of the season last year, Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Tevez did the same. I love it.

Now whilst I would react to Steven Gerrard kissing the Liverpool badge in front of the Stretford End, it would still be something I enjoyed. The season before last when Ashley Cole turned to the fans and mimed putting his hand in his back pocket, claiming that is where he’d kept Ronaldo all game, following chants calling him a wanker, the Stretford End went wild. It was great!

This back and forth banter, with the crowd actually having a role to play against World-famous footballers, is fun. You couldn’t provoke a reaction from a player from your armchair in front of the telly, but at the grounds, you get to interact with the players.

So Rooney kissed our badge and it provoked a reaction from the Everton fans. That’s funny, not shameful.

As a kid, representing Everton at youth level, he flashed a shirt which read ‘Once a blue, always a blue’ and has been reminded of this every time he returns to Goodison Park. At 18-years-old he offered the opportunity to sign for Manchester United, his boyhood club were to profit £30 million from his sale, and he would have the chance to win the best trophies on offer, something he wouldn’t have got at Everton. Four years later, he has two league titles and a European Cup winners medal to show for it, to vindicate his decision to leave Merseyside.

He could have done an Alan Shearer, given up on winning the top prizes to play for his boyhood team, however the difference is at least Shearer had already won the league before retiring up to Newcastle. Whilst admirable to do such, why should Rooney have been expected to stay at Everton? His relationship with the manager, David Moyes, had broken down for starters. He was a kid and didn’t want to play for Moyes anymore. You remember those dick head teachers at school, back when you were a teenager, right? It’s only as you grow up you start to think the bollockings you received for not handing in your homework were not through that teacher being a monster, rather wanting the best for you.

“Looking back, I’m sure Moyesy was doing what he thought was best for me and the club,” Rooney wrote in his autobiography. “I was probably a bit impatient, being so young and inexperienced.”

The Everton fans who truly appreciated Rooney, who admired everything he gave to them, in terms of commitment on the pitch as well as the massive transfer fee, are happy to see this. One of their own has gone off and made it to the big time, which is something that should fill them with pride, not resentment. The Everton fans who are honest with themselves must have known from the moment he scored that belter against Arsenal that he wasn’t going to be there for much longer. It is a shame for the reputation of the club that there are so many fans who can’t think that way.

When United travelled to Goodison Park for an FA Cup game in Rooney’s first season with his new club, the fans abused their former hero all match. They became so worked up they resorted to throwing things on to the field at our players, one of these missiles hit our keeper, Roy Carroll on the head. After the match, 30 of their fans were arrested.

“Die, die, Rooney, Rooney, die!” they sing, to ‘She’ll be coming round the moutain’, and have done since the moment he left. If he wants to respond to these fans by kissing our badge, then what is the big deal? He must enjoy the fact that such a simple gesture can get under their skin so much. For fans that hate him, they certainly are awfully concerned over where his allegiances now lie.

Whatever happens on the pitch or whatever he says, Everton FC will always be massively important to Rooney. Had all fans taken the sensible approach to his leaving, there would be no feud these days. Rooney is simply responding to the hatred and vile abuse that comes his way every time he plays against his former team. I’m sure he isn’t best pleased that his mum and dad sit amongst fans wearing their colours, singing about their son dying. So, what does he do? Fights fire with fire. I, for one, enjoy it.

I enjoyed his piss-taking at Everton the season before last and I liked him winding up Arsenal last season. It’s funny. Maybe that says a lot about my immature sense of humour, but that’s how it is. I like that we have a player with personality who can get under the skin of our opposition.

So, following his antics yesterday, Rooney has confirmed he intends on staying at United forever, which will be warmly received by our fans. Of course, players making these statements of intent regularly, and in a day when football is ruled by money, you learn to take their comments with a pinch of salt, yet there is something entirely more believable about Rooney’s statement.

When asked about his future, Rooney responded, “come on, can you ever see me playing for a foreign team? I love England, I love being close to my family.”

The North generally means a lot to Northerners, in contrast to Southerners who don’t tend to feel the same pride of their origins (unless quoting you a London postcode, as if it means anything to you). Rooney wants to stay up North and he wants to stay with Manchester United.

“To be honest I don’t even like going down to London,” he added. “I am not comfortable there. I’m a northern lad and I’d like to think I could stay here for the rest of my career. The fans here at United appreciate players who give their all for the team and that’s what I try to do – and that’s all I want to do.”

Now, as much as Rooney clearly enjoys playing for United, as great as the relationship with our fans is, the reason why it is more likely Rooney means what he says about staying is that he doesn’t have the same desires a lot of other footballers have. Whilst of course he wants success and to play amongst great players, he doesn’t feel the pull of London or the big money abroad. He likes his home comforts, he likes being up North, so essentially, what reason would he ever have for leaving United? If the Glazer bomb blows up, then understandably he’ll be off, but that wouldn’t make him Judas and I wouldn’t wish death upon him! However, as things stand, there’s no reason for him to leave our club, and there’s no other player in the World I’d like more to hear saying they want to see out their career with United than Wayne Rooney.

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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    great news, if ronaldo was to go it would be a blow but if rooney ever upped and left it would be a body blow if you ask me. even tho we drew yesterday this has actually made me feel a lot better – well this and tevez’s agent coming out saying that him leaving united is nonsense!

  2. PeeJay says:

    You justify players leaving smaller teams for bigger teams simply because they can depend on other players to win things alot. To you it may seem fair that a player leaves the team that created him to go to another team simply to win, to other people it’s called Glory Hunting. Look at Alessandro Nesta, who didn’t want to leave Lazio and only did so because his transfer fee would prevent Lazio from failing, Totti, who never left Roma even though he could have won loads more in Milan or Turin and then in England you have Gareth Barry who wants to leave the club he’s been at for eleven years just because he can win more at Liverpool, Rooney who claimed “once a blue always a blue” also left Everton for us. And a lot of these deals get forced through aswell, it’s sad that loyalty now goes to the team that wins more and not the team you grew up supporting or the team that made you who you are.

  3. DuudeLove says:

    “However, the likelihood of the former Sporting Lisbon player leaving Old Trafford in the next 12 months appears to have become a little more remote following comments Ronaldo made in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca.

    When asked where he was going to play next season, Ronaldo said: ‘Only God knows the future. I insist that I am a Manchester United player and now I think that next year I will continue here.’ ”


  4. jon jonson says:

    great news but still sad for the 2 points

  5. Scott the Red says:

    PeeJay – Everton had finished with the lowest points tally in the clubs history the season before he left, just escaping relegation. Hardly comparable with Totti staying at Roma, where they finish 2nd in the league and play CL football.

  6. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    PeeJay, it’s ambition more than a lack of loyalty.
    Isn’t it unfair to hold Totti as the standard for judging a player’s loyalty? If you do, players should stay at the club that raised them until they’re no longer wanted. So transfers to bigger clubs should only be conducted when the smaller clubs need money, not when players feel they need to improve and win something.
    Looking at what Rooney’s achieved over the last five years, even Everton fans couldn’t possibly say that he should’ve been satisfied with battling for fifth spot with Bolton and Spurs rather than playing the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan and winning trophies.

  7. RedMist says:

    Glory hunting?
    Hmm, interesting. I rather think that if a player stays his whole career at one club, ala Le Tissier, you could call that a lack of ambition. If you want to be remembered as a great footballer but ultimately a failure, then yes you can rest on your laurels and stay in the safe comfortable surroundings of your first club, OR you can test yourself, push yourself to achieve things that most other players don’t. Like someone has said, Totti at Roma is a poor comparison, Roma are a cut above Everton and regularly play top flight football. Barry has given good service to Villa for eleven years and has won what? Nish, nada, el zilcho…How long should a player tread water before being labelled unambitious? At the end of the day, all these people who claim to be “offended” at the sight of a player lifting an embroidered badge to his lips and giving it a kiss are the backbone of this “victim state” that we live in today…and we all know that there are no bigger “victims” than the scousers. Happily belting out Munich songs, only to blubber all over the shop when Heysels or Hillsborough are mentioned, claiming compo at every available opportunity…Singing about Rooneys wife being a slapper then crying victim when he “retaliates” by KISSING his badge…He didn’t defile the Everton badge, he didn’t give them two fingers or punch the air with gusto, he kissed….kissed his badge. If it offends you that much write a letter to Points of View, or your local MP and vent your spleen. Then go and see a shrink to deal with the post traumatic stress you must be suffering today after the sight of such a barbaric show of violence inciting behaviour.

  8. Failsworth Devil says:

    He is 23 now, sign him to a 10 year contract… im sure the lad would sign… plus it would ward off anyone else ever even attempting to get him…plus you will never have any niggly contract negotiations…

    He wants to stay forever, we want him to stay forever, lets hope the powers above can sort sommat out..

    With regards to him kissing the badge… well that was awesome, thats what i love about Rooney..

    Rooney and Rio epitomise everything about United..

    It looks like Ronaldo is gonna stay… ive always said i aint been bothered if he stays or goes… yes would prefer him to stay.. but only if he is committed and in eyes he doesnt think he settling for second best..

    If it was Wazza that was thinking about leaving then i would be gutted… and i believe that opinion is the same to about 99.99999% of united fans.

  9. TonyBee says:

    Right on Failsworth D…. I too want CR7 to stay, but only if he can get his act together and stop feeling sorry for himself. As for the Roon….. he’s gotta be our most influential player so far this year.

  10. divedivedive says:

    If the gypsy left at went to play for league leaders Liverpool and came back to Ols Trafford and kissed the Liverpool badge i expect you would all give him a round of applause. Rooney is a thug and a cheat and will have lost a lot of respect this weekend, if he had any in the first place. He should have got a second yellow for inciting the crowd, the FA expect footballers to use what brain they have but the FA are happy to wait till the diving thug has one planted in his thick skull first.

  11. Aussiered says:

    No one from overseas has showed interest yet in rooney because they know he wont be easily tempted like ronaldo.

  12. Scott the Red says:

    Divedivedive – You’re missing out the most crucial part of the story. You were singing about him dying long before he was kissing our badge. Everything he does is in reaction to your fans, so take a look at them before you look at him. I’ll ask the question again, what is worse: kissing a badge on a shirt or singing about someone dying?


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