As he became a young man and the relationship with the Everton manager broke down, Rooney was offered the opportunity to play for Manchester United, which he of course took.
When he returned to Goodison Park in the FA Cup that season, the fans tore him to shreds and threw coins and mobile phones on to the pitch. Several arrests were made after the game. Rather than be pleased for the young lad from Croxteth who was one of them, their bitterness lead them to attacking him. They use the “once a blue, always a blue” shirt as a stick to beat him with. As if him claiming always to be an Everton fan made him the devil incarnate when he chose to better his football career and not spend his life trophyless in Merseyside.
When you compare the greeting Rooney gets at Goodison to the reception Phil Neville gets, the difference is embarrassing. Of course I don’t think the situations are entirely the same, with Rooney leaving United when he was on the way up whilst Neville had already spent arguably his best years with us, but it’s still not nice to witness that the fans he used to stand amongst would treat him so badly. “Die, die, Rooney, Rooney, die!” seems to be their song of choice. You’d think he signed for bloody Liverpool on a Bosman!
Rooney’s decision to leave Everton has been vindicated by the great collection of trophies already won, as well as the great support he receives from our fans. But his relationship with Everton is totally sour now, with Rooney kissing our badge to wind them up and their vicious songs continuous.
Rooney has today spoken in anticipation for this Sunday’s semi-final, hoping to play a part after missing out on our last game at Wembley in the League Cup final.
“It still means something that it is Everton,” said Rooney. “It is the team I grew up supporting. It makes it a big day for me, although the most important thing is for United to reach the final. Everton are an honest side. They work hard for each other and will be trying to make it difficult for us. I missed the Carling Cup final when we last got to Wembley, so hopefully I will be part of the team that gets us to another on Sunday.”