Posted by: mdegeorge | October 23, 2010

Man U’s Roo-se yet another annoying farce

We’ve run the gambit of Wayne Rooney emotions in the last week. He’s staying. He wants to go. He’s definitely going. Nobody wants him, so just leave. And now, he’s staying forver.

The gargantuan Man u-turn performed by both sides has been a waste of a fair amount of work hours this week.

In a manner befitting the final days of the summer transfer window, the will-they-or-won’t-they saga vacillated more than the romantic subplots in a lousy WB sitcom. Ultimately, as the most cynical of us envisioned from the outset, the entire situation was just a pile of Manchesterian rubbish.

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Four days ago, when this absurdity began, I had an exchange with an editor of mine that went like this (content edited out of gchat form):

“He’s not going to do anything. He’s going to stay at Man U until he’s in his late 30s like they all do. He’s just a simple Brit who would be culture shocked anywhere else. I mean, it’s part of why he’s so effective. He’s a great Man U player. But Real Madrid, like it has many British players, would kill his career.

That was the stance I maintained for what seemed like a while, until Sir Alex Ferguson corroborated his desire to leave Manchester United. That’s when I allowed doubt to creep in, and by last night, I was convinced that the opposite outcome would come to fruition, so much so that I needed a double-take thinking the report this morning of Rooney’s five-year contract extension was a hoax.

It was like a television drama where two people are screaming their hatred for one another one minute and end up in bed together the next—only this hitch comes with a five-year string attached.

It’s a testament to the 24-hour news cycle in which we live, where miniscule and otherwise private disagreements are broadcast on the AP wire to fill the gaping stretches of time that exceed all rational requirements.

As for Rooney and his Manchester brethren, the new contract is far from a panacea to his many maladies. His teammates, highlighted by influential veterans Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, aren’t in his corner (and we already know what Federico Macheda thinks about him). His bedroom antics haven’t helped endear him to the general public either.

All those indiscretions can be (and possibly will be) swept under the Old Trafford rug if and when he starts finding the net again. A lackluster World Cup has parlayed into a solitary goal in seven matches this season, relegating him to the bench on the weekend and helping prompt the backlash and reconciliation that has been Rooney’s week.

Rooney’s itchy trigger finger to leave Man U has irrevocably shattered the image of the next decade’s would-be face of the franchise. The instantaneous arrival and equally abrupt departure of Rooney’s discontent makes a once dependable figure now a volatile figure who now will draw, almost involuntarily, speculation as to his future with every formerly minor tribulation.

Let’s paint the picture one possible December scenario: Rooney, still out of form, is languishing with only spotty goal production and is sitting on around four as the holiday fixture crunch sets in. The Red Devils, prolific at squandering points in draws with inferior opponents, sit in the Champions’ League qualification spots—say second or third—but are slowly but surely being left in the dust by Chelsea, Arsenal, or another team (heaven forbid it be Manchester City.)

Once the January transfer window opens and Real Madrid—unable to face another season looking up at Barcelona and unabashedly seeking striking reinforcements—comes calling, is Rooney’s new-found allegiance to the prestige and ambition of Man U as ironclad as he would have you believe? What if that suitor is Man City, with their boundless riches forcing Rooney to say he won’t play again unless it’s on the blue side of the city? What will mounting pressures (and debt) on the Glazer family and the challenge to their ownership by the Red Knights do to tip the equation one way or the other. After all this, is a faltering and distracting Rooney still worth the investment or an asset whose value is ripe for recouping before depreciating further?

This saga started with my complete confidence that Rooney would follow in the path of Keane, Neville, Scholes, Giggs, and the like by being a fixture in the Red Devils’ lineup deep into his storied career.

Just one week later, the confidence has shifted to the exact opposite: that before long—perhaps before this time next year—Wayne Rooney will be wearing a different jersey altogether.



  1. in the next world cup, i would try to be so energetic and i would cheer all day for my favorite team :*”

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