Friday, October 22

It's Not Over, So Sorry

In all my 19 years as a football fan, never have I witnessed anything like this. And in all Wayne Rooney's 24 years on this planet, perhaps he's never really grown up. Yes, he's a wife and kid and possesses his very own Prestbury mansion complete with neo-Georgian pillars. But at 18 he wasn't revising for his A levels, prepping up to visit the Taj Mahal on a gap-year or labouring down the local KFC. He was penning a multi-million pound deal with the biggest football club in the world. Then married his six-year sweetheart at 22 and had a kid before the next Christmas. Rather than mature his character, it could be that fast-forwarding his life to such a level, all the while being led by his agent Paul Stretford, has left him somewhat lost and confused, hence the committing adultery, poor form at the World Cup and almost leaving the club he said he never would.

He's a rash personality, anyway. The statement he made on Wednesday evening, released though his 'people' two hours before United's next match, plainly did more harm than good. To question his teammates, Sir Alex's ability and, ahem, the ambition of a side who just over a year ago were lifting their eleventh Premier League title (three of which with him), it was rude beyond belief. There really was no way back. Even today, he said: "As a player here at United I care for the club. I had some concerns and I made the manager and David Gill aware of that... I've spoken with the manager, David Gill and the owners and all of them have confirmed to me that this is the right club for me to be at, and that this club is going to continue to be successful and win things." Well, if he cared that much he wouldn't have even contemplated exiting. And why does he even need it "confirmed" that Manchester United is where he should be?

Still, he hasn't left. He's decided to stay. Which, pretty frankly, is a massive gain for United. "The manager quite openly made it clear that the door was still open and that he still wanted me to sign. That's when I spoke to my agent and said, 'Let's go in and sit down with them and try to resolve it and try and get the deal down'." This maybe is the bit in Wayne Rooney's life where he truly finds his inner being, deciding to ignore whatever it was Stretford was suggesting to him. No way am I forgiving Wayne for disrespecting my team and fellow supporters the way he did, but it could be that he was just too callow before, and now he's, well, grown up. As SAF reflected: "I always feel it's a quality in a person to say he's sorry. I admire that in people." The Rooney of earlier this week may never have apologised.

Joining Manchester United wasn't the best decision Wayne Rooney ever made. Staying is. Now, when he returns to action - quite possibly against Manchester City on November 10 - let's hope he has the season of his life. Because if he does, I know I'll be cheering.

Klaxons 'It's Not Over Yet'