Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Rooney quitting United is a sign of the times

Fitba, bloody 'ell!
So we've now heard from both protagonists in this extraordinary story. Wayne Rooney confirms he wants to leave Manchester United; and Sir Alex Ferguson is left baffled, bemused - and helpless.

But the 24-year-old striker, on £90,000 a week, well short of the riches of his Chelsea peers, Lampard and Terry (both on £150,000), claims it's nothing to do with money.

Players are just pieces of meat - and I'm hungry.
Rooney just doesn't believe United can compete for the best players anymore. He's witnessed Carlito and CR07 leave for United's biggest rivals - and as the club buckles under the weight of a reputed £750m debt, Wazza's transfer request is a stunning vote of "no confidence" in United's future.

Sir Alex, the one-man winning machine doesn't view it like that. He sees the culmination of his life's work in the majesty of a 75,000 all seater stadium, palatial training facilities and a conveyor belt of trophies.

But Rooney's view is shorter term: having won three of Fergie's dozen titles plus the Champions League, he can't see victory being sustained at the same level.
"Shoulda nicked it, I'll never see it again!"
This is a massive blow to morale at Old Trafford - because it's partly true.

The club is profitable - but the debt noose round its neck is tightening - just as Manchester City come to the fore with their lavish spending. And despite new economic realities, Real's spending power remains unreal.

Former United skipper Roy Keane described players this week as "pieces of meat, nothing more - and when your time's up, it's up", hinting that Rooney had every right to look around for the best deal he could.

Fergie's already planning for the future without him - his programme notes for the Champions League game talked of Chicharito's finishing power and the quality of Berbatov. Not a word about Rooney.

But he's genuinely rattled by this, and even at 68 with all his experience in management, this is the first time he's not in control of a sit-ye-ashun.

Football, bloody hell!