As self proclaimed intellectual football blog contributor or ‘IFBC’ as the tattoo reads, it is always tempting to steer well clear of current tabloid hysteria and head on down the road less travelled. As well as presenting something fresh and interesting to read, it offers the temporary sanctuary of feeling superior over everyone else who is forced to cater to the masses as a condition of their wage.
Not this week though.
The Wayne Rooney saga is large enough and interesting enough to transcend the elitism of even the most pretentious of bloggers.
To me the matter appears very simple, Mr. Rooney would like to leave his current employers. Quite frankly his reasons for this are are none of our business. He has been at Manchester Utd for 6 years and I believe has fulfilled his side of every bargain he has signed there, so why all the fuss? It seems that a football player these days has 2 choices when wishing to leave a club: 1) Walk out for nothing at the end of your contract. This would appear on the surface to be the most noble exit strategy available. You sign your contract, fulfill your contract and then ‘’see you later’’. However if you are a 50 million plus asset this will not endear you to your heavily indebted bosses. 2) Demand a transfer and dig your heals in until you get it, or ‘Hooijdonking’. This approach endears you to no one other than your agent.
Wayne Rooney has chosen secret option #3 which is to notify your employers well in advance of a contract expiration and commence talks with the view to arriving at an agreeable exit strategy.
I write the above within the framework of comments made by Ian Holloway this week concerning the situation. You can see the full ‘rant‘here. Everyone loves a good Holloway interview, myself included. However, in this instance Holloway is grossly wide of the mark. Holloway says of Rooney;
‘’They bought him….he belongs to them, you know? You buy a house you own the deeds, it’s paid for…its yours.’’
While some may rather unfairly disagree, employing and paying Wayne Rooney is quite different from owning a house or a car. As far as I know, there are no recorded incidences of a house wanting to leave its owners in order to become a better house, or a house wanting to move to a neighborhood which can match its ambition as a….house. It is true that a club owns a player’s ability as an athlete for the duration of a contract, but it certainly does not own the player’s ambition, intellect or future. That would be slavery and that isn’t cool.
We won’t know for several years if Rooney’s decision to leave was the correct one. History has shown that leaving Manchester United is more often a poor choice than a good one. But if there are any clues to be found then they may actually come for the words and career of our friend Ian Holloway again. On being appointed Plymouth manager and subsequently walking out after 71 games, Holloway said
“I had a year out of football and had to think about what went wrong in my life. I was given some decent values from my mum and dad in our council house and one of them was honesty and trust and loyalty, and I forgot to do all that at Plymouth. I left them and I made the biggest mistake of my life. But I ended up here and it was the best thing I have ever done.”
Ignoring the obvious contradiction, you would have thought that Holloway would be a little bit more tolerant of a young mind like Rooney’s and its decision making. This may be one lesson Wayne has to learn the hard way.