The People versus Wayne Rooney

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.

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10 Responses to The People versus Wayne Rooney

  1. Graham says:

    Spot on. Although the recent change in circumstances has added some further intrigue to the whole affair.

  2. Gavin says:

    Its very annoying. Took me two hours to do that this morning, although most of it was spent on photoshop. Bugger signs a new contract within the hour.

  3. Graham says:

    Original point stands though. Clubs do not ‘own’ players as such, they employ them. This is largely forgotten by managers, owners and fans.

  4. James says:

    The whole thing reeks of agent involvement.

    I agree with Holloway that a club ‘owns’ player for the duration of their contract. Prior to today’s events, Rooney had willingly agreed to play for Manchester United until the end of the 2011-2012 season. While there is nothing wrong with him not wanting to sign a contract extension, surely he must be expected to behave with respect to his current employers and the contract he signed? By questioning the ambition of Manchester United and asking to leave the club, he alienated himself from his colleagues and supporters.

    Great article, Gav.

    • Gavin says:

      I think the fact you put ”owns” in inverted commas would prove my point. The club doesn’t own the player, they employ them. If it came down to it there is no way Utd would honour Wayne’s contract. If they got a massive bid for him and he didn’t want to leave they’d sell him, that happens all the time. I hate professional footballers as much as the next guy, but I think they get a rough deal when it comes down to contractual expectations.

  5. Calum says:

    I agree with Gav. Banchory Primary School didn’t own you did it? And what about Roque Santa Cruz, does he have to stay at Man. City (who don’t play him) for the duration of his contract? Similarly, perhaps Rooney would have been quite happy to stay under ‘ownership’ until 2012 and leave on a free transfer but Utd., obviously uncomfortable with this state of affairs, initiated contract talks with the expressed intention of avoiding losing their most valuable asset for nothing. Catch 22 for Wazza no?

    I’m not sure too many Tottenham fans would agree that seeing out your contract is the most noble either.

    Also, I wouldn’t be too annoyed at the new superflousness of your post Gav, at least you didn’t go down the well-trodden ‘he’s a traitor’, ‘I never liked him anyway’, ‘let’s go round his house and frighten the crap out of him’ route of many Utd. fans.

  6. Calum says:

    Further, those hours spent on Photoshop were time well spent.

  7. Gavin says:

    Thank you, did it one pixel at a time.

  8. Graham says:

    There seems to be a distinct double standard. For players playing well or those clubs view as an asset the clubs are outraged when they might want to leave. For those who are not, they see fit that the usual employment standards are fine and are quite happy to discard. What Rooney did is fine by my book. Although, him, signing a new contract is not exactly bolstering my arguement

  9. Pingback: UFOs, JFK & Wayne Rooney | Good Feet for a Big Man

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