Monday, 13 September 2010

Rooney Debate: You Call That Punishment? He Was Given a Day Off!

Those great mind-readers, the tabloid football writers, claim Wayne Rooney's withdrawal from the Manchester Untied squad held 3-3 at Everton on Saturday was a cruel punishment at the hands of the old headmaster, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Andy Dunn, my Evertonian mate on the News of the World, led the way. He assured us Rooney hadn't been dropped to avoid having his ears-bashed by Goodison fans. It was Fergie cracking down after those "£1,200-a-night prostitute" allegations in his own Sunday newspaper a week before.

I'm not so sure. The only evidence we have is Sir Alex telling us Rooney had been axed because of the response he generally gets at his former club. And that was followed by a slightly-contradictory No2 Mike Phelan telling us: "Wayne wasn't ready to play."

Now that was a bit strange, given Rooney played and scored for England in Switzerland last Tuesday after the lurid revelations.

I had to come off at half-time in the vital Goldhill Common Vets v St Peter's Iver South Bucks Church League Division One clash to tell Sky News the opposite. I could stay on to inspire victory, their van was parked outside the house demanding some kind of explantion for the Rooney situation.

I reckoned on air Rooney had been dropped to give him breathing space. With his wife Colleen having to travel daily to Alder Hey hospital to visit her sick sister Rosie, 12, the Rooney family are having a tough time. With reconciliation in the air after the initial shock of the revelations, forgiveness was on the cards. The last thing a notoriously temperamental Rooney needed was 90 minutes of being abused by his former supporters. Punishment? No, kid-gloves.

I stand by that. Rooney would have had a tough time at Goodison, where he made his name. The man who still dresses his son Kai in Everton kit gets little in the way of fond nostalgia from Toffees supporters. They were planning, apparently, to sing a corruption of the old Bob Marley hit: "No woman no Kai" amongst other things.

And with Colleen widely reported to be insisting "I am still Mrs Rooney", a five-hour afternoon meeting at the family home is reported to have followed United's dramatic six-goal draw.

Later on Saturday night, as a guest on BBC Radio 5 live, we were at it again. A fellow panel member called Ellis Cashmore from Staffordshire University appeared to have the same mind-reading capability as Dunnie. It wasn't a withdrawal, it was the ruthless axe from Fergie, he assured us, despite my protestations.

Monday dawns. I'm convinced Rooney was rested because of the crowd and the need to get back to the missus as soon as possible. No sports writer likes dwelling on these things, but it's been the talking point of the weekend, and they're still debating it all over the place today, some even suggesting it's the end of the Rood at Old Trafford, to coin a phrase.

The proof is in the pudding of course. Rooney was back at training this morning, happy as could be. He will play in the Champions League "Battle of Britain" showdown against Rangers this week.

Rooney was not punished. Though many would argue he should have been. He is not going down the Ruud van Nistelrooy, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham, Norman Whiteside route... out of Old Trafford.

He'll be back tomorrow night, as if nothing had happened. Hopefully, with his private life a little less fraught. And, knowing the bloke, with a couple of goals under his belt.

A WOMAN'S response: Allison McDonald writes from South Africa:

It's easier, I think, for men to be tramplike than to be be virtuous. Lots of them. Not all of them. And when you marry one, you need to accept that this is the just-under-the-surface nature of the beast and the gender. I offer you Joost vd Westhuizen. Tiger Woods. Jimmy Swaggart. And those are just the famous ones I can think of off the top of my head. I could type out reams and reams of names of ordinary blokes who would make your Rooney seem positively angelic by comparisson. Thing is, these fellows can't help themselves. And the sooner we get over it, and reasses this whole marriage thing, the better.
Seriously, I have very little sympathy for the Mrs Rooneys of this world. She's a big girl. He's a big boy. This is how the wheel rolls. How on earth did she imagine that the terror and bad boy Ronney was would magically disappear on the day she married him? That's the toruble with women. Naive as the day is long. Silly twit.
And there's a terrible double standard in reporting on these stories. Journalists can be terribly holier than thou. Women get f*ucked over by men because they allow men to f*ck them over. The prostitute gets rubbished. The man gets rubbished. The wife gets sprinkled with holy water. It's all a big, hypocritical scam. That's what it is.
Prostitutes thrive because of marriage. The porn industry thrives because of married men. Strip clubs make a killing out of married men. It's a small step from to outraged, injured and heartbroken pregnant wife. We really need to get real about this. And believe me baby, and hookers are going nowhere. They're here to stay because the market's so damn good!
If there's a debate on this, that's my point of view.

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