Marouane Fellaini: From Moyes Man to LVG’s Pillar of Pragmatism
Louis van Gaal has admitted Marouane Fellaini will be utilised as a forward this season. While the manager’s admission doesn’t exactly come as shock it’s not the news many Manchester United fans were hoping for.
£50 million could prove to be a bargain
After a stuttering start to life at Old Trafford following his summer loan from Monaco, Radamel Falcao started his fifth successive game for Manchester United against Yeovil on Sunday, a feat the Colombian hasn’t managed since November 2013 prior to his severe knee injury in January last year. The striker, once one of the most prolific in world football, has struggled to find the net since his arrival in Manchester but he has also struggled to find fitness and thus a way into conditioning-stickler Louis van Gaal’s starting eleven.
It’s Time for Wayne Rooney to Justify his Pay Cheque
In van Persie’s absence, Wayne Rooney ensured that Manchester United secured victory against West Ham with two goals in the first half and whilst one was more spectacular than the other, they were equally important to the team’s growing confidence. Leading the team out, Rooney was the figurehead of the side in more ways than one and took the edge off the pain of van Persie’s injury.
Rooney new contract: A costly mistake
It leaves me feeling angry and confused that the proud nation of France is so often cruelly stereotyped as too willing to cave in to strong willed aggressive personalities with unreasonable demands. Context be damned as judgments are laid down condemning the ease with which Robespierre, Kaiser Wilhelm, et al imposed their will on the Gallic populace. How sad then that my pod-brother Frenchy has backed Manchester United to act in just such a fashion. How can such a talented young football writer possibly support signing up to five more years of the Rooney Stretford circus? He’s wrong. Here is why.
Rooney new contract: Keeping your best asset
If you really don’t want Rooney to stay at the club, I suggest you stop reading now and head over to Tom’s piece on the matter.
Many will agree with Tom and will refuse to accept the reasons why Manchester United have decided to give Wayne Rooney, more commonly known by haters as “The Evil Scouse Backstabber”, a new contract. However, I know there are some out there who will understand why the current Premier League champions, currently lying in 7th and 11 points behind 4th, want to keep one of their most important players.
The Costs of Van Persie
The arrival of Robin Van Persie at Manchester United in the summer of 2012 was a boon to the managerial fortunes of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot surely knew the 2012-2013 season was to be his last; the purchase of Van Persie then was his attempt to secure a champion’s golden handshake.
The Last Poacher
Despite a lively start to his Old Trafford career, Javier Hernández has seen his playing time diminish since a young Danny Welbeck made the step up to first team and Sir Alex hit the transfer lottery with Robin van Persie. Now, with Wayne Rooney staying put at Old Trafford and Shinji Kagawa close to the first XI when fit, the competition for places is very high up front.
In Defence of Wayne Rooney
For those who are familiar with my writing; you might well be surprised to see my name below the title. Let’s be blunt; I don’t like Wayne Rooney. I’ve never been much enamoured with him as a man and as a footballer I don’t feel he has progressed as he should. Despite those truths I find the circumstances of his expected departure to have cast an unwarranted shadow over an unquestionably successful Old Trafford career.
Times have changed. Football clubs, players and supporters are much different from the sport I fell in love with. The painting of ‘Wayne Rooney the baddy’ has been carefully orchestrated by the club and ably assisted by the fans. Fergie’s final act of mischief coincided with the unedifying spectacle of a player booed when receiving a Championship winners medal. The former we have become accustomed to but the latter really saddened me. On a day of celebration of a season and an era, a significant number of fans chose to voice their displeasure with an important part of the achievements they were revelling in. Wayne Rooney is the fourth highest scorer in Manchester United history. All of those goals came under Alex Ferguson. To not cheer was understandable given the immediate context, but to boo was an act of disrespect to the achievements of the entire team.
In early May I wrote a blog suggesting it might be best for Rooney too seek a new challenge and had commenters queuing up to disparage my argument and even question my allegiance to the club. Those very same critics are unlikely to be such staunch defendants of their ‘hero’ tonight. Momentum has swung to a point that even those who readily forgave his last treacherous act are in agreement that his services are no longer wanted. It is – it must be said – the perfect situation for the club. Instead of open revolt at the prospect of selling a prized asset at the peak of his career, they are being roundly congratulated with no little schadenfreude displayed at the shift in balance of power.
So why has Wayne become so reviled?
Could it be because of his morality? To dislike the man is understandable. I remain surprised that in 2010 a ill-considered rant against the England fans who insulted him drew more outrage from the masses than the reprehensible act of soliciting a prostitute whilst his wife was pregnant. United fans seem happy to draw a line between personal and professional conduct – as demonstrated by the adoration of Giggs. It could be seen as double standards to worship the adulterous Welshman whilst lambasting Rooney for similarly sinful acts.
Could it be then a lack of professionalism that so angers those who once supported him?
I’m not alone in being furious at his condition when returning after his 2012 summer. His relationship with Fergie has been marked by unexpected spells out the team where he has been punished for failing to conduct himself in a manner befitting a professional at the club. This is beyond dispute. The same can and has been said in the past of David Beckham, Bryan Robson and most famously of all George Best. Three men beloved of the United support despite their failure to curb ‘outside interests’ for the good of the club. The traditions of the club has been to support our players even when they have committed brainless acts which have left us deprived of their services for long periods of time (see Cantona, Ferdinand and Keane). In the context of being unavailable for the best part of a year, on reflection the reaction to our scouse number ten carrying a bit of summer timber was perhaps over the top.
Well then, surely it has to be greed?
In 2010 he successfully held the club to ransom and less than three years on he refuses to request the transfer we all know he wants for the sake of adding to his already considerable wealth. Nothing changes. Yet which doyen of financial fair play is Rooney trying to squeeze what he feels he is owed from? Our parasitic owners. Make no mistake, every action (or inaction) of the Glazer era has been driven by pursuit of money. The decision to cave in to Rooney and Stretford’s demands in that infamous week was can recognition of calculating that to allow him to move across town would potentially cause greater harm to the club’s ability to generate revenue. You need not plough through the annals of time to find examples of greed outweighing what would benefit on field performance. As I write this the squad are on the other side if the world, after yet another long distance flight, fulfilling meet and greets in an effort to flog brand United. Unlike the US tours we can’t even spin it as a worthwhile football exercise against fellow European giants. Our next opponents are severely weakened by the absence of Emile Heskey. Let that sink in a moment. Then consider the fact that our new manager and coach attributed their victory over United to the lack of foreign expeditions. How our new manager, looking at his intimidating early fixture list, must wish that he was spending his days familiarising himself with new players and surroundings in Manchester rather than photocalls by Sydney Harbour bridge. If we are disowning Rooney for being motivated chiefly by money, then we must be similarly scathing of our beloved club.
The current stand off is the result of one super rich, ruthless organisation seeking to cut the best possible deal for the club in the sale of one super rich individual. Both are trading unsubtle blows under the gaze of the public which does neither any credit. Once again we see a business masquerading as a sport. It has been an unfortunate subplot to my time supporting United that players who have served the club well have departed in ignominious circumstances. A case in point would be the departure of Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2006. Our number 10 had led us through the lean times, keeping us in contention through his goals alone as the weakest side of the Ferguson era struggled behind him. Yet when Ferguson – and the club – decided it was time to move him on it was conducted in a manner unbefitting a player who had given so much in a red shirt. In fact if Rooney had been a bit more clued up on his recent United history he would not have been so surprised by a surprise omission for the final home game of the season.
It could all be so simple; the player wants to leave, the club accept it would be best for all concerned. We should be acknowledging a player who has aided our clubs achievements but whose time has come to a natural end. Instead of an amicable, respectful parting of ways we instead have a messy divorce played out through media briefing. This has duly been jumped upon enthusiastically by some ‘fans’ who view football as a soap opera and Wayne Rooney as the arch villain. I won’t be sorry to see him go but nor will I celebrate the departure of a man who, on the football field at least, gave me such moments of pleasure.
Wayne Rooney’s Skyfall Moment
In the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall, our tuxedoed secret agent finds himself confronted with some difficult truths. Early in the film his inability to subjugate an adversary forces his superior to make a decision which, when carried out, places our hero’s career in limbo. Upon his return to MI6 he is submitted to a stringent physical and psychological evaluation in order to assess his ability and readiness to return to the “field”.
Rooney will break records but can he follow Giggs?
Wayne Rooney is closing-in on goal scoring records for Manchester United and England and, at 27 years of age, needs just another 56 goals to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton to top the Old Trafford all-time striking charts. Judging by his scoring rate over the past few seasons, it’s a target he should be able to hit, but what does the future hold for Rooney beyond these milestones?
As his first touch becomes evermore precarious and unreliable when off-form, we’re told he’s not a young man anymore, and received wisdom tells us that football is a young man’s game.