The abrupt culmination of the faintly ridiculous furore surrounding Wayne Rooney‘s immediate future yesterday left the deflated masses querying what all that nasty skullduggery and public bickering was all about.
In the cold light of day, it seems that the short answer is ‘about another £90,000-a-week’.
It would appear that, after five days spent thoroughly alienating himself, destabilizing the entire team, brazenly criticising his teammates, breaching the patriarchal tendencies of his manager, biting the hand that feeds and then ultimately holding his club to ransom, Rooney has now become the best-paid player in the Manchester United’s history by agreeing to sign a five-year deal that has doubled his wages to somewhere up around the £180,000-a-week mark.
Speaking after the news of Rooney’s melodramatic about-face broke yesterday afternoon, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that the striker found time to step down from his pedestal and apologise to the peons that he had effectively belittled during the bout of high-profile negotiations.
In an interview broadcast by Key103, Ferguson said:
“Wayne has apologised to me and the players, he will also do so with the supporters.”
Sometimes, when you’re in a club, it can be hard to realise just how big it is and it takes something like the events of the last few days to make you understand.
I think Wayne now understands what a great club Manchester United is.”
The statement came at the end of one of the more wearisome 24-hour periods in United’s recent history, after an endless torrent of meetings between Ferguson, chief executive David Gill, Rooney and his long-time advisor Paul Stretford, plus a transatlantic phone-call to high-ranking representatives from the Glazer family.
The wranglings even mobilised the ‘educational’ arm of United’s moronic Men In Black hooligan firm to congregate outside Rooney’s Cheshire mansion armed with malicious banners warding him off a move to bitter rivals Manchester City – only for the pilloried striker to commit his long-term future to the club roughly 16 hours later.
The man at the centre of the maelstrom broke his sustained silence by outlining his stance in an interview with United’s in-house television channel MUTV yesterday afternoon:
“I’m sure the fans over the last week have felt let down by what they’ve read and seen. The fans have been upset but my message to them is that I care for the club.
I just want it to continue to be successful. My position (telling the club he had no intention of signing a new contract) was always from concern over the future.
Some fans may not take to me again very quickly. It may take time, but I will give everything. I will give 100% and try to build that relationship back.”
Rooney then described the to-ings and fro-ings of the last few days, again outlined his commitment to the club and his commitment to improving his ailing form:
“In the last couple of days, I’ve talked to the manager and the owners and they’ve convinced me this is where I belong.
I’m signing a new deal in the absolute belief that the management, coaching staff, board and owners are totally committed to making sure United maintains its proud winning history – which is the reason I joined the club in the first place.
The manager made it clear that the door was still open for me to sign, that’s when I spoke to my agent.
I said: ‘Let’s go and sit down and get it resolved.’ We went in and spoke to the manager, the Glazers and (chief exec.) David Gill and sorted it out.
The fans have been brilliant with me since I arrived and it’s up to me through my performances to win them over again.“
Rooney now faces a three-week lay-off after actually injuring his ankle during training earlier in the week (courtesy of a hideously mis-timed Paul Scholes tackle).
Incidentally, the once-dwindling odds on him defending his ‘Footballer of the Year’ title have now been slashed dramatically.
Make of that what you will.