You’ll have undoubtedly already been slapped across the eyes by this morning’s sensationalist headlines regarding a certain sweaty little pink fellow and his quest to put the frighteners up his current employers, Manchester United, by ‘publically declaring’ his reluctance to sign a long-term contract extension.
The truth of the matter is that there has been a noticeable lack of bona fide/relevant quotes from either party, but that hasn’t stopped the national and global media pressing ahead with their forecasts of doom and despair, with the latest line on the Old Trafford apocalypse being that the pink chap in question, Wayne Rooney, has now ‘informed his teammates’ (presumably at some point during this morning’s training session) that he intends to breach the Manchester divide and join bitter rivals City in the summer.
Which is baseless hogwash, utter. steaming. baseless. hogwash.
There are also a large number of reports detailing how Rooney could engineer himself a January exit, should he so desire, by enforcing the controversial Webster Technique (which sounds like something you’d use to artificially inseminate a horse, but is actually a means of buying out the final year of your contract) to force United into selling him as his current deal effectively expires in 14 months time.
Which is scaremongering, futile. pointless. tangential. scaremongering.
Wayne Rooney will not be leaving Manchester United in huff when the winter transfer window ‘SLAMS OPEN!’ (©Jim White, Sky Sports News) nor, I wholeheartedly suspect, when the summer rolls around.
The club just need exercise a modicum of discipline.
The perceived wisdom is that these days it is the player (especially the ‘superstar’ player) that holds all the cards when it comes to wriggling out of contracts. Certainly the players now have a more significant sway over proceedings due to the fine work or Messrs. Jimmy Hill, Jean-Marc Bosman and the aforementioned Andy Webster, but the power that clubs can still exert is vastly underestimated – a good example being Arsenal’s retention of Cesc Fabregas over the summer, despite Barcelona employing every devious trick in the book to entice the Spaniard back to the Camp Nou.
Although I admit that the circumstances were fairly different, Fabregas ominously told manager Arsene Wenger that he had set his heart on joining Barca and the Catalan club produced the money (although many argue that £35 million was a criminal undervaluation), but a firmly defiant stance and a few fatherly promises warded off the begrudging inevitable for at least another year.
The club won. It may just be for the time being, but the club undoubtedly won.
Most professional footballers these days seem to suffer with acute cases of arrested development, and many are therefore directly akin to spoilt children.
In the very same way that pissy, over-indulged toddlers are often allowed to walk all over their parents, ‘player power’ only exists if the relevant authority figures are willing to pander to the oft-exorbitant whims of the kind of preening, egotistical ingrates that populate the modern game.
If we are to ensure that the bottom isn’t going to fall out, then strict measures need to be taken to stem the unsustainable bloat.
In short, Ferguson (and every single manager who faces the same strain of ignominy) just needs to put Rooney over his knee and take the belt to him and, speaking outside of metaphor for a moment, I’m sure the United patriarch has seriously considered giving his stroppy striker ten of the best on a fair few occasions of late.