October 20, 2010
Seasoned Fergie-watchers were rather taken aback by his recent press conference. Usually, when Ferguson issues his diktats, they’re a brusque run down of the world, according to Sir Alex and that’s your lot. However, on the 19th October (Tuesday), they were treated to a, quite frankly, masterful performance by the old stager. Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who kicked out David Beckham, Jaap Stam and Paul Ince because he didn’t quite like the cut of their jib, played the role of the stunned and spurned father.
Of course, Ferguson is none of the kind, he’s the most ruthless operator in the game and he knows that Rooney is lost to him and his club, so he’s spinning the events to suit his agenda, which is to win the PR war.
To some degree, this has been largely successful; the story reverberating around sport is that Mr Rooney is a selfish, money grubbing chav, more concerned with the size of his pay packet than playing the beautiful game for the club that nurtured him through the tough times and the good times (not Everton).
As ever, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in-between Ferguson’s press conference and the view expressed above. There’s no doubt that money is a major factor for Rooney to consider, compared to some top level footballers, Rooney is paid a pittance at a mere £90,000 a week. Of course, this is no small change, even for Manchester United, but when you consider that a player as average as Yaya Toure is estimated to be earning in excess of £180,000 a week at Eastlands, you can see why Rooney may be agitating for a transfer. Whatever you think of Rooney, there’s no denying that he’s a World footballer in the same league as Messi, Ronaldo and Kaka and if he feels he should be paid a wage comparable to theirs, well, you can’t blame him for that.
Personally, I’m not sure that the money is as important to Rooney as it’s made out to be. Rooney has made multiple millions over his career to date, the simple question is how much more money does a player need? Speaking from a small amount of personal experience I’m of the opinion that after a point money becomes less about acquiring things and becomes more about a measurement of your status and importance to the organisation you work for. Does Rooney want more money? Undoubtedly so, but when he grumbles about Manchester United not showing enough ambition in the transfer market, I believe him and I believe that this is the main reason for his wanting to move away.
Compared to other clubs, both in the Premiership and Europe, Manchester United haven’t competed as far as transfers are concerned. Naturally players have come in, but I can imagine that it’s difficult for Rooney to get excited about someone like Chris Smalling or Bebe, especially when Manchester City have been signing players like James Milner, David Silva and Mario Balotelli.
I don’t blame Rooney for wanting to leave if I was in his shoes I’d do the same. Rooney knows his worth as a player and as a commercial entity and in the era of “Player Power”, that’s the only knowledge a player needs.