An awful lot of column inches have been taken up in the red top press over the past week about Wayne Rooney’s penchant for paying prostitutes to sleep with him, but this weekend the Manchester United and England star’s club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, took the opportunity to needle Rooney to a whole new level.
Now, before we continue, I ought to point out that I don’t really care about football (or soccer, if you’re reading this in America), and I don’t really want to spend my leisure time reading about an overpaid oik who’s chosen to spend his vast wealth on paying a couple of hookers to play tunes on his trombone, but the reasoning behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision not to play Rooney in Saturday’s game against Everton really is a bit laughable.
In contrast to England manager Fabio Capello, who played Rooney in the England v Switzerland Euro qualifier match on Tuesday with some success, Ferguson chose not to play him to, apparently, protect him from some teasing that he might get from the Everton crowd.
While this might have left the Everton fans a little deflated – they had, apparently, arrived with a life-size blow up doll to jeer at Rooney with – it has surely left the field of abuse open for all other opposition team fans in games to come.
America might have Tiger Woods, but despite the dramatic fall from grace of golf’s favourite son, that sport is not one in which you will find gangs of abusive fans waiting to kick your head in if you fail to win a game. So although nobody can quite fathom out why Tiger might have wanted to spend his time and money on an entire golf course of women that weren’t his beautiful wife, neither did his fans – or fans of the sport – waste too much time trying to distract him from his game once he got back on the fairway earlier this year.
In contrast, we have the granny-banging Rooney who plays in a sport that goes hand-in-hand with abuse and violence. No matter what story breaks in the press about a footballer, the opposing fans – and even some of the home ones – are guaranteed to make up a clever limerick and spend much of the game taunting the players rather than actually watching what’s going on.
So while Helen Wood and the undeniably pretty Jenny Thompson have attempted to appear contrite and made very public, tearful apologies to Mrs Rooney for accepting money to sleep with her husband whilst she was pregnant – all, I am sure, in return for very large sums of even more money from the News of the World – Ferguson should have told his star player to man up and get out there and play on Saturday, and get the worst of the abuse out of the way.
Instead, what the Manchester United boss has actually done is told fans of all opposing teams that if they threaten to abuse Rooney’s fragile ego in games to come, then he simply won’t be put out on the pitch to play. That, to many, would be reason enough to be a hooligan…