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Rooney gets silent treatment

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Phil McNulty | 19:19 UK time, Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Britannia Stadium

Wayne Rooney's tarnished reputation was brandished around The Britannia Stadium as Manchester United's heroes were celebrated in song.

Eric Cantona, George Best and - most intriguingly - Cristiano Ronaldo all felt the full force of the affections of the travelling following as United ended a week of Rooney-instigated turbulence with victory at Stoke City.

The one pointed and glaring exception from this glittering cast list was Rooney, celebrating his lucrative new five-year contract and his 25th birthday 3,500 miles away from The Potteries in Dubai.

And if any supporters were tempted to let their thoughts wander to the individual who played fast and loose with their emotions, they were soon banished by the rich promise contained in the performance of injured Rooney's replacement, Javier Hernandez.

Hernandez scored both United goals that gave them their first away win in the Premier League this season, three points that were demanded on so many levels after a week that threatened to seriously damage the club's standing.

It was victory at the end of a week when Rooney lost his lustre among so many football fans inside and outside Old Trafford, and Ferguson lost a little of his own sparkle because he was forced to admit he could not do without a player who had shown such open disrespect to United, his team-mates and their supporters.

Javier Hernandez scores his first goal in the 2-1 win over Stoke

Hernandez has now scored four goals in his last five appearances - photo: Getty

And Ferguson's latest complaint after this 2-1 win that dealing with agents can be "difficult" continues to have a hollow ring as he found no problem in dealing with Rooney's representative Paul Stretford when he wished to sign him from Everton as a teenager in 2004.

Rooney was still the main topic of conversation despite his absence from The Britannia, but if he was relaxing in Dubai hoping to hear about the celebrations that greeted his return to the fold and favour, he would have been sorely disappointed.

True, the invective that stretched from banners at Old Trafford to balaclava-clad mobs outside his Prestbury home and death threats daubed on posters outside a Manchester city centre store had gone.

In its place, however, was a deafening and significant silence as United's fans studiously ignored the opportunity to throw out a public olive branch to their almost-wandering star. There was no ill-feeling towards Rooney, but no obvious signs of affection either. No mention of absent friends.

And this is entirely understandable. Rooney cannot behave in the manner that resulted in such anger being directed towards him this week and expect instant re-acceptance once the new, vastly richer, deal is in place.

Damage has been done and United's supporters rightly expect to see signs of his repentance in a return to form on the field before the road to repairing their relationship with Rooney can start.

Stoke City's fans, in contrast, did not miss the opportunity to remind United of their troubled week. It came in the form of loud taunts that Rooney had effectively claimed their squad might not be equipped to win major trophies, several tasty banners and in the shape of three large and garishly-attired "ladies" offering birthday greetings and more besides.

Ferguson will hope this hard-earned but deserved win can begin the renewal after a week in which he feared he would lose United's most treasured playing possession, but ended in confirmation that he may have unearthed another precious gem in Hernandez.

If Rooney has any complaints about the quality of United's squad and Ferguson's signings, he cannot mean the 22-year-old Mexican who made it four goals in his last five appearances since his £6m arrival from Chivas de Guadalajara in July.

It is almost too soon to make such glowing comparisons, but there is a touch of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about the manner in which Hernandez goes about his business, from the baby-faced expression to a natural instinct for goals.

"Chicharito" (The Little Pea) was afforded a hero's reception at the final whistle from fans and team-mates alike as he made them forget about Rooney for a day and showed he can be a major figure in the future Ferguson plans for Old Trafford.

Hernandez may look like a schoolboy, but he is tough with the traditional Mexican sportsman's work ethic. And all the early signs are that he has a ruthless edge in front of goal.

Hernandez showed athleticism to divert in Nemanja Vidic's header for United's first and a poacher's talent when he pounced from close-range after Tuncay's brilliant equaliser threatened to add to the list of lost leads that have so disappointed Ferguson this season.

He was also narrowly off target with a chance between his goals and his all-round link-up play, especially with Dimitar Berbatov, was a delight.

Rio Ferdinand celebrates Javier Hernandez's winner against Stoke

Hernandez's winner was greeted ecstatically by Manchester United's fans - photo: Reuters

For Stoke, although second best, there was real disappointment that they could not hang on to the point Tuncay's curling angled finished nine minutes from time looked to have given them.

And there was a sense of injustice too. Only referee Andre Marriner will know what thought processes led him to spare Gary Neville a red card when he followed up a tackle on Matthew Etherington that brought a booking with one that was even more reckless on the same player - and yet stayed on.

It was not the moan of a beaten manager when Pulis asked: "If it was a Stoke City player playing at Old Trafford and committed two fouls like that, what do you think would have happened?"

It was a genuine grievance - and we think we all know what the answer would be. It may not have changed the course of the game, but Pulis was right to think Stoke should have had the chance to find out.

United deserved the victory, and this week of so many damaging headlines deserved to have a new hero to illuminate this game.

Hernandez took on Rooney's role and his hero status with an ease that marks him out as an outstanding young talent and left one question hanging in the air.

When Rooney is fit and ready to resume, where will he play?

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Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Agreed. Can't help but wonder whether signing a new 5 year deal had more to do with securing a much larger transfer fee if he finally does go.

    Chicho looks like a player - wouldn't be too sad to see him, Berbatov and Macheda playing a good number of games this year.

    My greatest worry is still in midfield though. Fletcher and Carrick again today were exceptionally poor, and Nani and Scholes also had poor days. SAF needs to focus more there perhaps than he does up front...

  • Comment number 3.

    Rooney should play in centre midfield, it's in this position his attributes are best suited and is the person to take Scholes place as I don't think he is clinical in front of goal despite his last seasons haul.

  • Comment number 4.

    hernandez is quality, cant help but feel you have just used this blog to have a go at United, Rooney and Fergie though.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am afraid Rooney has a lot to atone for......

  • Comment number 6.

    I really do think Fergie has discovered an extraordinary talent in Hernandez. Maybe even up at the same end of the talent scale as Cristiano Ronaldo. He could be a potentail world-beater. And with the baby face, cheeky grin and poachers insticnt he is already a fan favourite.

  • Comment number 7.

    great game by chicharito.shame nani couldnt get into the game more though.what is interesting is that we played 4 centre backs and evra in midfield.we need to see more of obertan, who is a genuine winger.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    You're right, there is a touch of the Solksjaer in Hernandez. I think the 'little pea' will be a force to be reckoned with. As for Neville, he is clearly past it.

  • Comment number 10.

    In neither the pub nor the ground today did I hear Rooney discussed, therefore do not understand how McN can report such nonsense. Rooney will show or not show if he plays for United again.

  • Comment number 11.

    Herandez will be a star for United. He has the right attitude, and looks like he loves the game.

    The midfield does look like the weak link at United. Fletcher and Carrick just aren't world class. The passing was wayward to say the least and it ends up putting too much pressure on the defence. I hope that Hargreaves can come back and make a difference in that midfield. We just need a solid ball winner in there.

    With regards to the whole Rooney saga. I can't help but feel this was a careful ploy by Ferguson the eek more money out of the owners. The stories in the press now, saying that SAF will have a £100m to spend to rebuild the team over the course of the year, make a perfect result for Ferguson.

    Neville was lucky to stay on the pitch today, and he knew it. Tough game next week against a confident Spurs. More from Hernandez and Rooney can spend the rest of the season being the most expensive bench warmer in the history of football.

    Well done to the Arsenal today. The sending off was huge but the right decision. To be fair to City, they kept their heads up. Adebayor is not as good a player as he'd like to think.

  • Comment number 12.

    Reputations, tarnished or otherwise, cannot be "brandished". You brandish a weapon.
    "Rooney cannot behave in the manner that resulted in such anger being directed towards him this week and expect instant re-acceptance once the new, vastly richer, deal is in place." A deal is abstract noun. It cannot be rich or poor.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Too much. It's nonsense. Stop reacting. Take a moment to stop and think. Sam Lyon, Ben Dirs, Stevo, Robbo (RIP) should be writing on this. You've lost me........

  • Comment number 15.

    United fans always sing about older players, whether it's Georgie Best, King Eric, Keano, Solskjaer, Ronaldo or even Nicky Butt. Absolutely nothing to do with Rooney.

  • Comment number 16.

    What a start to his United career for Hernandez, 10 games and 5 goals already, he reminds me more of Michael Owen than Ole but as long as he keeps smiling and scoring, perhaps he is more like Dwight Yorke who was the smiling assasin....As for Wayne, I hope he knuckles down and scores goals as the fans can be unforgiving and will get on his back sooner rather than later...

  • Comment number 17.

    'And Ferguson's latest complaint after this 2-1 win that dealing with agents can be "difficult" continues to have a hollow ring as he found no problem in dealing with Rooney's representative Paul Stretford when he wished to sign him from Everton as a teenager in 2004.'

    Oh, don't be so silly. Of course he had to deal with him; he wanted to sign the player. What other realistic option is there? I think it would probably have been frowned upon if he'd, say, had Stretford shot or something.

  • Comment number 18.

    I dont see why Fergie's previous dealings with Rooney's agent are relevant? Rooney moved to United because they offered a huge sum of money to Everton, and, as much as i like Everton as a club, you cant exactly say they are bigger or better than United - and i stress, with the greatest of respects to Moyes' team.

    Fergie is also on record, long before this, as to disliking the role of agents in the game.

    Hernandez looks a terrific prospect - his movement off the ball and natural finishing ability with either foot set him apart from our other young strikers. There is certainly an air of the Baby Faced Assassin about him! And he seems to link up very well with Berbatov - better than Rooney does, i think.

    Our midfield still needs addressing. A quality left sided player to replace Giggs is imperative. And another quality central player. Maybe Obertan, Bebe, Pogba, Morrison et al can step into these roles with time, though Fergie himself said they may have to spent to replace the Old Guard.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.


    thanks so much for pointing out what Chicharito stands for by putting 'the little pea' in brackets.

    It's a good job you were around during the last few months since the signing (when it was mentioned dozens of times) whilst the rest of the population of the world had its eyes shut and fingers in its ears - bravo

  • Comment number 21.

    Good article. You shouldn't be surprised at Ronaldo's inclusion in the song, he's done way more than Rooney will be able to do in the next 2 years. And it will annoy Rooney like hell.

  • Comment number 22.

    Very anti Rooney and I understand your need to bring up the Evertonian feeling of injustice at his move to United in the first place. But remember in last weeks go-around it was not Rooney who went public on him wanting to leave - it was United.
    Rooney was rightly concerned that before committing himself to the most important 5 years of his career that he had some assurances that his employer was going to invest to remain competitive. Any top talent in any industry wants to be part of a succesfull team and I can see why he would want these assurances.
    He was verbalising, in the most effective way possible, the concerns that all thinking United fans have had for the last couple of years. The owners (or Fergie) are letting the talent in the squad deteriorate to a point where we are going to struggle to win anything and possibly to even qualify for Europe.
    I like to think that it was not only about the money, and the fact that various press reports speculate his new contract is anywhere from Pounds 150,000 to Pounds 250,000 per week tells me that the press has no idea what the deal is really worth. It is all silly money, but anything up to 180,000 is probably below the going rates established by City, but certainly at the top end of any other club, which for a top performer at United is where it should be.
    So, at the end of all this it is a shame it became a public issue - but maybe it had to be in order to achieve the desired effect of getting the Glazers to commit to some real investment in a squad that is currently the weakest at Old Trafford since the late 80s.

  • Comment number 23.

    Who cares, enoughh of this drivel to last me a lifetime.

  • Comment number 24.

    Quite extraordinary. As #4 noted just an excuse to have a go at Utd, Ferguson and Rooney. You’d think the chief football write would be a little more objective and maybe even write about football. He should be writing for one of the tabloids. No mention of football, or Utd's poor midfield.

    And then there's the "writing"....
    "And there was a sense of injustice too. Only referee Andre Marriner will know what thought processes led him to spare Gary Neville a red card when he followed up a tackle on Matthew Etherington that brought a booking with one that was even more reckless on the same player - and yet stayed on."

    Possibly the longest sentence evert written, and what's the bit at the end? " - and yet stayed on".

  • Comment number 25.

    Phil....why has Fergie lost some of his sparkle over the Rooney incident? I think you are completely wrong about this. I suspect he gained a great deal of further respect as a manager and PR expert. The real people who lost sparkle last week were actually many of the journos - like yourself in fact - who had Rooney in a light blue shirt on Friday morning...only to be contradicted by lunchtime.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why all the vitroil at Rooney. A football player has a short career span
    maybe 10-15 years, they spent a lot of time hurt or injured, they work hard 5-6 days a week training and playing. Unlike the owners who use the club as a personal piggy bank players like Rooney do something for a living. The fans come to see then play. If Rooney wasn't making Man U money he'd be gone.

  • Comment number 27.

    Rooney soon will find him to be replaced by other younger players who will shine later.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    I do believe that Neville should have got a yellow card for the foul but I don't think his first offense was a yellow. The ref just reacted to how the player went down and not to the foul itself. That's why he bottled it on the second one. But until Neville's yellow, United players were getting kicked off the field with no protection from the ref. And why has no one spoken about the stonewall penalty against Evra. You can see how the defender pushed him over, first with his shoulder and then with his arm. Just because we were leading at that time, there was not much talk of it. Pulis said that refs are not being fair to Stoke, well on this occasion he was not fair to United.

  • Comment number 30.

    The only people who have lost in the short-lived saga are the writers who always assume they know more than the rest of us. In their projections they already had suitors for Rooney and why he would end up where. They were hoping for another Ronaldo ending so that they can trash-talk United as usual.
    But,that was not to be! And in order to divert attention from their often hasty and mostlt wrong deductions,they have chosen to castigate those who had the effontery to cause them to swallow their pride.
    Rooney is not the first player to have a protracted or stalled contract negotiations,and he would not be the last.His approach might have been wrong and disrespectful to some of us fans,it would be erroneous to attribute it all to money.Methink he needs to change his advisers.
    SAF has to look at re-enforcing the team in the GK dept as well as a solid RB to replace Gary; and also, at least 1 DM(defensive midfielder)and the team would be as solid as can be.

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't understand why McNulty is facing accusations of not writing about United's por midfield when the title of the post is "Rooney gets silent treatment". Where does it indicate that he is going to write about the midfield?

  • Comment number 32.

    Sad that the press is hooked on Manchester United and the so called lack of investment. I would have thought that Fergie has proved time and again that he knows how to rebuild a team. Deep down he is sacrificing the near term for the medium and longer terms by investing on youth. As he said the team he is building will become a finished product in three years. The great man is saying that he has done his four year winning and now can do without a major trophy for the two years it will take to construct a winning side capable of another four - year run. He said so in many different ways and the press does not seem to get it. A two-year hiatus is good enough for me and I am a true fan.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why has there not been one mention of Danny Collins challenge on Nani in the second half? Yes, Neville should've been sent off for the second challenge on Etherington but I thought Collins had broken Nani's leg with his wild challenge and Pulis knew it was a crazy tackle too because he replaced Collins soon after with Higginbotham. Stoke have every right to feel aggrieved about Neville but it'd be nice to hear someone acknowledge that Stoke were also lucky with Collins.

    Over the 90 minutes United were good value though. Chicharito was excellent and his first goal was true class. Fully agree with the Solskjaer comment though. I think Owen is finished at United now too as Chich offers us everything that a young Owen offered. Saying that Owen will probably nick a goal midweek and we'll all be saying he can play an important squad role again for us this season...

  • Comment number 34.

    its just one game. why make a big story out of it with boring unproven statements? as usual.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am an Arsenal fan and dont like either of these teams, so I am a proper Neutral if ever there was one. I dont like Gary Neville either but his 1st yellow was undeserved. He nicked the ball away from Etherington and then caught him but you cant book him for that. Having said that, if you already have a booking, you should show more brains than he did to avoid a lunge on Etherington. In conclusion, let me settle this for you: Gary Neville was stupid but didnt deserve a red. Rightly hauled off for lack of brains.

  • Comment number 38.

    Classic McNulty milking the Rooney story for all its worth. Jesus, what is the big deal if we do not sing Rooney songs in a game when he is anyway not even present?

    Dissecting every single statement, adding your own interpretations etc is starting to get annoying. Why don't you go and write about citeh or the scousers for a change?

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Rooney is not the player he was. I was really surprised that Fergi didn't show him the door. Now they will forever have trouble with Rooney...Makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes!!

  • Comment number 41.

    @ #12 the expressions "brandished" & "...richer deal" are here used figuratively. So, I see it as a misdirection on your part to employ the literal usage of those expressions.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ #12 the expressions "brandished" & "...richer deal" are here used figuratively. So, I see it as a misdirection on your part to employ the literal or indeed, rigid usage of those expressions.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good blog as ever. Shame on the referee, and shame on SAF. He has had less than open dealings with agents especially for Rio, and Rooney so he cannot now talk of 'difficult' dealings with agents. It si good to know that SAF has not learned from a previous encounter with Rio during a not dissimilar situation involving contract extension negotiations. Congrats to Rooney for squeezing a deal from an unwilling SAF!

  • Comment number 44.

    Suddenly 2 goals against stoke wipes away the 30+ goals Rooney scored last season! Ludicrous

    RE - Edwin Mbewe - get a life, this is football not a language class

  • Comment number 45.

    So i critisize the journalism on the site and my comment gets deleted?

    What happend to freedom of speech... oh i forgot it's the BBC and there leftie views.

  • Comment number 46.

    Despite the new five year contract, Rooney will still leave old trafford. I hope Sir Alex cashes in well on Rooney like Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 47.

    Post sing about Cantona and why not Rooney?

    The first 2 don't even have a £250,000 per week contract with Man u

  • Comment number 48.

    #18, BerbaKing11, wrote:

    "I dont see why Fergie's previous dealings with Rooney's agent are relevant? Rooney moved to United because they offered a huge sum of money to Everton, and, as much as i like Everton as a club, you cant exactly say they are bigger or better than United - and i stress, with the greatest of respects to Moyes' team.

    Fergie is also on record, long before this, as to disliking the role of agents in the game."

    Sorry mate, but it is relevant. Ferguson professes to be a man of integrity and working class morals, hence why he doesn't like the 'dirty' work of agents in the game. Apparently. I think Phil's point is that he doesn't speak out against agents when they've done their 'dirty' work for him, as was arguably the case in the deal that took Rooney to Man U.

    And as much as Fergie may have said he doesn't like the role of agents in the game, it might be worth putting this in some context by re-examining the reasons why Fergie still refuses to speak to any BBC journalists.

    I've got huge respect for the Man U boss, but lets not start thinking that he has any moral consistency when it comes to his observations on football. Much the same as anyone involved in the professional game, sadly.

  • Comment number 49.

    What has changed about Rooney's situation is that now the possibility of him being sold will always be there and it wasn't there before these events.

    He's come down from his "our n:o 1 player who will always be our pride" status to just another player.

  • Comment number 50.


    Yes, Rooney should get the silent treatment! Especially from City, when United is 'hawking'him around hoping to cash him.

    City should not find it acceptable to be treated like a Cash Cow.

    Rooney has bedded down with Fergie & United & the fickle fans for the next 5 years & should be left undisturbed so.

    As Mancini said "its their problem' & it should remain so.

  • Comment number 51.

    Smart move Ferguson. Rooney spends the rest of the season at Utd and will depart in the summer to a club that can actually afford to pay his wages. Utd will pocket a big cheque instead of getting nothing. That's the deal. Rooney wins. Utd wins. Decency, ethics, fair-play etc loses. The Premiership led by its biggest fixer rolls on....

  • Comment number 52.

    Believe it or not, I do not think Wayne Rooney will be able to score more than 10 goals in this season. And he will be sold out to other clubs such as Sunderland, or Newcastle.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think the gushing praise for Hernandez is a bit OTT at this stage of his career, as anyone can look good in short bursts (remember the plaudits heaped on Macheda when he scored against Villa?). Although he undoubtedly looks like he could be a very good player, lets keep it in perspective shall we?

  • Comment number 54.

    I agree with poster 10 and the poster who said basically enough of this drivel.
    I am genuinely concerned at the lack of impartiality and lack of facts and apparent misrepresentation of what I saw and heard myself. Phil you seem to have taken offence on behalf of the nation at the 'outrageous' behaviour of Rooney. But I fail to understand why! He is mid twenties, in a mulitpound industry and will work possibly 10 years more. He is at the top club on the planet, in the top role, who wouldn't be concerned when a homeless kid is signed for 7 million.
    I would prefer as a reader that instead reacting and throwing accusations around and being defiant in your stance, that you could perhaps try to analyse what is happening really. Rooney never said he wanted to leave. His agent did. Rooney never said he didn't want to sign, his agent did. Ferguson is well within his rights to say sometimes agents are difficult in this case the agent was. Dealing with Everton he wasn't. What is wrong with that? I would also prefer if you took your outrage over salaries and wrote a really good article on how out of whack they are over the whole of the football league, that would make really interesting reading. Thanks again for another piece on Rooney and United. I never tire of reading about my club, but I can't help feeling this has been blown way out proportion and badly reported by choice in order to create a scandal that never was.

  • Comment number 55.

    Actually number 20 his name really is Chicarito( the little pea) they just could fit that part with brackets onto his shirt so they shortened it to Chicarito....

  • Comment number 56.

    I love the way United fans say Ferguson "discovered" Hernadez.
    Good try, but Hernandez was already discovered..SAF just sent a scout to look him over and then paid to bring him to OT.
    This is how things happen at ALL clubs. It's not something unique to Man U.

  • Comment number 57.

    Number 24 : He means when the ref tackled the spurs player he brought a booking with him, and then tackled him again... I think. I was sure it should have been thought process, and not processes, but then maybe the two thoughts at the same time are what confused the ref.

  • Comment number 58.

    Dear Phil,
    I'm sorry but I have to comment, not about the football but you. For sometime I have read your articles and found them mildly amusing and occasionally informative, but over the last few weeks I have just found you confused, ill-informed and annoying. I know that football, more than other sports perhaps, is about opinions, but maybe you should be a little more controlled and unbiased before you put "finger to keyboard". Take a break, get some perspective, because at the moment your articles read like those of a tabloid hack, not "the chief football writer for the BBC".

  • Comment number 59.

    #31 simonwillo – I’m not accusing him of not writing about United’s midfield, I’m accusing him of not writing about football, which I would guess is what most people on here would like to read about.

    And well said Collie at #54.

  • Comment number 60.

    They should re-name this site

    Seriously, yet another blog by the BBC about Rooney and Utd? Who cares? They won 2-1 away from home with a tap in and a decent header. Wow.

  • Comment number 61.

    I was hoping that this latest episode would be interpreted more rationally by fans. Let's all wake up shall we. Fans love the club. They make sacrifices and pay high prices to give money to the club. Players (and managers) love money. They are hired mercenaries. They are obliged to kiss the badge and spout the rhetoric but any "love" is for the rewards not the fans, not the history. The best you can hope for in this relationship is a Paul Scholes who is a uniquely decent man. I am glad he takes his kids to watch Oldham. It shows that he wants balance in their lives. Utd fans are a good bunch but they need to stop mythologising the club, the players and the manager. Rooney and Ferguson played their parts perfectly last week. The reaction of fans needs to be less naive.

  • Comment number 62.

    The article speaks only about Gary Neville's foul. How biased is this? How about the foul on Patrice Evra as everyone in and outside the stadium thought it was penalty?? How can the author speak about injustice towards United's opponents when it was obvious that Evra was put down inside the box?

  • Comment number 63.

    Soccerinteg - what a bizarre point - that Man City should not allow themselves to be treated as a cash cow!!!! Can you be serious!!!.....They ARE a cash cow for all the players that have gone there and the present manager...Do you honestly believe that Silva, Barry, Adebayor, Johnson, Boateng, Lescott, Kompany, de Jong, the Toures,etc, etc....Any player that has arrived in the last 2 years in fact....during which City have spent £1billion - which has just been spent.....No expectations of profit or even return....just spent....Of course Mancini himself is only there for the same reason.....Would any of these people be there if Sheik Mansour had not turned up with all his cash? Of course not. There's a fairly sound argument that Rooney and his agent would not have had their heads turned if they had not been aware that another football team was prepared to pay a crazily huge wage that had no relationship to the number of fans actually turning up to watch the team and/or the genuine prospect of winning anything. City are nothing other than a cash cow for anyone they care to hire....and what they and Chelsea are doing to the Premiership should be - and is about to be - stopped....Good....One last point, how many City fans were actually cheering their team on for the last 15 minutes or so? As the Sky commentator suggested the stadium was virtually empty! Real fans then...

  • Comment number 64.

    Not at all intriguing that Ronaldo's name was sung - he was the greatest United player since Best, never disrespected the club and we hope he may return one day!

    He was perfectly entitled to follow his boyhood dream of playing for Real Madrid - if you listen to what he has had to say about United and Sir Alex since you will understand the huge difference.

  • Comment number 65.

    Comment #22.
    You are spot on. Rooney never came out and said he wanted to leave and there weren't any rumours either.

    SAF announced it himself.

    What's now followed is the owners had to show a proper commitment to putting money into the club.

    So, I think this is a win for Fergie, Rooney and the United fans.

    As it seems you will now have money to solidify a strong but weakening team.

  • Comment number 66.

    Also, yes Neville should've been sent off but Delap's foul on Evra was a straight red card if ever I've seen one! The old "if it was at Old trafford" or "if it wasn't United" arguments are tires and disrespectful to referees. Plenty of decisions went Stoke's way yesterday, sour grapes won't change the scoreline though.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    I find it hard to establish how anyone came out of this fiasco without a tarnished reputation. Rooney just looks a spoilt brat. Agents look like merchant bankers. Ferguson looks like a manager who solves all problems by either throwing out his toys or throwing money at it. And Manchester United, the self-styled biggest club in world football, have admitted that they are not as big as a single player.
    I suspect that the current Real Madrid manager would have behaved very differently.
    As for the 'phone call from the Glazers', story, my suspicion is that it was more a singular lack of interest from Chelsea that prompted the volte face. After all anyone who accepts Glazer promises at face value must be very naive, which Wayne hasn't proved to be over the last week.
    My last point on this blog, is the strange decision by Mr Ferguson to take off Gary Neville. It was patently clear to everyone watching, that from his first booking, Neville could have tackled anyone, anyhow, anyway, anywhere with complete impunity, as Marriner was never going to send him off.

  • Comment number 69.

    It would seem the term blog is used to excuse the lack of impartiality, and the role of the blog is generate comments. 500 comments don't make a well written blog. The most balanced and fair blogs , will generate thousands of views but relatively few comments. Maybe it's why certain writers from last year are no longer around and the chief football writer only writes about Liverpool, United, and then at a push chelsea and Arsenal. West Brom don't generate many comments, even if they are in the European places at the moment.

  • Comment number 70.

    Don't you think that your comment "And Ferguson's latest complaint after this 2-1 win that dealing with agents can be "difficult" continues to have a hollow ring as he found no problem in dealing with Rooney's representative Paul Stretford when he wished to sign him from Everton as a teenager in 2004." is just a little unfair.

    Nobody said it was "easy" dealing with his agent when he moved from Everton, and I am a bit tired of the statements (previous blog) and allusions that United "stole" Rooney from Everton. As an exciting, and developing, young talent it was in his best interests to move to a bigger club. He did so, and developed, and won titles. Does anyone really believe that Roney would be the player he turneded into had he remained at Everton?

    In the last 6 years, as wages have sky-rocketed, agents have begun to wield more and more power. As an agent makes his biggest earnings when he moves a player on, his advise is probably not always aimed at the best interests of the player either.

    SAF is not the only manager, or perso involved in football, who had commented on the difficulty of dealing with the modern players agent, who are weilding far too much power for anyone not directly involved in football. In my humble opinion, at any rate.

    As for Hernandez, having seen a bit of him playing for Mexico, and having watched him here in SA at the World Cup, I was delighted that he was joining United.

    Yes, the statements attributed to Rooney have upset many fans, and to an extent damaged his reputation. It will take a while, but most people will forgive him eventually.

    The big question is how much of that was Rooney's own thinking, and how much was thoughts put into his head by his agent. With due respect to Rooney, we all know that he has footbal intelligence, but not too many would have every put him at the top of their list in terms of emotional or any other form of intelligence, would they?

    More important than the fans, I think, is his relationship with team mates? If that has not been damaged beyond repair there is still hope.

    Someone commented that Rooney has been demoted from a player we will never sell to "just another player" .... well, any player is for sale at any time. That is the nature of the game, and I do not believe that there is any such thing as a "player we will never sell." We have to be realistic. With the crazy money bandied around these days, if a big enough offer comes in for any player, and that player feels the move will not damage his career, the sale will be on.

    The only time this would not be true is when a team is a "one player team" (United are not, and never will be) and/or the huge money ofer comes from a "small team" that the player would consider a "demotion" to play for. If Stoke (no offence meant to them) were suddenly able to come up with the money to offer 70 million for Rooney (or Torres, or Cole, or Gerrard, or Lampard etc) and pay them 200k per week, do you think they would be hapy to go and agree personal terms with the club? I somehow doubt it.

    As for Neville ..... even the player himself admits he was lucky to remain on the pitch, and I don't think anyone other than the ref knows why he was not sent off. This happens, even in the World Cup final, and is something we see almost every week. Unfortunately, whe it is a United player involved, everyone will make noises about it being because he plays for United. The fans, the club, the manager and the players are all used to that sort of rubbish talk, and pretty much immune to it.

    The simple fact is that the Ref did not do his job correctly (just as Webb did not do his in the WC Final) and only he will know why. It has nothing to do with the player or the club, and I seriously doubt that any of the player, the manager, or the fans would have complained had Neville been sent off. For anyone to suggest otherwise is just bitter, twisted, and stupid.

    One thing that this game, and indeed the first 8 of the season as well, has shown is that there is substance to the statements attributed to Rooney - the squad is simply not strong enough at the moment.

    United, over the past 20 years, have continually gone through phases of rebuilding. Neville himself (and his brother), Giggs, Scholes, Butt, Ronaldo, and Rooney himself, (and insert your own list here), were not bought as "big name players". They were all developed by the club. It is what United does.

    We have Nani (also bought as a youngster for the future) developing nicely, eve though his inconsistency is still as frustrating as all hell. We have Andersen - who has been unlucky with ijury but was better than Nani when they both joined) - Valencia (another unluck injury), Gibson, Smaling, Rafeal, Cleverley and others to come through the ranks still.

    It remains to be seen how fast, and how far, some of them will develop, as that is the nature of youngsters. This is more of an issue these days, where younsters are on big money long-term contracts, and maybe not as "hungry" for success and development as they should be.(But that is an entirely different issue).

    The big problem, as I see it (and maybe as Rooney saw it) is that we could be without success for too long if we rely on teir development.

    We just have too many of the "old guard" now past their best at the same time, with ot enough younsters ready to take over.

    Maybe it is time to take a differet appraoch as a club to what we always have, and buy in a few "name" players in the interim. We need creative midfielders (at least 1) and defenders (Neville keeps showing he is past it, Ferdinand is injury prone and not getting any younger, and Evra past his best it seems), and a good replacement for Van Der Saar.

    Maybe the "Rooney saga" will speed up that investment. If it does, it will be a good thing, and the fans may end up thanking him for it.

    I am not convinced that Rooney will see out his career at United. We do not have a problem scoring goals, an with the likes of Hernandez coming through the ranks he will not be irreplacable. Another 2 seasons and I see him going if some big enough club (to satisfy his ambitions) makes a big money bid.

  • Comment number 71.

    Sorry, not quite my last word.
    # 54 says Rooney didn't say he wanted to leave. Well the words may have been scripted for him, but I am almost sure they issued forth from Wayne's mouth.
    I know he's not a PhD but please stop portraying poor little Wazza as the innocent puppet of scheming Macchiavellian agents.

  • Comment number 72.

    5 United 3 England 1 Liverpool and 1premiership 'general' blog in the month of October. That's the balance of a team defending that doesn't believe it can win.

  • Comment number 73.

    The ref was spot on by not sending Neville off.
    The first challenge was barely a foul let alone a booking.
    He was evening it up by not booking him for the sliding challenge on Etherington. Thats fair.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hold on guys.

    Can we put things into perspective as we have a go at Phil.

    This is not a news article, it's a blog article.

    You have a right to disagree with him however the fact that he's expressing his opinion does not mean he's not a good journalist.

    I'm sure if he was writing a news report he would be more objective however here he's expressing his opinion based on his observations from his perspective.

    Like many of us here, I don't agree with him at all but let's respect him afterall Phil does have the right to be wrong.

  • Comment number 75.

    Just heard that Hernandez's agent has put in for an increase in his wages to keep up with his playing colleague who's on a million a month and chilling out on the beach while he's on the pitch putting the goals in.

    From whichever point of view, you can't help thinking that Rooney would have been well advised to have been in the dugout cheering on his "mates". Here's a boy that's fast running out of friends and apologists.

  • Comment number 76.

    Nice to see the comment acceptance speed has finally been sorted, that is one thing I can say well done on Phil.

  • Comment number 77.

    Who cares about Rooney and his relationship with the fans? No-one except the Man Utd fans. This is a non-blog.
    Little Pea looks class though and I agree with those that say the midfield is creaking a little. However, I would say this - don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Fletcher is class in the holding midfield role, its those around him who need to be replaced....

  • Comment number 78.

    wait until lunchtime collie21.

    the mods somehow end up taking 2 hours off for thier break!

  • Comment number 79.

    Oh, ands it already been mnetioned - see Rooney leave at the end of next season when his old contract would have expired - only for a Kings ranson and not for free/a small(ish) sum....

  • Comment number 80.

    Why are so many so critical of McNulty ALL the time. OK, he might not be Shakespeare (football articles in the style of the Bard - there's an idea!), but the article was decent enough. Could it be that Man Utd fans don't like him because they know he's a scouser, and 'Pool fans because he's a Blue?
    Oh, and to the poster who criticised P McN for telling us what "Chicharito" means - not all of us follow every minutae coming out of Old Trafford you know.
    As for the pedant incorrectly critcising his grammar - I assume you've nowt better to do?

  • Comment number 81.

    Fans quiet on Rooney. Pity the press hadn't been quieter. The ink spent on an overpaid player who has done little or nothing for months is ridiculous. His wages are obscene, especiall in age of cuts. The whole approach to him is tabloid.

    Let's forget about him for a while.

  • Comment number 82.

    not a great fan but watched this match, Can someone explain why Javier Fernandez has Chicorito on his back. I can see from the above that it means "little pea", which might explain it, but surely he should have his real name on his shirt (Like Song in one of the other matches, who nearly scored and could then be said to Be On Song, which may in any event be his real name!).

  • Comment number 83.

    Good article and to the point. I think Hernandez showed that he has a lot of potential and both a keen for goal, and keen sense of position on the field. In both goals he was not only clinical, but crucially, in the right place at the right time. Strikers with far less technical ability have gone on to be incredibly prolific with these two attributes (see Inzaghi as an obvious example).

    On a side note though, Rooney would be lost in central midfield. He is a typical second striker, capable of playing wide or more centrally. Put him in central midfield, and you would lose most of his skills, which are quick passing, shooting and link up. You would also force him to do a lot more work in recuperating and defending.

  • Comment number 84.

    "There was no ill-feeling towards Rooney, but no obvious signs of affection either."

    Slow news day Phil?

    Pretty meaningless statement. Concentrate on the football rather than trying to make this Rooney thing more of a soap opera than it really is.

    As a journalist you need to start taking more responsibility for what you write.

  • Comment number 85.

    #76 collie21

    No you can't as Phil has always maintained that the moderation is nothing to do with him!

    Anyway, it was an important win for Man U and Stoke can be a difficult place to go to. (I think the stats will probably show that they have a very good home record.)

    Hernandez (I won't be drawn into the silly affection of calling him a vegetable in Spanish or English!) is looking like a good signing at the moment, and credit to Ferguson for that. Take note Rooney, not all signings have to be of the ilk currently favoured by Man City, amongst others.

    I think the question marks over Rooney, and the doubts we all have about last weeks soap opera, will continue until he is back playing and playing well.

    Anyway, the long and the short of the weekend? Chelsea are five points clear :-)

  • Comment number 86.

    Now There,s a Surprise!

    A whole weekend of Football has just passed and Lo and Behold another Blog about ????????????????? wow I so excited I cannot contain myself.

    I think the BBC should rename its Sports Columns the Manc and Scouse Show anyone would think they are the only two teams in the country worth talking about.

    so what new, yes New, Questions have we to answer about this shabby little club? and what have we learnt from Blog after Blog after Blog after Blog about the shabby little club that we did not know before?

    I assume once this Blog has been done to death one of BBC's underlings will also pen the same i suppose its sucessfull waste management in action and realy shows the world that England is doing its best to recycle its rubbish to diminish the carbon footprint.

  • Comment number 87.

    I've never seen a journalist after such a good game of football, spends most of the ink writing about fans' chants !!!
    These blogs are also getting a little boring & repetitive now. There are 18 other teams in the PL (other than Liverpool & Man-U), so maybe you can write about them? Rather than spending your blogs promoting Liverpool or having a dig at Man-U (this is now obvious to everyone after reading your last 4 blogs).
    This is not a football blog anymore, but rather a soap opera blog. Watch the game for the football Phil, and stop looking for any little reason to dsitract from it.

  • Comment number 88.

    New contract or not i don't think it should be that easy for Rooney to get back into Manchester Uniteds team. With the form that both Berbatov, Hernandez and at times Owen have shown this season it won't do him any harm to warm the bench for a while. What kind of message does it send out to promising youngsters like Hernandez when, after playing well and scoring, they are dropped from the team to accomodate the unfit and out of form 'star' player. Teams like Blackpool and West Brom have shown this season what a tight team unit with good morale can achieve, so why disrupt a players rythm to accomodate an over-inflated ego like Rooneys?

    What was more interesting yesterday, rather than no Rooney songs, was that Patrice Evra had to play left midfield. With Ryan Giggs injured, and in the twilight of his career, to play a left back there (as good as he is going forward) shows a distinct lack of faith in Park, Obertan, Bebe, et al. Along with a poor central midfield performance these are the aspects that should be concerning Utd fans. We need Hargreaves back quickly, if he is to return, along with a creative midfield spark. How did we manager to miss out on Van Der Vaart or even David Silva?

    Along with this a new goalkeeper will need to be found soon. So these are the kind of issues that Utd fans and Sir Alex need to be occupying their minds with, not the indulging of an over-sized infant who has thrown their toys out of the pram.

  • Comment number 89.

    Ferguson in his autobiography-

    "When a player feels he is beyond the control of his manager, there is only one word to say: Goodbye"

    Oh yes? Not this time eh Fergie?? Your unprecedented grovelling to what you see as your irreplaceable asset could be your greatest mistake. You should have kept your respect and dignity and kicked your petulant, arrogant little boy into touch.

    You have top strikers in Berbatov, Hernandez and Macheda. Rooney has destroyed his realtionship with Man Utd and its fans. He will never be the same, and as for all these fans, pundits and media reporters saying "He will learn, he's just a kid" may I remind the world he is 25, not 16

  • Comment number 90.

    Nothing to do with this article Phil, but i would like to know your opinion on this. Arsenal won against Manchester City and they are currently above both the manchester teams on goal difference. All the other top 3 have a hard run of games coming up and arsenal had a very bad fixture list for the start of the season.

    You have said many times how this arsenal team is not good enough. I think even you will have to admit they are currently the second best team in england and with injured players like vermalan, walcott, van persie and diaby to come back at the end of the month, they can only get better. Also two home games in a row, great chance to close the gap on chelsea. Thoughts?

  • Comment number 91.

    Give the boy a break Mr. McN .. that permanently lifted left side of the mouth could be interpreted as looking for anyone to get stuck-in to .. football fan??

  • Comment number 92.

    Phil why do you keep banging that "he had no problems dealing with agents when he signed Rooney" - how do you know that? Did you ask Sir Alex? I've yet to see an interview where he said "oh and can I say what a pleasure it was working with Rooney's agent in getting him to sign for this club"??

    Do you really think Sir Alex wouldn't have cared if he didn't have to deal with stretford in that instance?

    And I've done some thinking about Rooney's wages, and I've come to the conclusion that everyone, the media, the fans, the clubs, the players, the agents - we are all responsible for allowing the money to get out of hand. We demand signings, results, "pay them whatever", we pay £40 to watch it, we demand to sack someone if they don't win for 10 games. The media whip up hype frenzies that agents latch onto (Rooney's statement about United's decline could have been stolen from any one of your blogs, Phil. Remember the other season you said United's reserves were lagging behind Liverpool?)

  • Comment number 93.

    It's all a bit lame blaming the referee. True, Neville deserved a yellow card for hacking down Etherington but his first yellow card was a poor decision too!

    And if we're going to blame officials, how about Delap's (borderline red card) hack on Nani that went unpunished or the linesman incorrectly flagging Hernandez offside when he was clean through?

  • Comment number 94.

    Rooney messed this up big time, there's no denying that. But the morons who turned up at his home with their faces hidden should have been arrested for threatening behaviour & banned for life from Old Trafford. Also Rooney only voiced what I have been saying for over a year. That the current squad is not good enough & major trophies will be difficult to come by unless world class experienced players are brought in soon. Rooney carried the squad last year & his lack of form this year has shown how much they rely on him. Even Fergie knows he needs to beef up the team but I bet he was told no cash without selling players first. Now that Rooney has signed on condition of new faces coming in we may end up with some decent silverware this season after all. Then the boo boys should realise that it came about because of Rooneys stance.

  • Comment number 95.

    Why are so many so critical of McNulty ALL the time. OK, he might not be Shakespeare (football articles in the style of the Bard - there's an idea!), but the article was decent enough. Could it be that Man Utd fans don't like him because they know he's a scouser, and 'Pool fans because he's a Blue?
    Oh, and to the poster who criticised P McN for telling us what "Chicharito" means - not all of us follow every minutae coming out of Old Trafford you know.
    As for the pedant incorrectly critcising his grammar - I assume you've nowt better to do?


    because apparently man utd fans think hes a liverpool fan,
    arsenal fans think hes a spurs fan,
    chelsea fans think hes a fulham fan,
    liverpool fans thinks hes a everton and man utd fan
    and the rest think he supports exeter fc

    he is in a no win situation.

  • Comment number 96.

    Good work Phil!

    By God, United fans are very touchy, surprisingly so for the most HATED club in England! What happened to the 'nobody likes us but we don't care' attitude that used to make hating United 'good craic'!

  • Comment number 97.

    McN can you write about someone else now please? another club too maybe?

  • Comment number 98.

    Phil's point about the chanting of ex players names IS relevant.
    I have doubts whether Rooney can rediscover his form regaerdless of his young age, and I believe the relationship between player and supporters will never be the same.
    Isn't it a bit obscene in the week the government announce austerity measures that Rooney allegedly doubles his wages.

  • Comment number 99.

    pfff... One good game for this young Mexican and he's the next big thing... Last month it was Berbatov... Lets just wait and see. I dont think any of them is as good as Rooney, but people just want to replace him I guess...

  • Comment number 100.

    #95 Ian Holloway Is A Legend

    Perhaps if he cut down on the romantic language and thinking he is writing a novel, and just wrote about the football, it wouldn't get so much criticism.

    Also, Phil, surely you must concede that the Man U thing has been done to death this last week.

    Why don't you blog on the weekend's fixtures as a whole rather than one, in this case, tiny point which is then flogged for all it's worth.

    A few points to come out of this weekend?

    1) Though helped by a sending off, ARE Arsenal genuine title contenders?
    2) Have Spurs got the squad to do well in Europe AND get into the top 4 again?
    3) Are West Brom that good or is there a bubble that will burst?
    4) Ae Newcastle now the club they should have been two years ago?
    5) Are West Ham doomed already?

    And I've not even mentioned Chelsea marching on!


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