Going against the club and especially against Alex Ferguson never earns a player too much adoration from the fans, but it was weird to hear so many boos for Wayne Rooney as he was walking over to pick up yet another Premier League winners’ medal, possibly his last with Manchester United.
There was no other way for Old Trafford to say goodbye to the man who turned the club from just another team dreaming about glory days that might never returns into one of the biggest and most successful in the world, both financially and more than that on the football pitch. Marketing “geniuses” and other such professionals surely had their input in turning United into such a global money making machine, but it was Alex Ferguson’s direction that made the team into a brand worth shoving down people’s throats while they ask for more.
Rooney finishes the season (he won’t play again, probably) with 12 goals and 10 assists. A low production for him, especially after what he gave last year, but the numbers suggest that when Rooney has a monster of a season, scoring-wise, United don’t win the title. He might not like it, but when he’s moved around to display his versatility and work rate, both the team and the player are better off for it. Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez are just as skillful in front of the goal, but both of them can’t do what Rooney does in the midfield.
Ferguson and Rooney have been at each others throats for a few years now. It’s a problem with the 27-year old, marked as the hope of English football since he scored that rocket of a goal against Arsenal. Always feeling like the entitled one, Rooney was never easy to handle, but Ferguson hasn’t met the challenge he couldn’t overcome. Even after the huge breakdown in 2010, he still kept the player at the club, getting a league title and a Champions League final out of him.
This season was a new low for Rooney’s standing with the team, while Van Persie became the number one scorer and player. Ferguson hasn’t always handled the situation in the best possible way, but even he makes mistakes, and people don’t question the sir’s decisions. If Rooney had to be benched, than there had to be a reason, right? The talk of unprofessional behavior and other implications. Rooney hasn’t been treated with the highest regard for the past few months, but it’s always hard to sympathize with someone who makes £250,000 a week.
In his post-match comments and in the cold moment between the two on the pitch, it was clear there’s not a lot of love there. Ferguson isn’t treating Rooney the way you’d expect someone to treat his star, and that’s only by what he hear through the media. It might be worse face to face. Losing Rooney will fill up the coffers at Old Trafford, but even beyond his peak, Rooney is an exceptional player and very difficult to replace.
It would be a shame for United to lose him just because they’ve changed managers, or they’ve made him feel like his excess baggage after everything he’s helped the club achieve over the last 10 years.