Last week, poor Wayne Rooney announced he was angry and confused at his treatment by Manchester United, who continue to cruelly pay him a quarter of a million pounds each passing week. David Moyes had previously made clear he saw him as merely back-up to Robin Van Persie, if you believe the press, which you shouldn’t, as in the context of his other comments he didn’t really say that at all. The two have fallen out before and their relationship appears to have broken down once more. And with the prospect of Rooney’s United career coming to an end, the thought that Manchester City may hypothetically make a bid for the player has got the veins bulging in the forehead of many a City fan.
This is a an increasingly-common problem for the City fan that won’t wear red clothes, use AIG, DHL or even consume anything made by United’s official noodle partner in Asia (it’s Mamee by the way). As City have become more successful, there is always a greater chance of purchasing players that have a United link. In days of old this wasn’t a concern, the acquisition of Terry Cooke not sufficiently worthy of getting angry about.
Then there was Peter Schmeichel of course, a signing which was taken with a low level of grumpiness by fans who realised he may be of use to the team, though there was a bigger outcry when Roberto Mancini hired his old teammate and good friend David Platt. The purchase of Carlos Tevez was much easier to digest not only because he was only on loan at United, but because it annoyed many United fans in the process.
As soon as City came into money the inevitable links with Ronaldo surfaced, and have continued every summer, usually by a Daily Star journalist with nothing better to do. Even though his signing would make City overwhelming favourites for the league next season and greatly enhance their chances in Europe, there are still many City fans who cannot entertain the thought of him in a blue shirt, the occasional drama queen even threatening never to set foot in the ground again, a traditional threat when such rumours emerge. Of course many will claim it’s not just because he played for THEM, but because of defects in his personality, as if City have only signed angels in the past.
And thus we come full circle to Wayne Rooney, who City so nearly signed the last time he had a strop and threatened to leave. Even though no media outlets linked Rooney to City when he announced his confusion last week, the fact he looked to be angling for a move was enough for some fans to put two and two together and get five, speculating on the possibility of him moving to City. City don’t need him anymore, so it’s a pointless debate but more than Ronaldo, the thought of Rooney wearing a City kit has caused a great deal of distress. Now granted, Rooney doesn’t strike me as the most likeable of footballers (to put it politely), but rest assured if he had played for Chelsea for the previous five years, the outcry at a possible move to City would be rather more muted. Again, it is the thought of signing a player who has worn a United shirt that is for some beyond the pale.
Football is highly tribal, so such emotions should not surprise. There are enough great footballers in the world for City to look elsewhere and avoid this problem, but then City’s hierachy and manager don’t have the tribal bonds that we fans do – they are looking at what is best for the team. Fans might have to bite the bullet a few times in the future, as threatened boycotts are pointless and rarely acted on. A winning goal in a cup final and they’d be a club legend for life anyway, and all past indiscretions can be swept to one side.
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