ABOUT 10 days ago whilst waiting for the beginning of my team’s game against Cardiff City, I watched the last half-hour of the West Ham v Manchester United Premier League game on the concourse TV.
United, two down to the London side, fought back to win 4-2, displaying all the resilience, aggression and drive you’d expect of champions-elect.
The same qualities were also evident in their star striker Wayne Rooney who scored a marvellous 14 minute hat-trick.
Unfortunately Rooney spoiled the day by mouthing obsencities at the TV camera and everyone and his dog has had their say on the matter since he was given a two-match ban which means he will miss the FA Cup semi-final against fierce rivals Manchester City this Saturday.
Rooney, predictably said he was ‘gutted’ after admitting the offence but failing to overturn the ban.
“I am not the first player to have sworn on TV and I won’t be the last. Unlike others who have been caught swearing on camera, I apologised immediately. And yet I am the only person banned for swearing. That doesn’t seem right.”
Aah, poor Wayne, picked on again.
Manchester United released a statement in which the club admitted to being “clearly very disappointed. The club put forward a very strong case to have the punishment reduced, which was unsuccessful.” Rooney’s team-mate Rio Ferdinand chipped in with more drivel: “We should follow him as a footballer rather than keep lynching him for a lot of the stuff that goes on. I wouldn’t say he is innocent in a lot of the stuff that has happened, but sometimes because of the player he is and who he is the reaction can be over the top. Wayne Rooney swearing on TV, as much as I don’t condone it, is not front page news.”
Try not swearing after scoring a goal Wayne, go on, you know you can do it.
Perhaps for a saner, more sensible response we should examine the words of former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward who questioned the role of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “Part of the coach’s job is to coach people to handle pressure moments. As a coach, you would need to ask ‘Why would you as a player do that?” Woodward, who also described Rooney’s action as “very uncool”, added: “You would hope clubs would be big enough to ban the players themselves. “Children will see it and say ‘if he can do it I can do it too’ and behave like that towards parents and teachers.” And a police chief, speaking to The Sun newspaper, claimed that he would have thrown Rooney in a cell if his ‘vile rant’ had taken place on the street. Superintendent Mark Payne said: “If Rooney had behaved like that on a Saturday night, I’d have expected my officers to lock him up. “People in positions of influence have an obligation to behave like human beings. It’s not a lot to ask.” Supt Payne said Rooney’s behaviour mirrored yobs who make life hell for police in towns and cities at weekends. “I have seen a thousand Rooneys. I’m sure most police officers have. The same aggressive stance, bulging eyes, foul-mouthed rant, fists clenched.” Supt Payne, in charge of crime response in Wolverhampton, said Rooney’s apology would not undo the damage done. He added: “What he won’t be able to do is alter the impression he has left in the eyes of the watching youngsters – that it is okay to insult and abuse. “My officers will face more Rooneys at the weekend. No doubt someone will be injured. An officer will have to tell a parent their son or daughter is in hospital.”
Interestingly, Rooney’s behaviour has coincided with the decision of drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola not renew his personnel endorsement deal. “Our contract with Wayne Rooney came to an end last year and we mutually agreed that we would not renew our relationship,” read a statement.
On the other side of the coin, one football team were baffled by police behaviour recently: According to a report in The Sun, German side Hamburg were in their team coach on their way to a match when they were forced off the motorway by traffic cops, but instead of the ticket, a blonde female officer asked for the autograph of star striker Mladen Petric.
Petric said: “All the other players were smiling. I thought they were taking the p***, so I didn’t move at first. Eventually I realised they really wanted me to go to the front. When I got there a young police woman told me she was a big fan of mine, got out her autograph book and asked for my autograph.”