Two contrasting tales of Manchester United have dominated the headlines across major football columns ever since Manchester United claimed a historic twentieth domestic title.
First being the retiring Sir Alex’s successor, David Moyes, and second being the ambiguity over Wayne Rooney’s future with the Red Devils. While the new gaffer has been welcomed with open arms as the Reds look upon a new era, Rooney has been pilloried in the media after stating his inexplicable desire to sever ties with the club.
After the England international handed in a transfer request just before the conclusion of the season, several sections of the fans and media have voiced their opinion on whether Rooney, with this latest disclosure, has irrevocably jeopardized his affectionate relationship with the club faithful.
In fact, going by the unceremonious reception meted out to Rooney by the fans at the trophy presentation, one might not be going too far to presume that his career at Old Trafford might just have run its course.
Manchester United have always maintained that no player is bigger than the club. But Rooney’s eccentric ways have violated that stance time and again rather obstinately.
A similar impasse had clouded the club back in 2010 with Rooney desperately looking for a way out, but the father-figure of Fergie provided the healing touch, with the forward eventually signing a new long-term contract. The reasons for his transfer request back then were less than publicised, and this time too there has been a lack of one solid justification of this sudden shift in ambition.
Football aficionados might point out at the arrival and tremendous success of Robin Van Persie, who finished a prolific debut season, but the truth is that Rooney has had to deal with similar star power of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Ruud van Nistelrooy in the past.
Materialistically speaking, Rooney continues to be one of the top earners at a club where he regularly features in top European and domestic competitions and more than often competes for individual and team honours.
David Moyes’s arrival has by no means improved the prevailing situation. Rooney’s rough history with the Scotsman going back to his Merseyside days has come to the fore following extensive media reports and public scrutiny. Rooney’s polemic against his old boss in his autobiography and recriminations by Moyes including a public defamation lawsuit have certainly not helped in soothing the rickety relationship between the duo.
Rooney, after his repeated contractual escapades, might have forgone his command for the same respect from United fans, who at one stage of his career were ready to let Ronaldo go after a bust-up between the two players. There is no denying the fact that Rooney has been the mainstay in the United squad for a number of years amidst constant changes in personnel and footballing philosophy, but does that contribution entitle him to take the club on ransom time and again, breaking the trust of millions of fans worldwide.
He is yet to even come to terms with umpteen club loyalists who still consider his 2010 act sheer treachery and nonchalance towards the legacy and professionalism of this club.
While David Moyes has been quick to reiterate that Rooney’s immediate future lies at Old Trafford, his firm claims have done little to deter interest from fellow rival clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea, with the latter’s new boss, Jose Mourinho, voicing his admiration for the England international in a recent interview.
Bryan Robson might think that Rooney will be forgiven once the season gets underway, but the striker’s willful behaviour will not go down well with the staunch support-base of the club.
To summarise the general feeling in social media, talk forums and fan channels, Manchester United and its fans seem to have readied themselves to see Wayne Rooney depart for good. Without Wazza, they have foreseen a more fruitful and stable future under the tutelage of David Moyes.