Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Blame United, Wayne, You're the One Who Needs to Get It Together

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Blame United, Wayne, You're the One Who Needs to Get It Together

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

WHAT'S a bagatelle? No doubt you were wondering this week, after Sir Alex Ferguson dismissed the Wayne Rooney affair as just that, when compared with the task of winning against Stoke City on Sunday.

So before we get onto the matter of the hypocritical, whoring tuber from Toxteth, let's clear it up. A bagatelle is a trifle. A decorative fancy. A pretty little nothing. In music it implies a short, innocent, throwaway phrase. Its sporting connotation comes from the game bagatelle: an early form of billiards, famously played at the Chateau de Bagatelle in 1777 in the presence of Louis XVI. Fergie, a keen Francophile, will know that. And now, so do you.

Is bagatelle the most appropriate word to describe Rooney, or his bid for freedom? Probably not. Physically, Rooney is about as dainty as a punch in the perineum from Donkey Kong. And tactically, Rooney's campaign to extract himself from his club has been much the same.

He has made his move to leave with all the cunning and delicacy you might expect should Lennie from Of Mice And Men spring from the pages of fiction trying to pull Cher from the X Factor.

Let's be clear. There's no shame in a footballer wanting more money. Not any more there isn't, anyway. Just come out and say it! Everyone will understand.

Short career, working-class background. Fast cars, naff houses, gambling debts and silly tarts to pay for: we get it. We really do.

But there is genuine shame in the dismal posturing that has come from Rooney's camp this week, masterminded by 'Ask Paul' Stretford, the advisor Rooney has employed and deferred to in all matters throughout his short career.

Manchester United's fans have a beef with the Glazers. Rightly or wrongly the supporters don't like the look of the club's balance sheet -- specifically the entry marked 'transfer kitty' -- as the American family attempts to grow United's market value on the big finance version of credit-card debt.

That's all well and good but it's the supporters' business. For Rooney to justify his desire to leave on the grounds that he doesn't feel the Glazerrun club matches his ambition is a cynical attempt to play to the green and gold choir. …

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