WAYNE'S WHIRL; WAYNE Rooney's Magical First Premiership Season Ends Tomorrow, When Champions Manchester United Come to Goodison Park. PADDY SHENNAN Reflects on the Birth of Rooneymania in the City

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), May 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

WAYNE'S WHIRL; WAYNE Rooney's Magical First Premiership Season Ends Tomorrow, When Champions Manchester United Come to Goodison Park. PADDY SHENNAN Reflects on the Birth of Rooneymania in the City


Byline: PADDY SHENNAN

IT was about 4.50pmon Saturday October 19, 2002 when Clive Tyldesley, sitting in his commentary position at Goodison Park, uttered a simple five word sentence.

But while it may have been simple, it signified a star had been born ...

``Remember the name: WAYNE ROONEY!''

What a goal. And what a story which was about to unfold.

Remember the season: 2002/2003: the year of Rooneymania. The year of Roonaldo.

What a season. What an incredible season. Some might say Wayne's had more magic moments in one season than Paul Daniels has conjured up in an entire career.

That late, great goal which helped Everton beat reigning champions Arsenal (ending their 30-game unbeaten run in the process) was scored by an Everton-mad 16-year- old from Croxteth, who was just a few months out of school.

Clive Tyldesley is one of the millions who will never forget it. He tells the ECHO: ``The name `WayneRooney' had been whispered with awe around the corridors of football clubs for a couple of years and I had Evertonian friends telling me about his exploits in the previous season's youthcup.

``People were telling me `Remember the name.' I had heard so much about this boy and my instincts told me to be confident enough to say,in effect,`By the way,folks, this is just the start!'And I really think it was.

``But if he had scored with that chip immediately afterwards I don't know how I would have explained that!''

In the Main Stand that day,as they have been all season, were Wayne's parents,Wayne senior and Jeanette, brothers Graham and John - and Bob Pendleton, the scout who took him to Everton when he was nine.

Two days after That Goal, as Jeanette laughed off suggestions that her son could already be set to leave Everton,Bob,a good friend of the family, said: ``Wayne has set the city on fire. And the good news is this is just the start ...He was born to score goals.''

And he was born to play for England - although even one of his biggest fans was surprised that it would happen less than a year after he left De La Salle Comprehensive. Bob says today: ``I knew he would make an impact at Everton this season,but I wasn't even thinking about England - but that's Wayne, he's the boy for the big stage.

``What he has also done is promote Everton Football Club and the city. Newspapers around the world have been writing about him and kids all over the country are wearing `Rooney' shirts.''

Wayne had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes on that famous day against Arsenal and he continued to make an impact from the subs' bench. Everton, for example, hadn't won a league game at Leeds United since 1951-- but then Rooney made his customary dynamic entrance to score the only goal of the game.

And no,it wasn't a tap- in. It was another glorious strike.

But fame has its flipside. That same month, it was also reported that vandals had slashed the tyres of the Rooney family's people-carrier on two occasions. The family declined to report the damage to the police or to make any comment on the attacks.

And in April, the Rooneys came under attack again, when vandals fired paint ball gun pellets at the family home.Again, the incident wasn't reported to the police.

The police, sadly, were brought in - by several Liverpool fans - when Wayne spat on the pitch while apparently looking towards the away support during the recent Goodison derby. But it was possibly the non-story of the year and police simply decided to have a quiet word in Wayne's ear.

In December, meanwhile, Middle England got its collective over Turkey at Sunderland's Stadium of Light on April 2.

Even the player's mum has enjoyed her share of fame this season - at the Gwladys Street Hall Of Fame dinner at the Adelphi Hotel in March,fans (led by yours truly) queued up to get Jeanette's autograph and,as she collected a trophy on her son's behalf, more than 500 Blues chanted ``Rooney's mum! …

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