Why Rooney sounds good business for Everton Football Club.
31st August 2004. A day that will live long in the memories of plenty of Evertonian’s as a dark day for the club. Especially for me and plenty of teenage lads who loved an 18 year old footballer called Wayne Rooney. I cried my eyes out that day, aged 14, as our hero Rooney demanded to leave our club to Manchester United. Rooney was loved so much by the fans, that the love you shown him was only rivalled to the love you show your parents or your first serious girlfriend. He broke the hearts of many of us and the bitterness shown towards him when he returned to Goodison Park was unbelievable with riots on the streets just an example of how angry Evertonians were.
Roll on 13 years and Wayne Rooney is now set to return to his first home and his first love. A lot has happened in those 13 years. He’s won 5 league titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 League cups, a Europa League and the greatest club trophy with 1 Champions League winning medal. He is Manchester United’s top goalscorer ever with 253 goals, whilst not to mention England’s top goalscorer ever with 53 goals in 119 games.
Now, a lot has been made of Rooney’s return to Goodison Park. Obviously in those 13 years he has caused a lot of heartache for Evertonians with his badge kissing antics in his early Manchester United days and his desire to get one back over Evertonians. However, that didn’t mean that Everton fans were innocent in this. I, myself, am most definitely not innocent. I, like many others, shown a great deal of hate towards him. Constant abuse and real anger were shown towards him on his return to Goodison. I’d go as far as saying I didn’t think I had that much anger and hate inside me when it came to Rooney on his trips to Goodison. There was something about him that really wound me up and I can think of numerous times where froth gathered around my mouth with the amount of hate and anger I used to direct towards him.
Wayne wasn’t innocent but in hindsight, he probably reacted in a way that many human beings would if you take everything into consideration. Death threats, songs about his kids, wife and personal life and abuse towards his family is easily enough to gain a reaction from any human being and he shown that got to him by doing all he could to get back at the Goodison crowd.
Things have moved on since then in the past few years. Rooney has come to Goodison and shown absolutely no desire anymore to gain a reaction from the crowd and every performance for a few years now has been rather subdued from him. I’d say he probably regrets his actions and the tension has eased, especially with his return to Goodison, when he played a few minutes in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial a couple of years ago despite being a Manchester United player.
Roll on 2 years and Rooney is set to be back in a blue shirt again for Koeman’s new look and exciting blues. A lot has been discussed by Evertonians. Polls have shown that most blues would like him back at the club, whilst there was always going to be a section of the crowd who are still bitter at his acrimonious departure. Most football fans, and me included, know that Rooney is declining as a footballer and he has been known as something of a humorous figure by many football fans at his demise over the past couple of years where he has hardly played or made a huge contribution in an England or United shirt. I was one of them really. I thought he was probably finished. For a player who peaked at an early age for a footballer, and a player who has been playing week in, week out from the age of 16 in the high demands of a league who doesn’t take any prisoners, it is probably expected that a player will decline earlier then most. However, I have a feeling that this move could turn Rooney’s career around.
For a couple of years now, Rooney has looked like a man who’s gone stale. A man who’s enthusiasm, motivation and that fire that used to spark in him when on the pitch looking long gone. It’s happened to players over the years. Jermaine Defoe is a good example. Lost that bit of spark at Tottenham and it looked like his career was over when he moved to Toronto. A few months later, he’s back in the Premiership at Sunderland with that fire back in his belly scoring goals in the Premiership and has recently signed a new contract at Bournemouth. You certainly wouldn’t think he’s gone at the game. Players like Rooney, don’t lose their ability. Yes, you lose that little bit of pace and power that only athletes lose when they reach a certain age. You cannot expect a player to have the same legs as he did when he was in his twenties. This general accusation that a player is finished when he reaches 30 is absurd. Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes, Giggs and co despite having to change their games to adapt to their age, were still playing high level football for their top 4 clubs at 33, 34 and beyond. There is no reason why Wayne Rooney cannot do the same.
Everton are looking for that little bit of match winning quality. We are looking for a playmaker and someone who can create and score. Are we forgetting that Rooney is England and Manchester United’s top goalscorer ever? Are we forgetting that he is only 31? Rooney didn’t sparkle last season with 5 goals and 5 assists in the Premiership. The season before where United didn’t sparkle in general, he got 8 goals and 8 assists. Still not bad, for a player who’s finished is it? Rooney, despite his legs on the decline and not the same player he was when he came through the ranks at Everton, is still a top level player. A player who is capable of making space for himself and others with his ability on the ball, great vision and a big passing and he certainly knows where the goal is.
We also forget that we are willing to spend close to £40 million on Gylfi Sigurdsson. A good player but £40 million on a near 28 year old who does have a lot of class but is he as good of a player as Rooney in terms of ability? No. We spent near £30 million on Yannick Bolasie too. That just shows the way the market has gone. Both different players but we’re getting Wayne Rooney, one of the most recognisable players in the world, on a free transfer. Is he the same player he once was? No. Could he still offer a great deal for Everton? Yes. I’d say that is good business in the current market with Rooney joining on a 2 year deal.
It’s crazy how much a change of scenery and a steely determination of a player who wants to prove people wrong and give something back to fans who he once let down. After all, despite everything, everyone still knows he’s an Evertonian. I’m certain we will see a different Rooney in an Everton shirt. A player who wants to prove Mourinho and Southgate wrong, and to prove that there is still a fire burning within him. And what more, a player who will be willing to put everything he has into an Everton shirt to not only prove pundits, critics wrong but to right the wrongs he made when he left us. I doubt he regrets leaving us and fair play to him, he has won everything that he could possibly wish for in his club career, but his actions were probably what he regrets. Both parties, Rooney and Evertonian’s themselves, were not innocent and it’s time to put all that behind us as we hopefully see a new and revitalised Wayne Rooney. Write him off at your peril but I can see this being an astute piece of business by Everton.
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