Wayne Rooney, Manchester United And Contempt

Manchester United supporters have learnt a tough lesson this week. The fact that footballers are mercenaries may be common knowledge amongst fans of most clubs, but Manchester United, by virtue of their sheer scale, have been largely insulated from this. They have been able to hang on to the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs for years and years, and have been afford one major luxury that is denied to almost every other club – they sell, by and large, only when they need to sell and they feel that a player is surplus to requirements. Comments to the effect that they are not matching the ambitions of a player (a deliberately ambiguous statement – “not matching ambitions” can quite easily be extended in its interpretation to “not doubling my wages”) are not something that they are used to. This, however, is the world of most football supporters. Manchester United, one of the clubs that has on so many occasions in the past been the poacher, almost became the gamekeeper this week, and there can be little doubt that Wayne Rooney treated the supporters of the club with absolute contempt in his behaviour this week. Whether they will welcome him back into the fold (and the early signs seem to be that their loyalty has been stretched to breaking point) at all, never mind with open arms, remains...

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