You’d think that Saturday would have beeen a day of celebration. A vivid carnival of all that is right with being Red and Mancunian. Big United larruped West Ham in the East End yesterday, despite having been two down at half-time. And up in weird, charity-shop filled Retford, FC United came back from a goal down to beat those muscular, flesh-devouring freaks from Worksop, thanks to a last minute Jerome Wright penalty. And off the pitch things should have been even better. In the clubhouse post-Match, when prompted to sing us a song, Karl Marginson chose the epoch defining anthem of the RRF, our oft-mocked, but never bettered Ben Deegan and Coronation Street mash-up. A song once derided by the entire Manchester Road End. Labelled (with some justification, may I add – have you ever noticed the eerie silence in Le Louvre? Great art instills a sence of awe that transcends mere verbal communication, innit) an atmosphere killer. Well, the RRF have long argued that if you have to ask about this song, then it isn’t for you. It’s a song for those who know, and Margy clearly knows.
But enough of the back-patting. Saturday should have been a day of celebration. A day of looking fellow man in the eye and making him wilt, for both Uniteds showed steel of character, mental fortitude, and in the case of everyone save Darron Gibson, the levels of skill and technique that you associate with a United player. But today can’t be that day. There is heavy precipitation battering our fiesta. And why? Because Wayne Rooney swore. Forget his match-winning hat-trick, this vile – and dare I say it, WORKING CLASS – youth had the temerity to use profanity in a moment of high emotional stress. When will this cur learn that his unsanitised ways are not wanted in football? Those men in suits who walk the corridors of power, the sweat drenched hacks smashing at their keyboards, the perpetually offended chattering classes of middle-England will not rest until SWEARING has been kicked out of football for good.
We cannot, as United fans, take Rooney back in to our hearts. Forget his transfer request shenanigans of Autumn time. This here is much worse. The acrobatic overhead kick of the derby win was enough to banish the former misdemeanour in the eyes of most. But how can Rooney save this weekend? How can he ensure that Mothering Sunday isn’t forever associated with his spud-like napper growling “What? Fucking What?”. Across the country today, mother sits with child, an awkward silence hanging over the dining table, both fearful of talking lest they shout “WHAT FUCKING WHAT?”. And this is Rooney’s greatest crime. In one single, goal-celebrating moment, he is responsible for the total collapse of the family unit. This goes beyond football and in to the realms of civility and society. Rooney is in many very real ways WORSE THAN THATCHER. So today, instead of buzzing over Big United putting one sticky hand on number 19, and Little United marching inexorably towards the Playoffs, playing the sort of heart-busting, mind-expanding brand of football we have become proud to live vicariously through, we have to just accept that football, and life, will never be quite the same.
It soon became clear after whatfuckingwhat-gate that the nation was clearly divided in to two camps. Those who thought that Rooney’s actions were an unacceptable and a disgrace, and those of us who don’t wet the bed. Leading the tub-thumping for the easily offended was, and this’ll come as no surprise to anyone, the Daily Mail. With a column that reached Brass Eye levels of satire, Patrick Collins opined that “if Rooney is allowed to bellow the sexual oath at a live microphone without repercussion, then nobody in authority will ever be taken seriously again.” Elsewhere, Lord Pendry said that “Players should be banned and maybe in time, that will make them accept their responsibility to the young people who look up to them“, clearly forgetting that the job of a footballer is primarily to play football, and the job of a parent is to ensure kids don’t yell WHAT FUCKING WHAT just because they saw Wayne Rooney do it on the telly. And funniest of all was Graham Poll, who suggested Wayne Rooney had ruined Mother’s Day, in an echo of the post I made yesterday, finally tipping this whole absurd affair in to the realms of beyond-parody.
Except the FA then slapped a two match ban on Rooney, a charge so ludicrous as to lead me to believe the Fergusonian whispers of anti-United bias and agendas. The alternative is to believe that football is not only irredeemably fucked, but governed by a bunch of precious old fogeys, too busy making jam sponges in the church hall to run OUR game properly, and only get involved when someone dares utter profanity or blasphemy.
Because right now the message the FA is putting out is that it’s OK to asset strip a football club, to move it to the other end of the country, to kick it out of their home and change the locks, to shoot an intern with an air rifle, to rape, drink, take drugs, and steal, to refer to a fellow player as a ‘fucking poof’, to shout racist abuse, to do all this and worse beside, but it’s not OK to swear. As someone tweeted last night, “The FA’s knack for vigorously and mercilessly prosecuting the wrong issues is uncanny. Traffic wardens when you need Police.” Nail on the head. If I were Wayne Rooney, I’d take the two match ban without appeal, then never, ever pull on the shirt of England again. He’s been carved up not only by the media, but by the Football Association who’ll be begging him to play for them in the next few months. Fuck them.
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